Volunteer Spotlight

Past Winners

 

2016:

 

Jason Nicpon

1. I am 17 years old. I have one brother, Joe,. I work at Greenfields retirement community and enjoy playing baseball and like to read in my free time.

2. I am still a Camper at Camp Good Days. I became a Camper when I was diagnosed with A.L.L when I was 11.

3. I continue to volunteer at Camp Good Days because I enjoy giving back to the people who helped me so much.

4. I compete on Lancaster High School's Masterminds Team.

 

Kevin Judge

My family consists of my mom and 2 younger sisters. I have a dog named Billy that I rescued. I work for Frito Lay selling and delivering chips and chip accessories. My hobbies include anything outdoors; camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing. My favorite backpacking trip was spending 2 weeks in New Mexico. 

My youngest sister got me into volunteering for CGD by telling me all of the cool things she was doing with Camp.

I continue to volunteer because I enjoy putting smiles on the campers' faces. Spending time with the campers pushes away all of the stress of life and gives me time to act goofy.

I was once lost in the woods for 4 days. And I have a CGD tattoo 

2015:

Karen Kozerovskis

Family:

I have an amazing family! I'm the youngest in my family. I have an older brother and sister and I live with my mom. When we were younger we always enjoyed our camping trips. I have two nephews named Michael and Blake, and two nieces named Ava and Kayleigh. Their ages range from three to five years old. I love them so much. I also have two cats named Lily and Oliver. 

Work:
I work part time at a daycare in Holland, NY and I also substitute teach a few days per week. 

School:
I graduated from Medaille College with a bachelor's degree in Education. I am now working on my certification for New York State and plan on working on my Master's degree in the fall. 

Hobbies:
In my free time I enjoy reading, hanging out with friends, and coloring. I also enjoy traveling. I try and travel at least once a year. My favorite vacation would have to be Italy and Spain. 

How I got involved with Camp Good Days:
I got involved with Camp Good Days be searching places to volunteer in Buffalo. Camp good days popped up and I went to the website and filled out the application. I've been volunteering ever since the summer of 2012.

Why do you continue to volunteer for Camp Good Days:
I continue to volunteering because I love it. Just putting a smile on the child's face is worth everything. They are also putting a smile on my face as well because I am making a difference in their lives. 

Fun Fact: 
I rode the log ride at Darien Lake 40 times in a row. 

 

Shari Rife

Family:  I have a great family!  I have been married for 15 years to Michael Galante, a wonderful, fun man that I adore & love with all of my heart. I have two step-children, Kaitlyn & Patrick, who are successful young adults.  I have two brothers, Rob & Rick, both married to lovely ladies that I am glad to call my sister-in-laws. I have four nieces that I cherish, Kim, Kelly, Gracie and Lily. I can't forget about my mom, known by all as "Mother Dot" she truly is the rock of our family.

Work:  I work at Rich Products, and am celebrating 35 years with them.  I have an interesting job that has taken me around the world to deliver workshops in creativity, delivering the customer experience, strategic planning and so much more.

Hobbies: I recently took up basket weaving which is relaxing. Can I consider shopping a hobby? I am really good at it and enjoy the challenge of getting great bargains!

How I got involved in CGD: Michael and I attended the second Camp Good Days Gala. I don't recall the year but it was a different gala than we had ever attended. We loved the "creative" black tie concept and learned about what Camp Good Days was all about and we were hooked. We've attended every gala since then.  Michael and I really got into the creative part of the black tie concept and loved incorporating the theme into our attire so after attending a few of the galas, I was asked to be on the gala committee, which I graciously accepted.  And that's all she wrote. I have been involved ever since.

Why I continue to volunteer for CGD: After attending several galas, I had the opportunity to visit Camp Good Days. A busload of folks were taken to Camp to gain a deeper understanding of all that Camp is and all it has to offer. It was then that I discovered what an amazing place it is. To hear about it and to see it is so much different. The impact on me was incredible -what a wonderful place for children to go to be kids, have fun and forget about their disease.  All of the programs that are offered outside of Camp to the kids and their families are just amazing.  

