2017 Volunteers of the Year

In the past year, more than 11,800 volunteers donated 235,762 hours of work to the Y. These hours are valued at $5.18 million. These numbers show the generosity of all of those who walk through our doors every day with a serving spirit. The positive impact of volunteer efforts is what strengthens the foundation of our community.

Thank you to all volunteers for your generosity, philanthropy, and your relentless dedication to make the Y a place for all. 

To become a volunteer, click here>

Aldine-Greenspoint Family YMCA 


 Treena Dockery

Treena Dockery has been a great supporter of the Aldine-Greenspoint Family YMCA since 2012, when she became involved as a community partner through her job. Treena is the Parks and Recreation Manager for North Houston District (formerly Greenspoint District) and her role involves the management and operations of four Greenspoint parks including North Houston Skate Park, the largest skateboard park in North America. 

In 2015, Treena became a true advocate of the Y as the Aldine-Greenspoint Family YMCA began to look for sites for a teen program in the community. Through her support and encouragement of youth participation, she has been able to recruit teen skaters into the YMCA Achievers program. Her volunteer work through teen and outreach programs at Wussow Park has been very impactful to the community. 

Alief Family YMCA


Julie Gundy

Julie Gundy has been part of the Alief Family YMCA Board for three years. She joined the Board as a community partner from Woodforest Bank and has helped tremendously in furthering the partnership.

Julie has been an outstanding contributor to the YMCA through her many hours of service and dedication to help improve the Alief community.  Julie can be found at any of our events, whether it be judging a costume contest at the Fall Festival, teaching financial literacy at a YMCA Operation Backpack distribution event, or even organizing a food pantry on Martin Luther King Day of Service. Julie’s willingness to be part of all of these activities and more demonstrates her true love not just the Alief YMCA, but the Alief community as a whole.  

Baytown Family YMCA


Garry Nelson

Garry Nelson and his family joined the Baytown Family YMCA 29 years ago and filled those years with many memories of t-ball and softball games, camp outings and strong relationships. Garry joined the Baytown Family YMCA Board in 2010, serving two years as the Annual Campaign chair and two years as Board chair.

Garry was instrumental in the transition of the Baytown Family YMCA to its new location in 2016. His experience in corporate work as well as with business ownership and his strong knowledge and dedication to serve his community continue to be invaluable. Garry serves with humility, discipline and integrity and can be seen every single day at the Y with his wife, when they come in to work out. 

Brenda and John Duncan YMCA


Polly Cousten

Polly Cousten has been a volunteer with the YMCA for 10 years. She is a tremendous help in several initiatives focused on Active Older Adults (AOA), including bingo, veterans meetings, birthday bashes and trips. 

Polly is a committed member and volunteer of the Y who believes in giving back to her community. She is passionate about seniors staying active in spirit, mind, and body, and assists with every AOA event in a leadership role. She has also served as a campaigner for several years, helping to raise funds for financial assistance for families in need.

Connect Y


Erin Nichols

Erin Nichols has been an active supporter of Connect Y from the beginning. She is the daughter of Gary Nichols, retired Senior Vice President of Operations, historian and longtime volunteer, and grew up in the Y. Erin was instrumental in getting the Jr. Wrangler Program started at Camp Cullen at the age of 11. She volunteered until the age of 16, when she became a YMCA employee. Erin has a love for animals and dedicates her time to animals in need.

Erin has supported initiatives, projects, and community events in the Connect Y service area. She serves with an open heart and brings her energy and YMCA spirit every time

Conroe Family YMCA


Sam Scheler

Sam Scheler and his wife Tanya, of 17 years, have been members of the Conroe Family YMCA since 2001. They have two children: Sarah, 12, and Chase, 9. Sam works for Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, serves as a deacon of the Children Ministry for Conroe Church of Christ and also plays a big part in the “Project Mentor” program with Conroe ISD, helping to promote positive youth development. Sam has been a volunteer at the Conroe Family YMCA since 2013 as a soccer and basketball coach. Sam’s passion is helping develop children and watching them grow, not only in sports, but in life. 

