Oh, The Impact They Make

Oh, The Impact They Make

Dr. Seuss-themed 23rd Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards held in Springfield.

Wesley Pan of Great Falls-based Boy Scouts of America Troop 55 was humble about receiving the Youth Volunteer Group award. “We’re just happy to help the community and make a difference,” he said.


The Rev. Dr. Eugene Johnson (left) is joined by Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully) as he accepts his Community Champion award at the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards. Johnson has been responsible for numerous aid programs over 20 years at Mount Olive Baptist Church.

His fellow scout Jeff Ye agreed that their organization is about “growing future leaders for our community and country.”

The Boy Scouts were among dozens of volunteers recognized at the 23rd annual Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards, held April 24 at the Waterford reception center in Springfield.

In the opening remarks, Volunteer Fairfax acting Executive Director Emily Swenson referenced a favorite saying of the the organization’s retiring Executive Director Jeanne Sanders, that “Communities are supported by citizens helping citizens.”

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova commented that robust volunteerism has “become ingrained in our culture,” a quality that stands out to visitors from outside the county.


Carolina Sosa (center right) of Centreville received the award for Youth Volunteer. Sosa founded the mentoring program Scholar Society to help low income and first-generation students, and is president of the United Prevention Coalition Youth Council.

“This is normal, this is what we do,” she said.

The Lifetime Achievement award went to Alexandria resident Peggy Ferguson, who founded the Naomi Project to help young and struggling new mothers in 1995.

“I saw a need, an incredible need for pregnant women and new parents,” she said. “I envisioned an opportunity where one volunteer could work with one client.”

With experience in public health nursing, hospital chaplaincy and raising five children of her own, Ferguson said she was well-prepared for forming the organization. But she added she’s grateful for “the incredible women I’ve worked with, down through the years, who’ve made this possible.”


Pedro Velasco de Paz (center left) of Centreville receives the Intégrate award for his volunteer work with the Centreville Labor Resource Center, including redesigning Green Garden Boxes and forming a drama group for young day workers.