United Way’s Volunteer of the Year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 20, 2005

Kenda Council has touched hundred of lives in Suffolk over the years.

A United Way volunteer for the past eight years, Council, 32, headed up Suffolk’s 2004 fundraising campaign that generated $615,000 to enhance life in the community.

The United Way of South Hampton Roads recently honored Council, naming her the organization’s 2004 Volunteer of the Year.

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&uot;I was surprised to be nominated,&uot; Council said. &uot;I certainly didn’t expect to win.&uot;

But it’s an honor that is much deserved, said Tywana German, director of development in the organization’s Suffolk office.

&uot;Kenda Council is a model volunteer,&uot; said German. &uot;Many nonprofits and civic leadership groups in Suffolk and South Hampton Roads have benefited from her dedication and follow through.

&uot;During her years with United Way, she has successfully implemented programs that encourage philanthropy and volunteerism to up and coming leaders.&uot;

Council has developed an in-depth training program to recruit volunteers to solicit contributions from smaller firms in the Suffolk area, German said.

&uot;Kenda has single-handedly recruited 15 to 20 volunteers yearly,&uot; German said. &uot;Kenda grew this unit from approximately $65 million to $93 million between 1998 and the current campaign year.

&uot;Kenda has worked tirelessly for United Way.&uot;

Her United Way experience has been rewarding, said Council, development director at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

&uot;I’ve gotten to know a lot about how agencies work and met a lot of people in Suffolk and the Hampton Roads community,&uot; she said. &uot;Working with United Way is a wonderful way to help a lot of people.&uot;

Council followed in the footsteps of her father, former Suffolk resident Donald Goldberg, also a former United Way volunteer.

Council believes volunteering is a rite of passage for young people. However, United Way and other organizations always have difficulty bring in volunteer leaders.

&uot;It’s your duty to get involved and help make the community a better place,&uot; Council said. &uot;Now we are ready to pass the torch but we are not finding people willing to take it.&uot;

Some people are put off because they don’t like asking for money, Council said.

&uot;I’m not afraid of the ask,&uot; Council said. &uot;It’s important and it’s the right thing to do.

Making her award even more special is the fact that a Driver Elementary School student won a regionwide art contest, designing the pictures that adorned plaques given to the winners.

&uot;Another person from Suffolk is a winner,&uot; Council said. &uot;I d love to meet this student.&uot;

Council and her husband, Michael, live in Suffolk with their daughter, 10 1/2-month-old Maren.