Volunteers of the Month

Volunteer of the Month for June-Annabelle Simmons

Helping others has always been a way of life for Annabelle Simmons. Even as a young child she helped her classmates to learn math by explaining it to them using “plain English.” When she decided to have her children, she instilled in them the importance of being generous to others. Friends and family Annabelle Simmonsmembers reminisce on how Mrs. Simmons rewarded them by taking them out to do free activities on Friday evenings.

Mrs. Simmons was introduced to the Live Well by Faith health initiative after becoming the Stewardship Chairperson at her church, St. Luke United Methodist Church. Live Well by Faith is an “evidence-based health program addressing hypertension and promoting a healthy lifestyle a monthly diabetes support group, an eight-week weight loss competition, and a six-week cooking course.’’ Live Well by Faith volunteer supervisor, Verna Laboy explained how Mrs. Simmons had to “walk the talk” by first adopting a healthy lifestyle after she retired from Shelter Insurance.


When looking towards the future, Mrs. Simmons wants to make Columbia a more inclusive city by encouraging the local government to install public restrooms in the downtown area. She is also passionate about improving the local bus transit system. Mrs. Simmons credits the support of Robert, her husband of 43 years for encouraging her to take on opportunities to help others. By following her daily mantra of “Do it now,” Mrs. Simmons continues to help improve the Columbia community.

The City of Columbia says thank you to Annabelle Simmons for her dedicated volunteer service.  To get involved as a volunteer, visit www.CoMo.gov or call us at 874-7499.


 Written by Volunteer Patrika Brown


Volunteer of the Month for May-Fix-It Fair

Adam Froeschner, David Basset, Donald Warren, and Andy Schuette are recognized as our May Volunteers of the Month for their commendable work at the Fix-It Fair hosted by the Mid Missouri Solid Waste Management District and the City of Columbia’s Office of Sustainability.

Since its inception in November 2017, there have been six Fix-It Fairs. Adam, David, Andy, and Donald have been there, generously sharing their time, tools, and expertise by helping citizens with the repair of everyday household items. Fixing these items is importAdam Froeschner, David Basset, Donald Warren, and Andy Schuetteant because it helps to conserve resources, reduce waste, and save money. Donald Warren, who has repaired consumer electronics for 24 years, felt motivated to help the community because he enjoys helping others and is concerned about the overabundance of waste. He said, “As time has passed, I have seen more and more consumer electronics going into landfills that may be an easy and cheap fix!” David Basset agreed, saying, “I like helping people and I like helping our environment. This allows for both. I like the idea of people learning to salvage no longer functioning items by repairing or repurposing.”  

Volunteers like Adam, David, Andy, and Donald play such a vital role in making Columbia a more sustainable place to live. We thank them for their generous giving of their time, tools, and talents. 

To learn how you can get involved as a volunteer, contact us at 874-7499 or volunteer@CoMo.gov.

Written by volunteer Ben Kang



Volunteer of the Month for April-Baha’i Faith

One of the loveliest flowerbeds in the City of ColMembers of the Columbia’s Baha’i Faith community posing in front of their flower bed.umbia is located on South Broadfield Road, thanks to the devoted volunteers from the Baha’i Faith. We are honored to name them our April Volunteer of the Month.

For over 14 years the Columbia’s Baha’i Faith community—of 45 members—has dedicated their time and service to managing this bed. Farah Nieuwenhuizen, a member of Baha’i Faith, said they enjoy their spot due to the “encouragement they receive from people walking or driving, and the positive comments over the beautiful Adopt-a-Spot bed, are what they like most about caring for the bed.” However, the work is not without its tests. She said, “Cars drive very fast on the one-lane road each way. It makes weeding and safety a challenge.”

Baha’i Faith volunteered for Adopt-a-Spot as a symbol of service they wanted to provide for their city. The group has also adopted Broadfield Road for litter pickup. “We appreciate the chance to give this service to our city. As the Baha’i writing states, ‘Service to humanity is service to God.’”

Columbia’s Baha’i Faith would like to thank the City of Columbia for their continued support. The City provides water for their flowerbed and retrieves bags of discarded weeds.

The City of Columbia says thank you to Baha’i Faith for their dedicated volunteer service.  To get involved as a volunteer, visit www.CoMo.gov or call us at 874-7499.


Written by volunteer Mary Arnold


Volunteer of the Month for March-Katherine Wortmann

Recycling Ambassador Katherine Wortmann is honored as our March Volunteer of the Month. Katherine is a gifted educator and is magical when engaging with children. She is particularly effective when staffing education booths and overseeing recycling education activities. Those who visit with Katherine leave with a broader knowledge of proper recycling and waste reduction, energized to take action, and empowered by the fact that they can make a difference.Katherine Wortmann

Katherine’s passion for volunteering and protecting the environment started at an early age by following the example of her parents. I love the feeling that fills my heart after I’ve completed a volunteer project. There’s something warm and fuzzy about making a positive impact on the world that keeps me coming back for more.”