Sam is a great role model for representing the Y’s core values. The children he coaches and mentors grow stronger mentally, physically and spiritually. The kids and parents love him. He is not just an asset to the Conroe Y but to his entire community.

Cossaboom Family YMCA


Margarite Saldana

Margarite Saldana joined the Cossaboom Family YMCA Board in 2013. Since then, she has successfully chaired an annual fundraiser for two years and is currently serving a two year term as Board chair. 

Margarite established and currently chairs the Long Range Task Force, a group of leaders and community partners with the purpose of thoughtfully and thoroughly assessing what YMCA programs and services are vital to the East End. The group also helps determine the best way to deliver these programs, while working hand in hand with partners to meet essential needs of the community. 

Margarite is an example to her daughters, as they share her passion for excellence and her drive to make a positive difference

D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek
Lee Robison

Lee Robison has been an active member on the Board at the D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek since 2013. She has held many roles and is currently the chair for Community Awareness Committee and also serves on the Major Gifts Committee. Additionally, she serves on the Human Resources Committee at the YMCA’s Association Office. Lee has been instrumental in helping to provide education to preschoolers at the YMCA Children’s Academy at University Park, through the Noble Energy Foundation in conjunction with Lone Star College University Park.

Lee Robison was elected as Senior Vice President of Noble Energy’s Human Resources and Administration departments in April 2013. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Edgar A. Smith Family YMCA
Robert Key

Since 2012, Robert Key has been a volunteer at the E.A. Smith Family YMCA coaching more than 250 kids ages 6-15 every year to participate in the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon, the largest kids’ triathlon in the world. Through participation in the training and in the Triathlon, youth have an opportunity to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle focused on daily exercise while having fun.

Robert has been giving motivational and goal-oriented speeches for more than 25 years to athletic groups, businesses, schools and churches, to underserved youth and various other organizations. He is a published author on subjects including goal setting, marketing and athletics, and has been featured in television and newspaper interviews. He has completed 21 marathons, including 11 in Houston and 3 in Boston.

Fort Bend Family YMCA
Kai Jones

Kai Jones has been a member of the Fort Bend Family YMCA Board since 2012. He joined the Board as the Vice-President and Business Development Officer for Summit Financial Resources. In December of 2014, he became the Market President for West Houston BB&T Bank.

Kai has guided the Fort Bend Family Y through challenging changes by agreeing to extend his term to provide the leadership necessary to strengthen the community. He helped oversee successful annual campaign efforts and the creation of key Board committees that address the needs for outreach, Board development and strengthening families.

Harriet and Joe Foster Family YMCA
Adrienne Thorp

Adrienne Thorp has been involved at the Harriet and Joe Foster Family YMCA for several years in many different capacities. She has been a youth sports coach, a Board member, has sat on many Board sub-committees and is currently the Board chair. Adrienne works as an Employability Specialist for the HUB Houston, which is a relationship-centered educational program serving teenagers and young adults with neurological challenges. 

Adrienne approaches every challenge with a smile and is determined to make the Foster YMCA’s diverse and evolving community stronger. She embodies the YMCA mission and is a true advocate

Houston Texans YMCA
Zawadi Bryant

Zawadi Bryant is a truly dedicated volunteer at the Houston Texans YMCA. She has served on the Board since 2009, participated on the Capital Campaign Committee to raise funds to open the Houston Texans Y and was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2009. She has served in multiple leadership roles and is currently serving a two-year term as the Board Chair. 

Zawadi’s considerable knowledge and background in business development, partnerships, community advocacy, leadership and team building have been leveraged to the benefit of not only the Y, but to the Houston community as a whole. As a strong leader, mother, wife and growing business owner, she is inspired and determined to make sure all youth and teens have equal opportunities to thrive and lead.

Huntsville Family YMCA
Steve Kelly

Steve Kelly has been the driving force behind the Huntsville Family YMCA’s fundraiser, The Great Muddy Escape. For the past five years, Steve has donated his space, time and talent to the event. The race not only provides a fun opportunity to the community, but it also encourages families to get out and be active. All proceeds from the event go towards financial assistance and allow members of the community, regardless of their ability to pay, to participate in YMCA programs.