I wish I had more to offer the children and families battling this disease. I wish I could help make this disease go away. So, I truly have little to offer except my time and my commitment. I  continue to volunteer on the CGD gala committee to raise as much money as possible so that as many children can experience Camp and bring some happiness into their lives.

A "fun fact" about me: I have completed a marathon, two 1/2 marathons and a triathlon all at Disney. I figure, if you are going to be miserable doing challenges like these, then Disney is the place to be because it's the happiest place on earth (other than Camp Good Days)! 

Juliana Tirone

I am currently a sophomore at Canisius College. I am Duel majoring in Communications and Marketing. I work at Tea Leaf Cafe on Maple Rd and Aerie at the Boulevard Mall. I hold an executive position in the American Marketing Society, Public Relations Student Society of America, Commuter Student Association, and am a member in the Canisius Life Social Media Team. I love fishing, hiking, and going to concerts in the summer.

I became a Camp Good Days camper in 2003 when my sister was diagnosed with cancer. In 2006, she passed away. Camp Good Days still included me in their monthly activities when many other groups we were in took our family off the radar. Camp has always been my backbone and helped me become who I am today. I started volunteering when I was 13. Even though I was not old enough to be a counselor, Lisa let me help behind the scenes at the Jr. Good Days summer program. Since then I have been helping out at the summer program. I just turned 18 and am able to become a counselor.

I love Camp Good Days. They are like my second family. I am so grateful for everything they did for me along the years, that I try to repay them by volunteering. I try my hardest to make sure the current campers are able to experience the love and compassion that I experienced as a kid. I also try to integrate Camp in whatever I can, especially my school and school clubs.

4. Fun Fact: I am 4'11'' and I am adopted from Mao Ming, China. I don't eat pork or beef and my favorite food is chicken.

Chuck Riley

I would like to thank Camp Good Days for this honor.  We became involved with CGD after our son "volunteered" our services for some events.  We felt very comfortable, enjoyed working with other volunteers and the staff family members.

I recently retired from Dunlop Tire after 38 years.  I have also been married for 38 years.  We are very fortunate to have our two sons and daughters (in law) living in the area.  We are very excited that our first Grandchild will be joining us in June.

I enjoy golfing, gardening and almost any "handyman" project.  I also enjoy walking my two grand-dogs when needed.  Travel is also a big interest of mine.

I truly enjoy working CGD events and look forward to spending more time with the Campers now that I have more time.

Karen Pruchnicki

My husband, Paul, and I have a son, Marty, and a daughter, Laura, who is also a Camp volunteer. Marty and his wife (also named Laura) have blessed us with two beautiful granddaughters who are the sunshine of my life. I feel very fortunate to live within ten miles of our son and his family, our daughter, my four sisters and my mom, along with countless other family members.  I most enjoy spending time with them and camping!

In 1990, our eight year old son, PJ, passed away after a four year battle with cancer. He didn't live to be old enough to attend "Big Camp," but was blessed beyond measure to attend Jr. Good Days. It was there that he learned to trust through his buddy, Dave R. and was able to be a normal little boy. There are no words to describe how much happiness Camp Good Days brought to PJ and our entire family. Being involved with Camp now as a counselor and volunteer helps me to feel that in a very small way I can try to give back all that Camp has given us. There are no words to express how much being chosen February's Volunteer of the Month means to me.

Fun fact - My family gave me an adorable kitten my daughter rescued during the "Snowvember" storm for Christmas this year. Snowball is my first pet, and I can't believe how much I enjoy him!

Barry Smith

I have lived in WNY since the age of 3. I have been working in the aerospace industry for the past 28 years. My wife, Ellen, and I are the proud parents of 2 daughters. Brittany is a junior at Baldwin Wallace University and Jaclyn is a senior at JFK High School. In my spare time I enjoy playing volleyball, coaching youth basketball and volleyball and making noise with the guitar.

I became a CGD counselor in 1992 when my sister, counselor extraordinaire Amy Smith, asked me if I could fill in at the last minute for Jr. Good Days summer day camp. Although somewhat apprehensive at first, I agreed and loved it from the first day.