“Somebody can’t do everything, but everyone can do something.” a favorite quote shared by Katherine which calls on more people to get involved in volunteer activities.  Katherine thinks it effort to give of your time and talent, “We all have busy schedules and lives, but to set that aside for the benefit of others is something truly remarkable.” 

To learn how you can get involved as a volunteer, contact us at 874-7499 or volunteer@CoMo.gov.

Written by volunteer Shishi Chen

Volunteer of the Month for February 2019-Rie Sisaki

Elza Guissou (Graduate of Earn-a-Bike Program) & Rie Sisaki

Rie Sasaki’s love of biking and exercise led her to the Bike Co-op, a program of Parks and Recreation, in January 2018.  Rie provides instruction and leadership for the city’s Earn a Bike program.  Rie was nominated by Benedict Nagy.  Nagy writes, “She serves as a mentor to our teen participants that sometimes come from an underprivileged background and she encourages participation in the program by female and minority students, because she can relate to these students in ways other instructors can’t.”

Rie is a professor at Columbia College and president of COMO Trail Association (COMOTA), a non-profit advocacy group for off-road trails in Columbia. Rie also volunteers with COMO Dirt Dames; a

mountain biking group for women in Columbia. In spite of her busy schedule Rie still finds time to volunteer. When asked why she finds service in her community important, Rie responds, “I think all of us can use a little help from our community, and I’m just doing my part. It makes where I live a little bit more cozy.”

Thanks to Rie Sasaki for assisting in the development of the Bike Co-op and for being a positive influence on the lives of young women in the program.  

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, visit the City’s website, email volunteer@CoMo.gov, or call 874-7499.

Volunteer of the Month for January 2019-Steve Matthews

Steve Matthews has been volunteering with the City of Columbia Volunteer Programs since 2002. Steve has been heavily involved with the Treekeepers and CARP programs; dedicating nearly 1,000 hours ov

Steve Matthews

er the last 16 years to removing overgrown honeysuckle and falling trees in and around Columbia’s many parks and trails.

Steve’s love of trees is deeply rooted in the way in which he was raised. “I was raised on a large farm along the Missouri River, and we were taught that a “weed” is a plant you don’t want to grow on your land.” When “greedy growth” such as bush honeysuckle threatens to kill native trees and plants, Steve takes pride in rescuing them from extinction. Just this year Steve cut “very overgrown” honeysuckle around Grindstone Park. S

teve states the patrons of the park “were super appreciative of my efforts to open up the jungle, which is something that really keeps me going.”

When Steve isn’t cutting honeysuckle you can often find him reading books from the local library. “I was born in the bookmobile of rural Ray county, I sometimes think!” Steve joked. Steve enjoys attending Osher adult education classes and has volunteered with other local programs such as PET, Love Inc., and In2Action.

We appreciate Steve’s selfless giving of his time and talents to help keep Columbia beautiful! To learn how you can get involved as a volunteer, contact us at 874-7499 or volunteer@CoMo.gov.





Volunteer of the Month for December 2018-Dee Campbell-Carter

Anyone who has met Dee Campbell-Carter, knows how friendly she is and that she always has a smile to share.  She has used her enthusiasm as a volunteer with Live Well By Faith.Dee Campbell-Carter

Dee is honored as our December Volunteer of the Month and was nominated by Verna Laboy with the Columbia-Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services for her work.

Dee has been an instrumental volunteer with the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Community Garden.  In 2017, the first year for the garden, there were eight beds.  Under Dee’s leadership, the garden expanded to 31 beds this season!  The Friendship church is located in the City’s North Strategic Plan Neighborhood.

Verna shares that Dee’s work promoted healthy living, foods, and eating by planting and growing your own food.  Dee shared weekly gardening how-to’s and did “amazing work that should be celebrated.”

Dee overcame challenges for Friendship’s community garden including poor soil and water. She overcame these by hauling in better soil and getting a water tank for use near the garden.

The City of Columbia says thank you to Dee Campbell-Carter for her dedicated volunteer service.  To get involved as a volunteer, visit www.CoMo.gov or call us at 874-7499.

Volunteer of the Month for November 2018-Nia Imani

Nia Imani is honored as the November Volunteer of the Month for her work with Live Well by Faith, a program of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health & Human Services. Nia Imani

Nia leads weekly preventive health programs in her church, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, including cooking classes and Weight Watchers meetings.  She has served in this role for the last two years. The goal of the Live Well by Faith program is to promote healthy lifestyles in the African American community where health disparities are the greatest.

Verna Laboy, Health Educator, nominated Nia because of her effectiveness.  Nia has collaborated with several church denominations to build a thriving program. Members from six different churches attend her programs. “Nia is an awesome leader and her enthusiasm is contagious,” said Verna.  “She Is passionate about the work and has lost over 30 pounds herself.”