Steve’s passion for the Y and the great outdoors are seen through the success of The Great Muddy Escape event. The Huntsville Family YMCA is blessed to have had such a dedicated volunteer for the past five years and many more to come.  

Lake Houston Family YMCA
Robert Rollen

Robert Rollen is an incredible volunteer. He joined the Lake Houston Family YMCA Board in 2010 and has been chairing the Board since 2015. Robert’s enthusiasm, unending support to the Y and sense of commitment have been noticed and admired by his fellow Board members. His presence, dedication, sincerity and positive attitude are contagious. Robert is always there to help.

Langham Creek Family YMCA


Catherine Rowley

Volunteering for Catherine Rowley is a family affair. She and her husband, Chris, have led Miracle League baseball and adaptive soccer teams for the last few years at the Langham Creek Family YMCA. Both of her children, Caitlin and Chandler, have volunteered as “buddies” for all of the adaptive sports at the Y and have built life altering relationships with the children they have served.  

When you think of a Y family, the Rowley’s certainly fit that bill! Catherine has served on the Langham Creek Family YMCA Board since 2013, on the Field with Dreams and Annual Campaign Membership committees, served as a Division Leader in the Annual Campaign for two years, completely revamping and serving as Chair of the Holiday Hearts committee, and being a liaison between the Y and one of the largest volunteer groups, National Charity League. You can also find Catherine on Miracle League Saturdays in between games dressed up as a chicken as a member of the “Peep Squad” doing the chicken dance! 

M.D. Anderson Family YMCA 
Teresa Coronado

Teresa Coronado has been a member of the M.D. Anderson Family YMCA since 1999. She raised her two boys in the community and they participated in Youth Sports and Swim Team. She works out daily with her husband, Hector, faithfully at 5 am. She has been a member of the Board for 7 years, and is in her second term as Board chair. Over this time, she helped build a strong Board with committed and diverse volunteers. 

Teresa worked for the Harris County Department of Education for 16 years overseeing its budget and keeping the Y, schools, and other non-profits abreast of grants and resources. She is currently employed with the Harris County District Attorney’s office. Teresa’s service and passion for the well-being of children carries over into advocating for public safety within neighborhoods. Her message to other volunteers from the start is to do things together as “one” for the greater good.

Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch and YMCA at Katy Main Street
David Ruzicka

David Ruzicka has been part of the Katy Area YMCAs Board for 8 years and is the Lead Pastor at Fort Bend Fellowship Church. He is the current Board Chair for both YMCAs but has also served multiple years as chair of the Annual Campaign, Membership and Health Living committees.  

Whether it’s board service, committee work, spreading the word about the Annual Campaign in group exercise classes, emceeing the Annual Turkey Dash race or serving waffles to members, David epitomizes giving it all as a volunteer. The Katy Area YMCAs are fortunate to have a man of Christ on their team helping strengthen the community

Northeast Family YMCA
Deidra Wagner

Deidra Wagner has been part of the Northeast Family YMCA Board for three years and has served as an Annual Campaigner for two years prior to her joining the Board. She is not a native Houstonian and, when she moved to our city, she was eager to find an organization that she could serve and use her talents to make a difference.  

Deidra was recruited as a campaigner by a Board member to help in the community efforts of the Annual Campaign. She has led the Board through two successful campaigns while serving as Board and Campaign chairs. Deidra’s dedication, passion, commitment and eagerness to serve have truly helped make a difference in the lives of the families in the community.

Perry Family YMCA
Kristi Koncaba

Kristi Koncaba’s involvement with the Perry Family YMCA Board began in 2013. In this brief four-year span, she has chaired both 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 Annual Campaigns, in which she has increased community giving, being the top individual fundraiser. Kristi also served as an encouragement others to increase their own fundraising goals. 

