The Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana honored 38 former educators, parents, grandparents and mentors from 26 parishes at its 2015 Volunteer of the Year ceremony June 9 at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.
Jessica Almand and Jeffrey Maruschak were recognized as Livingston Parish’s Volunteers of the Year, according to a news release.
Almand began volunteering with the VIPs program at North Live Oak Elementary in Denham Springs after enrolling her oldest son in kindergarten and started the Fall Carnival a year later. She is serving her fourth year as a VIP and her first year as president. Almand began substitute teaching when needed after selling the business she and her husband owned.
Almand hosted an Operation Christmas Child packing party for her Fellowship of Christian Athletes students, who packed 100 boxes of personal donations.
“Nothing makes me happier than being able to make a difference in the kids’ lives at our school,” Almand said.
Maruschak, a regular volunteer at Walker High School with more than 35 years of experience in heating ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration, currently teaches his trade to a class of 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade boys.
“After all that has been done for me, it gives me an opportunity to give a little something back, to be able to do something of worth for my community and to my Lord Jesus,” Maruschak said. “There is a major need for properly trained HVACR apprentices, and this is a good way to introduce this option to young people. Therefore, I am going to make a full effort to learn better techniques and become better at every aspect of this opportunity.”
Volunteers were selected by teachers throughout the state and nominated by members of A+PEL, a nonprofit professional education association committed to advancing teachers as career professionals.