For Immediate Release                                                                                   
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253


Rochester, NY (May 26, 2009) — WXXI Public Broadcasting Council named Joyce Gilbert its Volunteer of the Year during the station’s Annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on May 6, 2009. Gilbert was recognized for her work with Reachout Radio, WXXI’s 24-hour radio reading service for those who are visually impaired.

The Charles M. Wise Volunteer of the Year award, dedicated after the late Charles (Chuck) Wise – a loyal WXXI volunteer for many years, stands as a testament to Wise’s unwavering spirit of volunteerism. Each year, a committee of WXXI staff members identifies a group of volunteers who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism as Chuck did for so many years. The committee then evaluates the list and selects one individual who has been an ambassador for the mission of public broadcasting in our community.

Gilbert has been a Reachout Radio volunteer for the past 13 years. She’s also been an advocate of the radio reading service, helping to secure two grants from the Gilbert Spirit Fund in its support. The Gilbert Spirit Fund is an endowment set up by the First Unitarian Church in honor of Reverend Richard and his wife Joyce for their 32 years of service. In addition to her volunteer work with Reachout Radio, Gilbert answers phones during WXXI’s membership drives, and helps out with special events, including Speaking of Women’s Health, an annual women’s health conference. 

Her affiliation with WXXI goes back further than her volunteer work at the station. She worked for WXXI’s News and Public Affairs Department from 1974 – 1976 as a project coordinator, and from 1957 to 1958 managed WRUR-FM while enrolled as a student at the University of Rochester. Gilbert resides in Rochester with her husband.

Other volunteers recognized at the awards ceremony, included:

  • Maggie Walter, of Lima, who received the Youth Award in recognition of her work serving as various PBS Kids characters, including Clifford and Word Girl, at station events;
  • Anastasia Meyer, of Rochester, who was recognized for her work with Speaking of Women’s Health, including the coordination of the event’s gift baskets;
  • Mary Mead, of Webster, who was recognized for her work on WXXI membership drives;
  • Louise Craig, of Rochester, and Kathy Van Schaick, of Victor, who received The Producers Award for their work in reading for WXXI’s Reachout Radio;
  • Jim Sheldon, of Pittsford, who was recognized for his leadership in managing the phone banks during the radio membership drives, and helping with other WXXI events including Speaking of Women’s Health;
  • Tobie Smith, of Rush, who was recognized for her volunteer work with WXXI Reachout Radio.
And, the African American Leadership Development Program of the United Way was recognized for their group volunteer efforts answering phones during WXXI pledge drives.

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