Kristi also serves on the Board of Directors for Innovative Alternatives, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides counseling and support for victims of violent crimes. She also facilitated the connection between the Y to Kidz Harbor in Alvin, a short-and long-term residence facility for kids in need of foster care and support. The YMCA greatly appreciates Kristi for her commitment to kids, families and strengthening the community. 

Sealy Family YMCA
Leroy Zapalac

Leroy Zapalac has served as volunteer for the Sealy Family YMCA for nearly two years. He serves on the Capital Campaign Committee and has given much of his time, talents and treasures to advance the Y’s mission and service in the Sealy community. Leroy is president of the Sealy Medical Center Foundation and director of the Sealy Scholarship Endowment Fund. He also serves as trustee for the Selman and Levine foundations and is a well-respected leader in Sealy, committed to ensuring services and programs are offered to families, youth and seniors. 

Leroy works tirelessly to educate the community about the many programs the YMCA offers and how they meet the needs of families. He believes strongly that every child should be given an opportunity regardless of their economic status. As an integral leader of the Capital Campaign Committee, he has secured almost $1 million and strengthened relationships, which has opened doors for another $2 million. Leroy served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Bank for 32 years, has three children, Susan, Tommy and John, and has been married for 48 years to his wife, Susie. 

Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA
Laura Lewis

Laura Lewis joined the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA Board three years ago, and the impact she has had in such a short time is profound and valued. She has emerged as a strong leader on a Board that has undergone major growth in both numbers and commitment to the cause of the YMCA. 

Over the past year, Laura has led through chairing both the Board and the Board Development Committee, which has resulted in a stronger and more diverse group with established strategic priorities. She attended the General Assembly of YMCAs and contributed to the success of Tellepsen’s 2016 YMCA Operation Backpack initiative through personal and corporate contributions. Laura truly has a heart for the cause of the YMCA and is a valued member of the Tellepsen team.

The Woodlands Family YMCA 
Valor Cooper

Valor Cooper has been a volunteer with The Woodlands Family YMCA for nearly four years. He serves as a coach for 2 to 4 teams every season and has impacted hundreds of lives. Valor strives to demonstrate and teach values such as respect and how to be part of a team to the children enrolled in the Y’s Youth Sports.

Valor has been coaching and training basketball for over 20 years and has been in public ministry for over 28 years. He has been married to Dr. Juan Cooper for 23 years and together they have two sons, Caleb, 14, and Aaron, 12.

Thelma Ley Anderson Family YMCA
LA DeBerry

LA DeBerry is the type of coach every parent and athlete hopes to have. He started coaching in 2012 and now coaches multiple teams each season, including his son’s volleyball team. Coach DeBerry teaches his players more than how to play competitive volleyball - he also emphasizes the life lessons that can be learned in each game.  

Coach DeBerry always looks to do what is right and wants what is be beneficial for his teams and for the leagues. Between the fall of 2012 and winter of 2017, Coach DeBerry has devoted more than 1,200 hours of coaching to the Y. The Thelma Ley Family YMCA hopes he continues to coach for many years to come.     

Trotter Family YMCA
Marie Allen

Marie Allen has served on the Trotter Family YMCA Board since 2011. She is an avid member of the Y and is well known among the members. Marie is an advocate for people’s needs, no matter how big or small, and is a strong link between the members and the Board. 

Marie has worked diligently to create collaborations between the Trotter Family Y and other community organizations. She’s been involved in productive discussions about ways to make families healthier, opportunities for work with local refugee groups and ways to benefit students at the Margaret Long Wisdom High School. In 2013 and 2014, Marie co-chaired the fundraiser Annual Celebrating the Women of the Y Luncheon and continues to serve on its committee. She is an integral part of Trotter’s annual campaign, helping the Y to serve those in need.

T.W. Davis Family YMCA
Jeff Tallas

Jeff Tallas has been an incredible volunteer at the T.W. Davis Family YMCA. As the current Board Chair and past Annual Campaign Chair, his enthusiasm and dedication led the center to raise over $375,000 through Annual Campaign efforts. 

