Longtime volunteer Joan Yost has been honored by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County as TRC’s Volunteer of the Year.
Joan, who was honored at the United Way’s annual Volunteer of the Year Reception on April 24 at the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown, started volunteering in 1978 when her daughter Jennifer was receiving early-intervention services from TRC. When Jenn entered grade school, Joan volunteered at Jenn’s schools until she graduated. Joan resumed volunteering at TRC in 1999 and has been with us ever since.
Among her volunteer activities, Joan helped facilitate a monthly support group for families who had children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ten years ago she helped establish monthly dances for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She continues to coordinate these events, arriving early to set up decorations and put out refreshments. The dances are popular, with upwards of 100 people showing up each month to socialize with peers and dance, and it is common to see Joan on the dance floor.
She has volunteered at some of our fund-raising events. She has served on TRC’s Guardianship Committee and Nominating Committee. She also has served on the Boards of Directors of Filling the Gap, Inc., and New Vision Services, Inc., two not-for-profit organizations that work with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County. Joan also advocates on behalf of The Resource Center and people with disabilities.
Besides her efforts on behalf of The Resource Center, Joan has been a Special Olympics volunteer for more than 30 years. Many of the people who are supported by The Resource Center participate in Special Olympics skiing, swimming, golf, bocce, and bowling. Joan is a coach and volunteer for all of these sports.
Terri Johnson, TRC’s Director of Employment and Community-Based Services, presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Joan. Terri told the audience that when she began working for TRC in 2001, she provided employment supports to Jenn. Terri said Joan was the kind of family member TRC enjoys interacting with, because her active involvement helped TRC to provide the best supports possible to Jenn.
When asked why she volunteers so much of her time, Joan gave a simple response: “I have been given so much in life. I want to give back to other people for everything I have been given.”