MRSPA Community Service Awards Presented May, 2021
at the 2021 Annual Business Meeting
See others at: Community Service Awards - 2019
Outstanding Individual Award -
Linda Lymas - St. Mary's County - Feed St. Mary’s Food Bank
Dr. Linda Lymas is a member of St. Mary’s County Public Schools Retirees Association and serves her community at least 160 hours each month. Instrumental in establishing the first ever food bank in St. Mary’s County, Feed St. Mary’s Food Bank, Dr. Lymas negotiated a 5 - year rent free lease on a 3,000 square - foot store front and accessed grant funding to purchase a commercial walk-in freezer and refrigerator. This allows large donations to the bank. She promotes the food bank to service organizations, churches, school groups, businesses and individuals soliciting food and money donations. Linda also coordinates the activities of local food pantries to ensure they receive donations from the bank to feed the almost 10,000 people in the county who suffer food insecurity and rely on food pantries to survive. Hundreds of volunteers stay motivated to help with her encouragement. Dr. Lymas also serves as a board member of St. Mary’s Caring, a soup kitchen that feeds 2,500 people per month. Through St. Mary’s Caring, she also assists the Feed the Families program at a local Title I elementary school which ensures meals for students over holiday breaks and summer vacation. As a parent of an adult with special needs, Linda also works with the Center for Life Enrichment and Bay Community Support Services to encourage participation by the adult special needs community in the work of the soup kitchen. This provides more opportunities for her son and other adults with special needs.
Left-Dr. Linda Lymas
Individual Honorable Mention Award -
Elizabeth (E.A.) Stonesifer-Montgomery Co. Reading is Terrific
Elizabeth (E.A.) Stonesifer hails from Montgomery County Public Schools Retirees Association. She is recognized for creating a literacy program for 12 Title I elementary school first grades in the county called Reading is Terrific. E.A. has served as its director for 16 years. She schedules, coordinates, recruits, and trains 70 volunteer readers each year, while also facilitating the fund raising and book selection. Every month, a retired MCPS staff read a hardback book to a first - grade class. Each student in the class receives a copy of the book to take home, so that annually, each student in the class receives 9 books to start their own library at home and to share with siblings. Over 1,230 children benefit from this program each year. E.A. currently serves as Vice President of Questers, an international historical preservation and restoration society. Recently, E.A. assisted with the fundraising for a small museum in New Windsor to store records and artifacts of the area. She has also served as a docent and presented programs and seminars locally and to international guests. Additionally, E.A. serves on the MCPSRA Board of Directors as co-chair of their scholarship committee. She has worked for years developing the application, disseminating materials, presiding over the selection process, informing the winners, and awarding scholarships. Six to twelve MCPS employees are awarded a scholarship each year to achieve more training or advance their careers.
Local Association Project Awards
Small Local Association Winner (1-199 members)
Dorchester County Retired School Personnel (DREA)
Winner (1 – 199 members) – “Book Buggy” – Books on Wheels! – Dorchester Retired Educators Association (DREA) A logical extension of DREA’s Little Free Libraries project, the Book Buggy is a hit at community events like school, social services, and Habitat for Humanity fairs, family reunions, Main Street Cambridge and Dorchester Center for the Arts events, and early childhood picnics. The book buggy (trailer) carries 1,000 books to these events in spring, summer, and fall. Children and adults can select books to take home. DREA works with other agencies like DCPS Judy Centers, the county health department, and historical society to fulfill an important need in the community, while also serving as a conduit to other community services. Donations from DREA members and many others support this free all - volunteer literacy and association promotion effort.
Medium Local Association Winner (200-899 members)
Cecil County Public Schools Retirees Association (CCRPSPA)
Agape-weekend meals for elementary students
Winner (200 – 899 members) – Agape – Cecil County Retired Public School Personnel Association (CCRPSPA) Members of CCRPSPA work weekly to provide meals on the weekend for elementary students in need who are recommended by school counselors. Working through Agape, under the umbrella organization Nicanor, 224 children in 10 schools receive food on Friday for the weekend. Donations are made by CCRPSPA members, churches, businesses and individuals to provide the food for the meals. CCRPSPA members meet weekly to package and deliver breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for the weekend to the schools providing food for students who would otherwise be hungry.
Large Local Association Winner (over 900 members)
Anne Arundel Co (AARSPA)-Books for Teachers
Winner (900 + members) – Books for Teachers – Anne Arundel Retired School Personnel Association (AARSPA) In 2018, AARSPA expanded their book donation program to include giving books to first year teachers to start or supplement their classroom libraries during their orientation in August. 1200 books were available in the first year, with 1600 available in 2019. Some of the books are donated from AARSPA member personal collections, while many are earned by members who volunteer at the Scholastic Book Warehouse in Odenton. Twice a year, the warehouse is open to the public and anyone can purchase books at discounted prices. During this time, AARSPA volunteers sort, organize, pack books and assist shoppers. The volunteers are “paid” with vouchers for books, which are then donated to the project. The donated books help thankful new teachers establish a warm and inviting classroom, and support them as they begin their career in public education.
2019-2020 Local Association Project Award Nominees – Allegany, Dorchester and Talbot Counties (small); Cecil and Wicomico Counties (medium); and Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties (large).