Jeff’s presence, stories and positive attitude are contagious. He is always the first to help and attend all events. Jeff has left a permanent mark on the T.W. Davis YMCA and the Fort Bend community. 

Vic Coppinger Family YMCA
Blake Mauldin

Blake Mauldin has been a part of the Vic Coppinger Family YMCA for more than 20 years.  He has been a volunteer coach since 2003, impacting the lives of hundreds of children throughout the years. Blake is also a mentor for new coaches, serves on two YMCA committees, is a fundraiser and a true advocate for the Y in Pearland. Blake has a heart for the Y and embodies all YMCA values.  

Weekley Family YMCA
Dave Agerton

Dave Agerton has been a part of the Weekley Family YMCA Board since 2008. In the fall of 2014, he and Tom Friedman (Weekley’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year) helped lead an 18-month process of community workshops, culminating in a “2025 Vision” for the Weekley Family YMCA. Since then, Dave has been instrumental in bringing many of the Weekley Family YMCA 2025 Vision goals to fruition, particularly as they relate to community collaborations with one of the Y’s neighborhood schools, Shearn Elementary, located adjacent to a YMCA Apartment Outreach Center. 

Dave has also helped recruit tutors for students from Shearn Elementary, raised funds for a college-prep program for parents of those children, helped lead and organize a “Laps for Lives” fundraiser with the Weekley Family Y’s lap swimmers to provide swim lessons for the Shearn Elementary students. He has volunteered hundreds of hours in meeting with Y members, donors and community leaders. The Weekley Family YMCA is very grateful to Dave for all of his advocacy on behalf of the Y. 

Wendel D. Ley Family YMCA
Derrick Wilson

Derrick Wilson is part of the Wendel D. Ley Family YMCA Board and has been a dedicated coach in the Youth Sports program for over 8 years. He enjoys enriching the lives of children and families through sports and is a strong advocate for helping better his community. 

Derrick is currently a doctoral candidate for the Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration at Texas Southern University. He is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and is married to Tiffany Wilson. He is the father of SaRon, DeAvion, and Derrick II.

West Orem Family YMCA
Allen Goodlow, Sr.

Allen Goodlow, Sr. has been a member of the West Orem Family YMCA Board for three years. Before coming on the Board, he previously served on the former Westland YMCA Board for 13 years. He is the Director of Services for 5 Corners District. 

As a volunteer and advocate for the Y, Allen is committed to connecting the Y to the local business community. In 2016, he coordinated the first National Night Event in partnership with the 5 Corners District, Houston Police Department, City of Houston District K and the West Orem Family YMCA. He is passionate about strengthening families through community-based programs and initiatives.

YMCA Camp Cullen
Monica Rusch

Monica Rusch joined the YMCA Camp Cullen Board in 2014 after seeing the positive impact the camp and its counselors had on her stepson. Since then, she has been an enthusiastic and tireless supporter of YMCA Camp Cullen on the Board and in the community. 

Monica has served as the co-chair of the Annual Campaign committee for the past three years, breaking fundraising records each year. She also serves on the Camp Cullen Program Committee and the Association Risk Committee, all while holding a full-time role with the Houston Astros. Monica is an avid advocate for the Y. She volunteers regularly during Open House and closing sessions of camp, and has worked tirelessly to plan a volunteer day of work at camp. Monica is an outstanding example of the Y’s values and a great contributor to strengthening families in our community. 

YMCA International Services 
A-K Besancon

A-K Besancon has spearheaded an initiative connecting Houston residents to the newcomers arriving to our city through the Refugee Resettlement Program. A-K has made a tremendous impact on more than 30 newly arriving refugee families. 

In addition to providing material support in lieu of basic household supplies and furniture, A-K has facilitated airport pickups and compassionate mentoring for newly arriving refugee families. Most importantly, she has offered something priceless to the newest and most vulnerable Houstonians: a friendship that will last forever and help make the transition to American life easier. A-K, in response to the biblical teachings on God’s love for all nations, hopes to spread the spirit of compassion and love to all the new arrivals in Houston.