Press Releases (Most Recent)


Outstanding Volunteers in Forsyth County Are Recognized

May 4, 2015

For Immediate Release

(Winston-Salem, NC) – HandsOn Northwest North Carolina in partnership with the United Way of Forsyth County, Salem College, and The Winston-Salem Journal will present the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards to nine recipients from across Forsyth County.  HandsOn, which works to increase volunteerism and build the capacity of local nonprofits, will present the awards at a breakfast at 8am on Tuesday, May 5th at Salem College’s Bryant Hall. Winners were selected by a volunteer committee from a diverse pool of nominations. Award recipients are: Austin Byrne (Outstanding Mentor Volunteer), Ceanzy Eagle (Faith-Based Volunteer), Epiphany Builders (Family Volunteer), Forsyth County Sheriff’s Citizens Patrol (Team/Group Volunteer), Kaplan Early Learning Company (Corporate/Business Volunteer), Dan Pearson (Individual Adult Volunteer), Lidia Perez (Senior Volunteer), Barbara Ryan (Lifetime Achievement Volunteer), and Beverly Watts (Perseverance in Volunteerism).  The People’s Choice Award winner, chosen from amongst all of the nominees by voters at, will be Lynn Kanode. The program will include addresses from Faye Stone, Retired, Assistant Director of the NC Commission of Volunteerism and Community Service (representing the Governor’s Office,) and the emcee will be Neill McNeill, Fox8 News.

These volunteers give their time to a variety of different organizations and schools. Mr. Byrne won for his service with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Ceanzy Eagle won for her work in founding and organizing Heavenly Inspirations Christian Ministries.  Epiphany Builders was honored for their group efforts in providing “fix-it” services to the clients of The Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem.  The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Citizens Patrol was recognized for their ongoing programmatic support to the Sheriff’s Department and the citizens of Forsyth County. Kaplan Early Learning Company won for their corporately-sponsored “Serve the Hungry Day” with Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC. Mr. Pearson was recognized for his 20 years of volunteer leadership with Habitat for Humanity.  At 90 years old, Lidia Perez was honored for her ongoing work translating for the patients at the Community Care Clinic. Ms. Ryan has provided a lifetime of service to Susan G. Komen Northwest NC. Lastly, Beverly Watts was honored for making sure others did not face the same challenges she did during her mother’s six year battle with Alzheimer’s when she founded theAlzheimer’s Family Care Giver Support Group.

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards were first awarded by the Governor’s Office and its Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service in 1979.   The award honors citizens who have shown significant concern and compassion for their neighbors through volunteer service. In Forsyth County, the awards were coordinated for over a dozen years by the United Way. Since 2007, the United Way and HandsOn NWNC have worked together to co-host the awards breakfast. Salem College joined the planning team in 2013, and, in 2014, The Winston-Salem Journal helped launch the online nomination and voting system for the awards.

Please see a PDF of the attached program, which includes profiles of each winner and the names of the additional nominees, for more details. For more information, call HandsOn NWNC at 724-2866 or through e-mail


HandsOn NWNC to Award Fifth Annual High Five Award for Innovation to Veterans Helping Veterans Heal

November 24, 2014

 For Immediate Release

Winston-Salem, NC--HandsOn Northwest North Carolina will be presenting is fifth annual High Five Award for Nonprofit Innovation at a breakfast to be held tomorrow, November 25, at 8:00 am. The breakfast, which is held annually as part of our community’s recognition of November as Nonprofit Awareness Month, gives local nonprofit and business leaders a chance to come together to learn about emerging best practices within the nonprofit sector and highlight innovations within local nonprofits. This year, the breakfast is being sponsored by Truliant Federal Credit Union and will bring together approximately 80 nonprofit representatives.

The High Five Award is designed to recognize and honor a nonprofit within Forsyth, Davidson, Davie, Stokes, Surry or Yadkin County that has demonstrated an imaginative or creative way to improve program and/ or service delivery, create a new program, or develop a unique or inventive method to address a particular problem or challenge. Ultimately, the goal of the Award is to inspire and encourage other nonprofits to create new and unusual ways to be more effective, efficient, and responsive to the needs of our community. The winner is selected through a competitive process from local nominations, and the award comes with a $5,000 cash prize that can be used at the winner’s discretion. This year’s High Five winner, chosen by a volunteer review committee, is Veterans Helping Veterans Heal, a project of the NC Housing Foundation. VHVH is a relatively new program that is designed to provide transition housing and supportive services to homeless veterans in the greater Winston-Salem area. Specially, the award recognizes VHVH’s development of an innovative therapy garden that provides a host of therapeutic and other benefits to the vets who live at VHVH’s facility. The garden allows the veterans an ongoing opportunity for meaningful work and the development of gardening-related job skills, while also providing the residents access to fresh, sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. Tending the garden itself also provides a therapeutic outlet for the residents, many of whom face mental health challenges resulting from their military service. It also ensures that the residents must work as a team to produce quality results.

“The selection committee was impressed by the myriad benefits the garden provided the residents, and how such a simple and relatively low-cost program innovation could have such a big impact. It is exactly these kinds of new ideas—simple on the surface, but transformative to the organization—that the High Five Award is designed to highlight,” says Amy Lytle, HandsOn NWNC’s Executive Director, which

oversees the nomination process and convenes the volunteers who serve on the committee. “While all of the nominees were doing great work, the committee truly felt that VHVH’s new garden best embodied the spirit of inn-ovation.”

The breakfast, which will begin with the award ceremony and include a presentation on the Service Enterprise Initiative, will is scheduled from 8:00 am to 10:00 at the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden (215 S. Main St, Kernersville, NC 27284) on Tuesday, November 25th. HandsOn NWNC organizes this yearly event as part of its mission to strengthen our community by building the capacity of local nonprofits and increasing volunteerism. They work within a network of approximately 400 different nonprofits, and engaged more than 4,700 volunteers in meaningful service in 2013.