Maria Contro

M aria Contro is a model volunteer. She is kind, caring, open-minded, non-judgmental, dedicated, determined, and extremely positive.  Her abundant contributions to her community have set high standards of excellence in volunteerism. She has lovingly given over 18,000 hours of service for RSVP and her community in the twenty years as a volunteer. A native of Italy, Maria came to Massachusetts when she was 3 years old. She later worked for Smith & Wesson for 17 years.  In 2000, she won the Ms. Vermont Pageant.

Maria has demonstrated a tireless energy while participating in a myriad of volunteer service activities such as creating children’s summer programs for the Springfield Family Center, working on special programs at Chester/Andover Elementary School, Riverside Middle School in Springfield, Cavendish Fletcher Memorial Library in Cavendish and the LEAP after school program in Springfield. She was Chairman of the Green Mountain RSVP Advisory Board (5 years), working diligently on fundraisers, mailings, and special events. She fully supported the American Red Cross at Blood Drives. Maria’s talents led her to sing and play the drum as a Songster at the Springfield Senior Center.  As a part of that group she travels to nursing homes to bring entertainment to residents who wait in anticipation for the wonderful show they will see.

Maria has been an incredible inspiration in all of the above activities but now dedicates all of her volunteer time to Meals on Wheels, official name-Meals & Wheels of Greater Springfield. Maria has been a hands-on pioneer of this program for many years.  She has given hours and hours of her time as a driver of meals, a hostess at the congregate meal site 3-5 days a week, and as Advisory Board Chairman.  She has also been a Board member on the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels.  She took on the role of Treasurer of the Board several years ago.

Maria has a unique quality of making everyone around her feel special. She believes so wholeheartedly in this program that she will do anything to see that it continues to succeed. Along with working with other volunteers and staff on the Annual Appeal, which raises thousands of dollars for Meals on Wheels, she almost single-handedly raises hundreds of extra dollars by selling poinsettias in December, and Easter lilies in spring, as well as selling ads for a place mat campaign. She does not want a computer, but rather keeps all records by hand. She has the “old school” belief that hand-written thank you notes are important, and should be written for a number of different occasions. In this day of technology and emails, it is refreshing to see her beautiful handwriting displayed on these notes. She has often done up to 100 hand written notes after a fundraiser, and takes pride in them. We love getting her thank you notes in our own RSVP office.

Maria has directly impacted so many Vermonters by finding ways to make the program sustain itself, and grow.  Meals on Wheels is such a vital program that fills an ongoing need in the community. Maria is truly a special person, and a remarkable volunteer, who has many gifts of the heart that she readily shares.


Mary McGuiness

M ary McGuinness is new to GMRSVP and is committed to making a difference in children’s lives. She joined GMRSVP to become involved with the Seedlings Program. This program is a pilot program at Bennington Elementary School and focuses on first graders who would benefit from a multi-year after-school mentoring program.

Mary has been involved in Seedlings since the planning stages, has put together a great informational brochure on the program, and also helps recruit other wonderfully dedicated Seedlings volunteers. Mary believes volunteering is just giving back to the community after one retires and it is a good thing to do. She is helping to shape an important program for kids in Bennington County. The children in the program enjoy her warm demeanor. She has shown the kids yoga, helped them with homework, played assorted games and made crafts with them. She has brought in some interesting visitors to the program for enrichment. Overall, we are thrilled to have Mary involved in RSVP, she is positive, patient and pleasure to work with.

Mary lives in Bennington and enjoys being active, spending much of her free time in the winter months cross country skiing. She is very involved with The Bennington Poverty Workgroup, volunteers at The Bennington Free Clinic and Kitchen Cupboard Garden.

Joyce Guerard

[ut_dropcap style="one"] J [/ut_dropcap] oyce Guerard lives in Bennington County and began to volunteer over ten years ago following the death of her husband. She knew she needed to get out of her house, but shyness kept her from exploring the possibilities that were just beyond the perimeter of the family compound where she, her sister and two nephews each have their own homes. Fortunately a well-meaning friend gave her the paperwork to join Green Mountain RSVP and she began to volunteer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. She volunteered at the front desk, providing information to visitors and discharging patients by wheelchair. When those tasks became comfortable and she got to know her co-workers, she branched out to the VA Clinic where she worked for years in their office. Currently, Joyce volunteers at the Red Cross Blood drives making sandwiches for the donors. She’s happy to say, “Call me at the last minute. I don’t mind.” Those are wonderful words to hear if you are the one trying to fill a spot vacated suddenly. She discovered that Green Mountain RSVP delivers knitted and items to people in need during the holidays, so she began to knit up a storm. Her handwork is exquisite and she comes into the office with a bag full of hats, mittens, lap robes and scarves for us to distribute.
Joyce has served over 8,000 hours. It turns out that giving to others not only gets her out of the house, but also gives her a wonderful sense of fulfillment.

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