Greenspring resident Hazel Poole was recently honored at the 2013 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards hosted by Volunteer Fairfax. The awards recognize “individuals, groups and organizations that have given outstanding volunteer service through a broad range of activities and programs” throughout the county. Poole received the award in the “Adult Volunteer 250 Hours and Over” category.
“I was really surprised, but very elated,” said Poole regarding her recent award. “I like to help other people and to stay active.”
Poole moved to Greenspring retirement community in 2000 after having lived for over 40 years within the greater Springfield community. Her volunteer activities prior to moving to Greenspring include service at Springfield United Methodist Church, where she still volunteers today. Once at Greenspring, Poole turned her sights to helping the diverse staff at the community. In 2002, an ESL program was established at Greenspring to help tutor staff members wishing to become more familiar with the English language. Poole took the reins and for the past 10 years has organized three 10-week courses per year for staff members to study with a resident volunteer tutor. Some of the courses have enrolled upwards of 30 students at a time and at one point represented students from 17 different countries. Since 2002, over 280 employees have attended and completed the ESL courses at Greenspring and more than 50 residents have become volunteer ESL tutors. Many of the students have even used the skills acquired from the courses to apply for and become U.S. citizens.
Greenspring Volunteer Programs Coordinator Elke Martin nominated Poole for the service award presented by Volunteer Fairfax. “Mrs. Poole has our deepest respect and admiration for bringing the ESL program to life at Greenspring and for ensuring that it keeps going strong,” said Martin. “Her work is an inspiration to all of those who are privileged to know her.”
“The ESL program offers great rewards for the students,” said Poole. “One student once said how she could now understand her doctor's instructions and help her children with their homework. The tutors also say that they enjoy the time they spend with the students and find it very rewarding. I accept the award in honor of the ESL tutors and students.”
Most recently, in 2012, Poole received the President’s Call to Service Award, which recognizes individuals with over 4,000 hours of lifetime volunteer service.