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The Times Recognizes Work of 18 Volunteers

May 02, 1996

Eighteen of the county's most dedicated volunteers were recognized Wednesday for their contributions to the community, receiving awards totaling $36,000 for their charities.

As part of its annual "Volunteer of Distinction" awards, The Times Orange County presented $5,000 to winners in each of six categories of volunteer service. The Times also provided $500 to the two finalists in each category.

Selected by an independent panel of judges, award winners in each category were:

* Service for Children--Sherwin Gillman, who coordinates programs for children with severe asthma through the American Lung Assn. of Orange County. Finalists--Lorraine Kaiser, the American Riding Club for the Handicapped; and Elizabeth Miller, Boys and Girls Club of Tustin.

* Arts--Olivia Johnson, who oversees South Coast Repertory's annual fund campaign and organizes children's events at the theater. Finalists--Mike Konopa, Education Outreach Ensemble of the Paul McNeff Singers; and Janet Massimino, Art Institute of Southern California.

* Health--Pearl Jemison-Smith, who founded the AIDS Services Foundation. Finalists--Geni Bennetts, Orange County Ronald McDonald House; and Rick Massimino, the John Henry Foundation.

* Community Service--Jerri Rosen, creator of Working Wardrobes for a New Start, which provides professional women's clothing and career and self-esteem counseling for abused women. Finalists--Louise Barker, Lutheran Social Services-Orange County Real Help; and William Spehn, Food Distribution Center.

* Education--Joan Levine, who coordinates a support group for children and adults with learning disabilities through the Orange County chapter of the Learning Disabilities Assn. of California. Finalists--Temi Doty, Pio Pico Elementary School's Reading Is Fundamental program; and Sylvia Garrett, Westminster School District's Foundation for Educational Excellence.

* Service by Youth--Tricia Michels, who initiated outreach programs such as Coins From the Heart to help the homeless; she also heads Project Thomas House, a program she created three years ago to provide educational activities for children of the Thomas House Shelter for Homeless Families. Finalists--Sheryl Chariton, conflict peer mediator at Huntington Beach High School; and David Nafarrete, Youth Leadership Council of the Volunteer Center of Greater Orange County.

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