Why continue to volunteer? Well I think all of us who volunteer see children and families who are going through a very dark time and wish we could alleviate their pain and uncertainty. Unfortunately, we are not doctors or scientists working on a cure for cancer. So we all do what we can, which is to try to bring a small measure of temporary relief and just help kids be kids for a while. And what a tremendous source of inspiration these children and young adults provide for the rest of us. When I witness how they deal with their illnesses, it really puts my trivial problems in proper perspective. Plus..it's fun!!

A fun fact about me is that, according to my mom, the first sentence I said was: "Where did the money go?"


2014:

Janet Andolina

I have truly been blessed to have the time, drive and interest in volunteering where needed. My husband, Vin, and sons, Vinny and Mark, support me in my efforts to assist others and also help out when able. Proudly, my brothers, Jeff and Julian, have rose to the occasion as well and sister is waiting in the wings!

I worked for many years in the Occupational Therapy field, most often with elementary school aged children before parental needs made me focus on efforts right at home. My spare time is filled with volunteering, outside work, camping and reading.

About 4 years ago my dear friend Jean and God sat me at a breakfast table with Shaylee, so beginning my adventure with Camp Good Days. I knew I could never fill Jean's shoes but hoped to add whatever I could to this wonderful organization. I continue to volunteer because of the unbridled (mostly) fun we get to have with the kids! To see their smiles and listen to their stories make any sacrifice of mine seem miniscule.

A "fun fact" about me is that my most favorite place to be is in a small fishing boat up on the St. Lawrence River attempting to catch (and release) bass or northern pikes, "a bad day of fishing is better than any other day." 


 

Keith Barron

My name is Keith Barron, I currently reside in Cheektowaga with my step daughter. At the moment I work for Synergy, as a contractor for Rich products in their IT department. Aside from my art which I'm most known for, my other hobbies include, gaming, reading, and gardening.

I was approached by Shari Rife and Mike Galante about volunteering for CGD after it was discovered that I was the mystery "bow tie" artist at Richs. I had been secretly doing murals in chalk on construction boards during renovations. It was months before I was "found out". All 70 pieces I did there were auctioned off for charities such as the united way.

Why do I volunteer? It was fun, over the last several months I assisted in creating fairy tale themed pieces. I'm just glad I could make a difference with my talent.

 

Lorene Barulich

 

A native of Erie, PA, Lorene earned her BA in theatre and communications from Gannon University and worked professionally as a costume seamstress and wardrobe mistress. She officially moved to Buffalo upon graduating from nursing school at D'Youville College in 2007 and pursued a pediatric oncology career at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It was there that her co-worker (and fellow camp nurse) Dawn Hezel "strongly encouraged"/ inspired Lorene to become a camp nurse!

I continue to be a camp nurse because I am reminded that children are resilient! Seeing them in a safe, fun, happy environment made it that much easier to care for them when they were not feeling well.

A "fun fact": I love to sing show tunes at the top of my lungs in the car (and anytime I have the chance)!

 

Brianna Blank

I am an aspiring photographer, cinematographer, and game designer. I am currently a senior at Canisius College majoring in Digital Media Arts and Communication Studies.

I was diagnosed with Leukemia when I was three and a half years old. Shortly thereafter, I became a camper at CGD. My time as a camper went on for many years and I loved every minute of it. It truly made my childhood special. I decided to become a volunteer photographer for CGD last year so I could give back to those who did so much for me as a kid.

I continue to volunteer for CGD because I love giving back to my community, giving back to CGD, and capturing wonderful photos of all of the smiling campers and volunteers!

 

Dawn Hezel

My name is Dawn Hezel and I am a pediatric nurse practitioner. I work at the Hemophilia Center of WNY. I care for kids with hemophilia, other bleeding and clotting disorders. I am married to my wonderful husband Ed Castine and we live in Ellicottville, NY with our beautiful dog Sydney.

I became involved with Camp Good Days based on the recommendation of Glen Briggs and June Csati. This was about 14 years ago.  I volunteer for as much as I can, and never see me not volunteering for Camp Good Days. Tubing and jet skiing are two things that I love the most! Thank you to everyone at Camp Good Days for their constant support, love, friendship and for the most amazing opportunity of my life.