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GIVING BACK

Every community has unsung heroes who dedicate their spare time to helping and improving the way of life for others. Giving Back is a segment that uncovers dynamic individuals in our community, giving them the recognition they deserve. Each week, TWC News' Jess Mitchel tells a new story of giving.





07/30/2014 10:38 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Giving Back
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Alex Ray started volunteering with the First Tee of Greater Austin in 2011.

"We are at the Harvey Penick Golf Campus," Ray said. "It's the home of the First Tee."

Ray coaches the Saturday morning program in the fall and spring.

"I love so many things about it, being on the golf course, being around the game of golf, being with the kids and helping to coach them and seeing their growth through the course of the program," he said. "End of the program, they're more confident and social and see their improvement with their golf swing."

The kids also have a 98 percent high school graduation rate if they stay in the program for two years. Some kids pay for the instruction, and others receive scholarships.

Ray says his role models inspired him to volunteer.

"Jennifer, the executive director here, she's superwoman; she's an amazing lady," he said. "Got to walk 18 holes with Gary Player, and he's really become an inspiration of mine."

It's a way for Ray to do something he loves while giving back at the same time.

"It's a good reminder of the big picture to do this once a week," he said. "It really helps to give me that balance. It's a great way to expose everybody from all walks of life to the game."


07/16/2014 08:16 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Providing Diapers to Austin Families in Need
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The Austin Diaper Bank is a nonprofit that provides diapers to almost 30 agencies. It distributes 100,000 a year, but says the community really needs a million.

"The need is overwhelming," Austin Diaper Bank founder Beverly Hamilton said.

And it's an overwhelming situation for many Austin families.

"I read an article and it talked about how moms didn't have enough diapers for their kiddos and that kids were staying in dirty diapers a lot longer," Hamilton said.

Diapers can cost $1,000 a year for one child and federal assistance programs don't cover the cost.

"Raising awareness is the only way that we are going to eliminate the issue," Hamilton said. "The diaper bank, much like a food bank, is a community investment, and it's a way to say, 'Our kids deserve better.'"

The Austin Diaper Bank has eight drop-off locations and also accepts monetary donations online.


07/09/2014 08:20 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Volunteers Work to Empower Young Latina Women
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Latinitas is a local nonprofit that works to get young women geared up for careers in media and technology.

"What we do is kind of give girls the tools to explore different types of media, different types of technology," volunteer Guadalupe Triana said. "Through our camps, girls have access to things that they might not have at home or at high school, particularly like laptops and cameras."

The primary focus of the organization is to empower young Latina women. It gives them the opportunity to have hands-on experience and figure out what they might want to pursue in the future.

Triana said volunteering has been been a rewarding experience and that she loves working with the girls because they remind her of a younger version of herself.

"It's really nice to see them and kind of mentor them and kind of guide them and help them figure out what they like and what they want to do," she said. "I stand for everything that Latinitas stands for."


07/02/2014 11:37 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: DriveASenior Volunteer Pays it Forward
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Mike Murphy knows that all he needs to help out his elderly neighbors is a car.

Murphy has been a volunteer with DriveASenior for almost two years. He drives 96-year-old Hannah Hyman around once a week.

"Many would find it very difficult to live independently without a little bit of assistance," he said.

It's assistance he says he's happy to offer his older neighbors.

"My life's been blessed and I've had a lot of good things, and I like to be able to do something to help others," Murphy said.

And others are grateful for the service.

"Why I appreciate it so much is I don't have to burden my family," Hyman said. "It's just been a wonderful experience for me."

The experience is easy for volunteers. Once you sign up with your zip code, DriveASenior will issue you rides near your home. Typical rides include trips to the grocery store, beauty salon or doctor's office.

"I usually bring a Kindle to look at and read while they're in the appointment, and then stay there for the duration then drive them back," Murphy said.

It's his way to give back while also paying it forward.

"I mean, I'm 68," Murphy said. "At some point, I'll probably give up driving, so it's something I can do now that I may need later."


06/11/2014 09:32 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Brooks Goldsmith Gives Back by Cleaning Shoal Creek
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Some tools, some friends and a Saturday morning — that's all this group needs to scrape away at a hidden Shoal Creek trail.

"This just becomes no trail after one little heavy water flow," volunteer Brooks Goldsmith said. "We are clearing this concrete slab underneath the rock to make it easier for bikes to cross the creek."

Shoal Creek is part of the trail system, amidst high rises and traffic. Goldsmith gets a group together four times a year to clear the trail after major rainfalls.

"Once they get to a certain spot in their development, they're supposed to build this trail out as well," he said.

Until then, Goldsmith will lead this effort to make the West Fifth Street crossing more accessible to bikes.

"These rocks are not easy to ride across, and a lot of inexperienced riders like this trail because most of it is paved," Goldsmith said.

It's a service he's doing for fellow bicyclists.

"It's nice to be able to connect long distances with beautiful places so that you don't have to stop for stoplights," he said. "Giving back means doing something that's selfless. If everyone gives back, then we're all part of a healthy society."


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If you'd like to nominate someone to be featured in a YNN Giving Back segment, send an email describing their qualifications, fill out this form:
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