COTS Development Director Becky Holt with Alex Pastewsk (L), recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award and with Jack Kearnan recipient of the Samara-Anderson Walk Award.

Residents Honored by COTS

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Thursday November 07, 2013

At the Committee on Temporary Shelter’s Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation breakfast , COTS honored volunteers, community partners, local businesses and supporters on behalf of neighbors struggling with homelessness.
Building on the premise that it takes a community to make a difference, South Burlington based Vermont Business Magazine has helped COTS share stories of success made possible through COTS’ collaboration with businesses and other nonprofits. The Corporate Hero Award was presented to VBM publisher John Boutin of South Burlington.

For more than a year, once a month, Vermont Business Magazine has generously donated prominent space in their publication to feature COTS and their partnerships: “a Community Salute” by COTS to their friends..

Alex Pastewski received the Wilma Rayta Volunteer of the Year Award which is given each year in memory of longtime COTS supporter, Wilma Rayta who was a volunteer known for unquestioning commitment and hard work.
Pastewski, a South Burlington resident, worked with local musicians to create the Harmonies for Humanity  CD to benefit the organization. He contacted local musicians and asked them to write and perform songs that would illustrate the homeless issues and address its impact on society.  Each artist has donated the licensing rights to sell copies of their songs on the CD and digitally via internet delivery platforms like iTunes, Amazon, etc. This allows those proceeds to be used as a direct donation to COTS.  Not only did Alex connect with musicians, he landed sponsorships and technical support that made the CD a reality. He also wrote and sang one of the CD’s most moving tracks, Twisted.

Since the CD’s launch earlier this year, Pastewski has helped organize performances at the COTS Walk and the Nonprofitpalooza, among others.
Each year, COTS offers special recognition for a group of Challenge Walkers and Teams. A “challenge walker” or “team” raises at least $1,000 for COTS. Some raise much more. 

One of those walkers, is a gentle man named Jack C. Kearnan of South Burlington. Jack once received COTS support. This spring, he returned – this time to give his support. Kearnan decided to take the “COTS Walk Challenge,” pledging to raise more than $1,000 to support COTS services. He exceeded his goal, raising nearly $1,500 – and joined Executive Director Rita Markley, at the Walk in May to share his success. 

Founded in 1982, COTS provides emergency shelter to homeless families and individuals, homelessness prevention, case-management and referral services to those who are homeless or marginally housed, and permanent housing to low-income families and individuals.