Xochitl Velazquez and Steve Clive, both of Wenatchee, Washington, and Washington Fruit & Produce of Yakima, Washington, were honored this month by the Washington Apple Education Foundation for their service to the foundation’s efforts with educational opportunities and scholarship awards, according to a news release.

Velazquez received the Alumni Volunteer of the Year award, Clive took the Individual Volunteer of the Year honor while Washington Fruit & Produce was named Volunteer Company/Group of the Year.

Each year, WAEF selects three volunteers and hands out the award during a breakfast ceremony. Here is the news release:

WAEF Volunteers Honored

Quincy, WA — This year almost 200 individuals with ties to tree fruit industry communities volunteered with the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF). Together, these volunteers helped to award over 300 students with scholarships valued at $1.1 million. To recognize the vital role of volunteers in all of the foundation’s operations and efforts, WAEF hosted its sixth annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast Tuesday morning, September 12th, at Cave B Inn in Quincy.

In 2018, volunteers sent care packages to current scholarship students, reviewed scholarship applications, supported ESL programs with grant funding and networking opportunities, executed two golf tournaments, hosted over 1000 people at scholarship celebration luncheons, oversaw the foundation’s $6 million investment pool, provided effective governance and leadership through the board of directors, organized three career exploration tours, assisted students with job shadows, internships, resume assistance and much more!

This week’s event was an opportunity to officially say thank you to those that create such meaning through their volunteer efforts and passion.

To share about the impact of volunteers at WAEF, WAEF scholarship recipient Oscar Martinez, a senior at Eastern Washington University, shared the impact of the financial and emotional support of those involved with WAEF saying “Being a scholarship recipient of this organization, I have no reason to fail. I refocus every time I receive a care package, I feel inspired every time I network, and I feel connected every time I attend a WAEF event. When you surround yourself with the right type of people, you can achieve anything in this world.”

Annually three volunteers are honored for their exceptional service to the foundation’s efforts to impact lives through access to educational opportunities.

Alumni Volunteer of the Year: Xochitl Velazquez, Wenatchee

Xochitl Velazquez became a WAEF scholarship recipient in 2009 following her graduation from Eastmont and Wenatchee Valley College as a running start student. She attended Gonzaga University receiving a degree in business administration.

Velazquez’s volunteer activities began with WAEF when she was completing her master’s degree at Gonzaga University. Velazquez was one of the first to join the foundation’s Team WAEF at Bloomsday, a fundraising team that ran/walk Bloomsday to raise money for scholarships. Upon her graduation from college, Velazquez was the student at the scholarship luncheon sharing about her involvement with WAEF and the impact scholarships had on her life.

When Velazquez returned to Wenatchee, she sought out ways to be involved with WAEF. Since her return, Velazquez is a regular volunteer at the student holiday dinner and serves on the scholarship selection committee. Velazquez has also helped with regional dinners, summer workshops and led her group at Cashmere Valley Bank to participate in care packages.

Individual Volunteer of the Year: Steve Clive, Wenatchee

Steve Clive’s involvement with WAEF began over 15 years ago when he was tapped to help with the WAEF annual golf tournaments. Later that evolved into board service and Clive was chairman of the board of directors in 2010.

After his board term concluded, Clive became a member of the WAEF Counselors Roundtable. He also continues to serve on the foundation’s Farmworker Education and audit committees. The Farmworker Education committee’s job includes reviewing grant applications and making site visits. Clive has furthered his role by assisting grant recipients with goal setting and assessments.

Four years ago when WAEF began student workshops, Clive suggested budgeting as a topic for the student workshops and volunteered to lead the session. Consistently this has been a top session and is annually offered to incoming freshmen. Student comments frequently include how much they appreciate how Clive relates to them and makes the session interesting.

Clive is a vice-president at Washington Trust Bank. Members of the bank attended the recognition breakfast to show their support of this efforts.

Volunteer Company/Group of the Year: Washington Fruit & Produce, Yakima

Washington Fruit & Produce Company committed several years ago to making a difference to the children of their employees through college access. Their financial gifts to students through WAEF have been life changing for nearly 130 students that have received multi-year scholarships over the last 8 years.

Also impactful has been the involvement of many Washington Fruit & Produce employees and family members in volunteer efforts. In 2018, 17 employees and family of Washington Fruit & Produce volunteered with WAEF in various areas, three of them volunteered as both Washington Fruit & Produce employees and also WAEF alumni.

Washington Fruit & Produce volunteers were members of the scholarship selection, farmworker education, student stewardship, resource development, investment and strategic planning committees, served on the WAEF board of directors, provided student resume reviews, hosted career exploration tours, sent care packages, provided student guidance and mentorship, shared about their industry experience on film and through an intern event, and spoke at the scholarship celebration luncheon. Our special thanks to Rick & Lisa Plath, Cliff & Janie Plath, Dan Plath, Frank Davis, Rolando Martin, Nick Plath, Nate Rubio, Teresa Pritchard, Trent Fuller, Jeff Nordstrom, Bryan Mains, Cody LaRiviere, Mike Hanks and Jesus Rodriguez.

The foundation expresses its strong appreciation for all of the volunteers that care for and support the work of WAEF.

The Washington Apple Education Foundation is the charity of the tree fruit industry. Its mission is to impact lives through access to educational opportunities. For more information, please visit the foundation’s website, www.waef.org, or contact the foundation office at (509) 663-7713.