HARD honors volunteer of the year

Volunteer Joel Ellioff and HARD trustee Louis Andrade at the honarary brunch on Jan. 28.

Joel Ellioff was honored with Hayward Area Recreation and Park District’s volunteer of the year award. He works at the senior centers, and is a volunteer driver for day trips, bringing seniors co museums and other cultural attractions. He also volunteers in the woodshop program and spends his lunch  break in the kitchen, serving up hot meals.

HARD has a honors a volunteer each month and then picks one from the 12 for this honor. Find a list of all volunteers of the month and more on Joel in the press release after the jump.


The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District’s Board of Directors recognized the HARD volunteers on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Hayward Area Senior Center.  Over 400 volunteers were invited to the Brunch and Ceremony.  There were nearly 1,000 registered volunteers last year, who donated in excess of 76,000 hours in 2011. Volunteers are a vital part of the District, they volunteer in the aquatics, arts, camps, dance, and special needs program, theatre arts, gymnastics, nature, parks, youth, sports and senior adults programs. Their dedicated volunteer service allows our District to fulfill its mission, which is to enrich the quality of life for our community by providing a variety of recreation activities, parks and facilities that promote health, wellness, learning and fun.  The “Volunteers of the Month” were recognized as was the Volunteer of the Year.


Below is the list of the 2011 Volunteers of the Month and the program area they volunteered in.


January             Catherine Ryan                         Nature Programs

February                      Ed Williams                                          Ashland Senior Program

March                          Bill Arnold                                            Special Needs Program

April                             Juliana Minyard                                    Dance Program

May                             Mike Jordan & Mike Bellefeuille           Volunteer Hayward and  Senior Program

June                             Catherine (Kate) Harrisson                   Theatre Arts

July                              Jamie Freid                                           Day Camp Program

August                          Bethany Lum                                        Aquatics Program

September                    Vigil Beth Rapiz                                    Youth & Teen (MJCC)

October                       Sonja Chen                                          PhotoCentral Program

November                    Joel Ellioff                                             Senior Programs

December                    Joan Howard                                        Youth & Teen


The volunteer of the year is selected out of the 12 Volunteers of the Month.

Joel Ellioff was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” Award.  He is currently a volunteer in the Senior Adult Program, volunteering at the Hayward Senior Center and the Kenneth Aitken Senior Center.  He volunteers in a variety of our Senior/Active Adult programs including the trips and tours program, the nutrition/luncheon program and in the woodshop program at the Hayward Area Senior Center.

Joel is a volunteer driver in the trips and tours program that is offered from the Hayward Senior Center and the Kenneth Aitken Senior Center. The day trips scheduled gives seniors the opportunity to visit places in the bay area that they may not normally be able to visit, due to driving limitations.  Places visited include museums, cultural attractions, gardens and much more.  Joel is always courteous to participants and attentive to their needs.  Being a volunteer driver is a lot of responsibility and effort.

On the Tuesdays and Thursday when Joel volunteers in the woodshop, he uses his lunch break to volunteer in the Hayward Senior Center kitchen.  He helps serve a hot nutritious luncheon to many senior citizens, who often get one hot nutritious meal a day. Another job that Joel volunteers for that holds a great amount of responsibility is being a woodshop volunteer and monitor.  Joel works at least two days a week at the Hayward Senior Center woodshop, he makes sure that participants have signed up for the safety training course, he monitors all participants ensuring they are using the machinery safely.  He inspects equipment also making sure it is safe to use.

In addition to his volunteer time with HARD, Joel also volunteers many hours with the CHP, California Highway Patrol.  He volunteers to organize a large crab feed, with proceeds benefiting the next generation scholarship.

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District is fortunate to have such a dependable, respectable person who volunteers their time and efforts to help our District maintain the high quality programs that enrich the quality of life for our community, especially the senior citizens.

Eric Kurhi

  • Awesome. I like positive news. It’s so refreshing.

  • Sherry Blair

    Yes, I noticed too in the new HARD guide for Spring that HARD also announced the Annual Board of Directors awards. The individual award went to Donna Fitzwater who recently passed away. She was the Volunteer Hayward Coordinator. The organization award went to the Cherryland Community Organization who has done a lot of good in that neighborhood.

    A little award of my own: to the HUSD Board of Education for coming together on the issue of “school Fees.” Last night’s meeting showed that they are getting very close to really understanding the issue and how to create truly free schools for all children.

    It’s been a long time coming, but they are almost there now.

  • Qodrn

    Congratulations to all the winners. Good job! Wish I had the money to volunteer. Oh well, back to work…

  • Qodrn

    Is Big Mike still outside in the rain? Anybody know? I kind of miss the big guy.

  • Eric Kurhi

    Qodrn: He’s no longer laying there in that Castro Valley front yard. I talked to a neighbor about a month ago — says the plan is to restore Mike and place him on a property in Hayward. He was going to pass along my info to the owner along with a request that he contact me but I haven’t heard anything.