By Kathy L. Collins

In February, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA held its annual Regions Community Impact Dinner. The event is an opportunity to bring awareness to what the YMCA does to help kids and families, promote the health and well-being of the community, and help give back to neighbors in need. The dinner is also an opportunity to honor and celebrate Volunteers of the Year from area YMCA branches.

From the North Brandon Y, David Stamm was selected as Volunteer of the Year. Stamm is a long time member. He serves on the board and was chairman in 2015. Stamm is leading the North Brandon Y’s annual giving campaign. According to Executive Director AJ Hernandez, “He volunteers at all of our branch events. He learned to swim at the Y and truly has a passion for people.” Hernandez gave an example of Stamm’s commitment. “The group exercise classes place a cut-out of him in class when he does not attend because he is so committed, and it is not the same when he is not there,” explained Hernandez.

The Volunteer of the Year from the Campo Family Y is Jephunneh Hicks, a senior at Bloomingdale High School. Youth and Family Director Alicia Bentley said, “Jephunneh is an outstanding kid. He is a part of the Campo Y’s Leadership Club. Throughout the year he has stepped up and helped with as many events as possible.” Hicks volunteers at many events but mostly with Family Programming events. “Jephunneh was chosen for this award for his outstanding performance in volunteering and his leadership in Leaders Club,” added Bentley.

For the Tampa YMCA’s Camp Cristina, the Volunteer of the Year is 15-year-old Elijah Bonnett. He is a member of the Team Leaders Club and volunteers at Camp Cristina year round. According to Executive Director Mark Battig, “Elijah was chosen because of the number of volunteer hours he puts in at Camp Cristina.” Bonnett gave over 100 volunteer hours in 2015. Bonnett helps with events and works on service projects. Battig said, “Elijah is very instrumental and demonstrates what it means to be a team leader.”

For more information on the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA, visit www.tampaymca.org.