If you visit Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families, you’ll typically find volunteers hard at work. Whether tutoring youth, mulching flower beds, mowing grass, painting walls, working on construction projects, playing softball, or teaching classes, volunteers use their talents in a variety of ways almost every day.

In early June, the home recognized some of those committed volunteers who help reach out to the abused, abandoned and neglected children served by the ministry. During the home’s annual Youth Recognition and Volunteer Appreciation Banquet, staff handed out awards to youth while applauding the volunteers who help those kids succeed.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lamar & Ruthmary Williamson Volunteer of the Year Award. Volunteers are nominated by youth and staff at the home who are privileged to work with them. Bob and Sandy Miller were named volunteers of the year for 2015 in appreciation of their dedicated service to the ministry.

Since learning about the home, the Millers have been dedicated to promoting the ministry wherever they go. They have brought multiple groups from Highland Farms where they live to the home for tours. The Millers not only encourage others to attend special events; they also personally volunteer in a variety of capacities throughout the year. Black Mountain businesses are familiar with the couple as they go out into the community promoting the children’s home.

“Bob and Sandy are wonderful ambassadors and committed friends to the ministry,” said Finance and Development vice president Sarah Thomas. “We’re so glad they decided to visit our campus and get involved in helping to change our children’s lives for the better.”

In the last fiscal year, more than 2,600 volunteers completed almost 17,000 hours of service. They came from 21 states as well as China, France and Italy. Independent Sector valued a volunteer hour at $22.14. At that rate, volunteer labor for the past year can be valued at more than $374,537.

Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families has been caring for abandoned, abused, neglected and orphaned children in Western North Carolina for more than a century. Begun by Presbyterian minister Robert Perry Smith in 1904 as Mountain Orphanage, the home began its ministry taking in Appalachian children whose parents had died or disappeared.

Today, the ministry serves youth from birth through college graduation through family foster care, residential care, transitional living and independent living. Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a public charity. To learn more, call 686-3451 or visit BlackMountainHome. org.

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