Carrie Brazeal won award for innovative work with volunteers
Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191, firstname.lastname@example.org
BRYAN – Carrie Brazeal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service family and consumer sciences agent for Collin County, was recently honored with the agency’s Superior Service Award in the volunteerism category.
Superior Service Awards recognize AgriLife Extension faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance in AgriLife Extension education or other outstanding service to the organization and to Texans. The award was presented Jan. 12 during the annual AgriLife Extension conference awards dinner at the Brazos Expo Center in Bryan.
According to the award documentation, each year Brazeal trains Master Wellness Volunteers to assist with various educational programming such as Dinner Tonight! cooking schools and teaching small classes.
Brazeal provides 40 hours of training to volunteers, who then each pay back with 40 hours of service to the community, the documentation states.
The original statewide Master Wellness curriculum was created in 2007 by an AgriLife Extension team that included Brazeal. It involved five long face-to-face meetings, but after several potential volunteers couldn’t schedule all the meetings, Brazeal modified the curriculum to involve two home-study sessions.
“Energetic and enthusiastic, Brazeal is an expert at aligning each volunteer’s zeal and knowledge with volunteer opportunities,” documentation states. “Brazeal has a talent for directing the time and talents of volunteers for maximum effectiveness, and a vision in planning successful programs. She works as a team member with her volunteers, which is pivotal to the volunteers feeling that they have real value.”
Statistics of Brazeal’s work with volunteers demonstrate the effectiveness of the revised policy.
In 2011, Brazeal trained 19 volunteers who returned 682 hours of work conducting 79 educational activities, reaching 897 people.
In 2012, the volunteers she trained reached 1,088 people. In 2013, they reached 2,756 people. By 2014 and 2015, the growing number of volunteers reached more than 7,000 people each year.
According to the nomination, Brazeal has used the same strategy to manage other volunteer groups. She organized a coalition in 2011 to increase the participation in 4-H family and consumer science-related projects and contests.
“Completion of the foods and nutrition and clothing and textiles projects increased by 15 percent and participation in related contests have increased approximately 12 percent,” the nomination states.
Brazeal also serves as the advisor to the Collin County Extension Education Association, whose members are no longer capable of performing the physical labor for their annual fundraiser, so Brazeal enlists Master Wellness volunteers to assist in raising funds toward health-related community service projects such as food pantries and homeless shelter meals.
“I have worked with Carrie as a Master Wellness volunteer since the program’s inception,” said Mary Clark, Master Wellness volunteer. “She is very attentive to each of her volunteer’s abilities and interests and allows them to utilize their own particular style. She is exceptional at inspiring volunteers to do the best that they can do, and she is extremely receptive to their needs and concerns. Volunteers are never left hanging in the lurch.”
“Carrie’s energy and enthusiasm is inspiring and contagious because she believes in the mission of improving the lives of people and passes that belief on to each Master Wellness Volunteer she trains,” said Margie Schwartz, Master Wellness Volunteer.
“Carrie routinely demonstrates excellence in her volunteer management skills, ability to utilize the time and talents of volunteers for maximum effectiveness and vision in planning programs that are successful,” said Amy Stamps, Master Wellness volunteer. “She displays an attitude of teamwork with her volunteers; this is pivotal in feeling that we have real value.”
“I became a Master Wellness volunteer in 201l as a direct result of her efforts,” said Ruby Watson, Master Wellness volunteer. “I become a Master Gardener as well as a volunteer to help with 4-H programs. I feel so very fortunate that she started me on this path. Carrie Brazeal is the most dedicated, positive example of an AgriLife Extension family and consumer sciences agent – period.”
Brazeal has been with AgriLife Extension for 36 years, working in Collin County for the last 34 years.