Matthew Whorral, a student at Wheaton High School, and Marvin Zimmerman, a retired educator, are among thirteen volunteers honored this year as Outstanding Volunteers of Montgomery County. The annual awards are sponsored by Marriott International, Inc. and Volunteer Partnership Montgomery, Inc.
Honorees are nominated by organizations around Montgomery County involved in areas ranging from hospice and healthcare to child welfare and education.
Sixteen-year-old Matthew Whorral, a student at Wheaton High School, was nominated as an outstanding volunteer by the Randolph Hills Nursing Center. Matt has volunteered at Randolph Hills since 1996, visiting the residents and participating in many of the activities, including their dances. Although he has cerebral palsy and walks on crutches, he is usually the first one on the dance floor, encouraging older residents with disabilities to join him. Matt is also dedicated to others in the community. He assists with religious education at St. Catherine Laboure Church, is treasurer for his sophomore class, participates in Youth Leadership Montgomery, and speaks to groups about youth with disabilities.
Marvin Zimmerman has been a volunteer at the Mark Twain School for three years and was nominated for his "exceptional mentoring" abilities by staff at the school. He brings 30 years of educational experience as a high school teacher, middle school guidance counselor and elementary school assistant principal to his volunteer work at this school for at-risk youth. Currently he is mentoring three Mark Twain students, providing them with emotional and academic support.
Whorral, Zimmerman and the other winners received a plaque at a ceremony at the Bethesda Marriott on April 19, as well as a contribution from Marriott to a charity designated by each honoree.
A new Spirit to Serve award program, announced by Marriott at the ceremony honoring outstanding volunteers, will recognize community service programs in Montgomery County schools. Information about the award and the application process will be sent to public and private schools in the county in late May. The first awards will be presented to four schools in April 2000.