A state juvenile justice worker who has led community philanthropy efforts and outreach to the area’s youth is the United Way of the Midlands Top Volunteer for 2013.
The Alyce Kemp DeWitt Award is United Way’s most prestigious recognition for long-term service to the organization and community. Winners must have worked with the agency at least four years and have made a measurable impact on the organization.
Atkinson is a United Way board member who has served on several committees through the years. She currently is working with the agency to develop a round table for youth who turn 18 and don’t have any family or support system to transition to adulthood. These youth may have been homeless or spent time in foster care and need assistance in finding an apartment, getting furniture, securing transportation.
“Stacey Atkinson is a career public servant who has a passion for helping at-risk youth,” said Mac Bennett, United Way president and chief executive officer. “United Way has been fortunate that she has been an active supporter who is a true leader of volunteering, giving and advocating in our community. She is certainly making a lasting impact on the Midlands.”
Atkinson is a charter member of Women in Philanthropy and served as co-chair, on the nominating committee, and as a sponsor of the Power of the Purse, the organization’s biggest fundraising event.
As a Department of Juvenile Justice employee, she said she wanted to make a difference for “kids that do not want to be poor, do not want to be surrounded by violence, but do want to learn skills and have jobs.”
The United Way also will present this year’s Live United awards to Venus Holland, Lexington 2 superintendent; and George Cauthen, a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.
Two people will receive the Community Impact Award, which recognizes a commitment to volunteering and an effect on causes, programs or projects that support human service needs in the Midlands. The recipients are volunteers with United Way certified partner agencies.
This year’s Community Impact recipients are Phyllis Wood, who was nominated by Transitions; and Carolyn Dease, who was nominated by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Communities in Schools of the Midlands.
The University of South Carolina’s Bachelor of Social Work program, which was nominated by Communities in Schools of the Midlands, also will receive a Community Impact Award.