Live Well by Faith has had success because of the dedication of volunteers like Nia Imani. Thank you, Nia, for the difference you are making in the lives of others in Columbia.

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, visit the City’s website, email volunteer@CoMo.gov, or call 874-7499.

Volunteer of the Month for October 2018-Susan Miller

Susan Miller stands out as an extraordinary volunteer. Upon retirement as a Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetic Educator Susan moved to ColumSusan Millerbia to be near her grandchildren. The idleness of retirement didn’t suit Susan and she soon became heavily involved with the City’s Volunteer Programs. Susan is a trained volunteer Recycling Ambassador, is involved with the Adopt-A-Trail Program and assists with many Parks and Recreations events.

Susan has a passion for the environment, believing that each of us must take steps to be kinder to the earth. She began her involvement with recycling 40 years ago with her son recycling newspapers as a scouting project. The City’s Recycling Ambassadors program was a natural fit for Susan. She is an experienced and gifted educator and truly enjoys promoting waste reduction and recycling through developing curriculum and presenting to young children or adults. 

Susan brings warmth and energy to all she does: promoting waste reduction, assisting children with craft activities or clearing honeysuckle. The generosity of her time, talents and talents help to make Columbia a great place to live, work, learn and play.

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, visit our website at www.como.gov, contact Volunteer Programs at 573-874-7499 or email volunteer@como.gov.


Volunteer of the Month for September 2018- David Heidlage

September VOM- David H.

David’s love for coaching is what led him to join Parks and Recreation’s Smaller Ballers team as a youth coach.  Smaller Ballers is a program for youth ages 4-7 to learn the fundamentals of basketball.  Volunteer coaches, like David, share a few hours every week working with the kids and their basketball skills.

David believes coaching youth sports provides “an avenue to teach some of life’s most important lessons such as dedication, being positive, focusing, and failure.  Failure is important.”  David’s enthusiasm, dedication and consistency is what Parks and Recreation Supervisor, Camren Cross, believes makes the program a success. 

Over the past two years with the Smaller Ballers program, David said the best experience he has had with this program is “seeing the tremendous growth of such young people and the light of achievement on their faces.  They remind me how incredible the world really can be and that simple joys are often the best.”

Volunteers like David play such a vital role in our community.  We thank David for his dedication to serving Columbia’s youth.

 To learn more about youth coaching volunteer opportunities or contact us at (573) 874-7499 or volunteer@CoMo.gov.

Volunteer of the Month for August 2018- Tamara Tennenbaum

Tamara T.

Tamara Tennenbaum was driving past Forum Boulevard between landscaping jobs with her husband when she noticed a few Adopt-a-Spots that were available for adoption.  Tennenbaum owns Millersburg Landscaping and does many jobs in south Columbia. She finally suggested that they should adopt one of those beds and beautify the community.

The couple’s first Adopt-A-Spot is the triangle flowerbed on Forum Chapel Plaza, just south of Chapel Hill. They had an architect draw up and plan and then filled it with perennials and shrubs.

Passersby loved it. “The rewarding part of it was when people would stop and tell us how nice it looked while we were out there working on it,” Tennenbaum said.

Since adopting a spot on Forum, Tennenbaum has adopted one more spot in Columbia on South Rolling Hills Road and others in Fulton.  She has planted shrubs, native plants, perennials, and even has a bed dedicated to succulents. Each plant bed has a different theme, and thanks to Tennenbaum and her husband, they bring color and diversity to our city.  

Each time she is out working on the beds, someone says how thankful they are for Tennenbaum’s hard work. “People from the subdivisions nearby stop and ask what I put in them,” she said. “Everyone is really happy when something goes in the beds.”


Written by volunteer Laura Davis

Volunteer of the Month for July 2018- Steve Spellman

S. Spellman

Steve Spellman began volunteering with the Columbia Parks & Recreation TreeKeepers program several years ago. After learning more about pruning and planting from the city forester, Spellman was happy to help with tree projects around town. Recently, he has moved near the Twin Lakes Recreation Area and has maintained a quarter-mile section of the MKT over the past year.

After moving, Spellman donated a lot more time to beautifying the city. “The work he has done has been tremendous and you can tell that he truly enjoys what he does,” Volunteer Program Specialist, Amber Olson, said.

As a bike commuter, dog walker and frequent trail user, Spellman was excited to adopt a quarter mile of the MKT trail near the lake, removing the invasive bush honeysuckle, vines, dead tree branches and trash.  “It is motivating to help clear the edges of trail of the ever-encroaching bushes, allowing sunlight to feed wildflowers and other native plants, as well as opening up trail-goers’ views for scenic and safety benefits,” he said. 

Spellman uses this volunteering time to work at his own pace and enjoys the frequent well-wishes of passersby and the camaraderie of fellow trail adopters.


Written by volunteer Laura Davis