County of Marin - News Releases - Volunteers and Interns

For Immediate Release
April 21, 2021

Board Celebrates Outstanding Volunteers, Interns

Top staff supervisor of volunteers also honored during April 20 ceremony

San Rafael, CA – During National Volunteer Week, the Marin County Board of Supervisors celebrated the spirit of volunteer service by recognizing three exemplary individuals and two outstanding volunteer teams on April 20. The Board also proclaimed April as Volunteer and Intern Recognition Month and, in a related action, accepted the 2019-2020 MarinShares & Marinterns impact report.

Family, friends, and County staff members attended an online ceremony sponsored by Supervisor Katie Rice and emceed by Department of Human Resources Director Mary Hao.

The online event recognized the MarinShares and Marinterns programs’ 2020 honorees, whose traditional ceremony was postponed after the pandemic shelter-in-place order of last spring. Most honorees continue to serve. (The County plans to recognize 2021 honorees later this year.)

The honorees

Headshot of Maria GregorievMaria Gregoriev
Volunteer of the Year: Maria Gregoriev of San Rafael serves with the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) in the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). Always on the lookout for scams, she is a relentless researcher and quickly shares her discoveries with FAST colleagues. Gregoriev also prepares and delivers public presentations that arm older residents with facts and tips to protect them from falling victim to fraudsters. A licensed financial advisor, she has both the heart and the head for her volunteer role. HHS staff members Marin Public Guardian Mark Vanderscoff and Senior Program Coordinator Amanda Reyes say they are “so lucky to have her.” Gregoriev has volunteered with FAST since 2010.

Headshot of PJ NavePJ Nave
Intern of the Year: Paul James “PJ” Nave Jr. of San Rafael serves with the Board of Supervisors in the District 1 office led by Supervisor Damon Connolly. This High School #1327 student has a keen interest in community matters. He supports tasks related to the Clean Marin coalition, conducts research, enters data, and checks for faulty website links on the Board website, proving himself an asset to the office team. Nave has attended local and regional meetings with Connolly, continually learning about community issues and public policy. He models both excellence and enthusiasm, causing his internship supervisor, board aide Mary Sackett, to quip that it is hard to stay ahead of him.

Headshot of Chloe CookChloe Cook
Outstanding Staff Supervisor of Volunteers: All volunteers and interns have County staff supervisors who provide orientation, support, and connection. For her work mentoring student interns, the 2020 staff honoree is Social Services Unit Supervisor Chloe Cook of HHS. Since joining the County in 2015, Cook has provided excellent support to nursing students. Applying her professional experience, she works with her colleagues to create rich learning opportunities, fosters students’ interest in the medical field, and encourages them to consider public health nursing as a meaningful career. Cook is one of many employees who play an essential role in the ongoing operations of the MarinShares and Marinterns programs.


Intern Team of the Year: The District Attorney’s Intern Team includes students Mikael Boyer, Elliot Blum, Christopher Cullinane, Larnell France, Samantha Gatton, Matthew Hyman, Tiara Mead, Rebecca Meshel, Francesca Padilla, Mikayla Phillips, Sawyer Rasmussen, Vanessa Sibrian, and Hajra Yacoobali. They have demonstrated extraordinary dedication while participating with almost every unit in the District Attorney’s office during their internships. As they explore public service law careers, they conduct research, assist with case coordination, and learn about a broad spectrum of legal responsibilities. The group includes students from diverse backgrounds and a range of ages, from high school teens to career-changing adults. They developed a cooperative team spirit and serve as models of inclusion. Their staff supervisor is Assistant District Attorney Otis Bruce Jr., who coordinates internships and career development for the DA’s Office and also coordinates the office’s social justice, equity, community programs and policy initiatives.

Volunteer Team of the Year: The Marin Civic Center Docent Team leads engaging, educational tours for elementary school pupils, local residents, and international visitors. The 2019-2020 team members are James Allen, Joan Brown, Dennis Conway, Laura Griffith, Tierney Hamilton, Ted Kreines, Spencer Michels, June Miller, Adrienne Niedermann, Lynda Pearson, Noel Ryan, Joel Schwartz, and Ilene Taekman. The late Roy Fidler, a docent who passed away in July, received posthumous recognition. Tour team members honor architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s creative brilliance and broaden appreciation for the historic Marin Civic Center campus, which he designed. In 2020, the team marked 40 years since its founding by retired volunteer program director Joan Brown, now a volunteer on the team. The docents bring a range of experience and expertise as they lead tours for tourists, school groups, and new County employees. Before the COVID-19 shutdown, they were providing more than 250 tours a year for more than 4,000 visitors.

According to the 2019-2020 MarinShares & Marinterns Impact Report that the Board accepted on Tuesday, the County experienced a decrease in volunteers and unpaid interns because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, 8,042 volunteers and unpaid interns provided 200,527 service hours. And despite the pandemic, the number of paid interns rose: 92 paid interns worked 22,188 hours. That is a 33% rise in paid students – and 17% more paid intern hours – compared with the previous year. (The report was designed by MarinShares volunteer Eleanor Lau of Petaluma. Volunteer Deborah Gregor of San Rafael helped verify service hours.)

Internships Coordinator Joy Fossett said students able to serve during the pandemic – whether remotely or in person with safety protocols – continue to experience practical learning and explore public service careers.

“Students still want to intern in spite of the pandemic, but, during public health shutdowns, opportunities have been temporarily limited,” Fossett said. “However, using Zoom, several County departments have been able to provide an educational internship experience for some students, and they say it is valuable.”

As the pandemic began, many volunteers adapted, including Senior Peer Counselors who swapped in-person visits for phone calls with clients. MarinShares Coordinator Anne Starr said there was a surge of offers from others wanting to serve.

“Although we had to pause many assignments, it was inspiring to hear the generous offers,” Starr said. “Meanwhile, Marin Medical Reserve Corps volunteers began providing contact tracing, leading disaster preparation workshops, and, more recently, administering vaccinations. No matter what the circumstances, responsive volunteers make Marin a better place, and we are grateful.”

For 41 years, Marin’s centralized volunteer program has connected people with their County organization and enhanced the delivery of services to residents. For details about the MarinShares and Marinterns programs, see the webpage for volunteering and internships or contact Anne Starr for volunteering and Joy Fossett for internships.


Anne Starr
Volunteer Coordinator
County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 415
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7167
Email: Anne Starr