The WNET Group Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Mary Burke | April 20, 2022

Seven adults stand in roe and pose for photo within an office conference room

WNET Volunteers Merry Chang, Jeff Lazar, Janet Klasson, Andrea Lazar, Annamarie Ristuccia, and Eileen McCarthy with WNET CEO & President Neal Shapiro (center, with tie).

The WNET Group is celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 17 – 23) in recognition of our volunteers and all who lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in their community through public media.

We salute our volunteers who are celebrating milestone anniversaries with special on air recognition on THIRTEEN, including Deirdre MacGuire, who has served The WNET Group for an incredible 45 years. Joining Deirdre in reaching milestones of service are these volunteers at The WNET Group:

Andrea Becker – 10 years
Caroyln Levitt – 10 years
Eileen McCarthy – 10 years
Reginald Brown – 15 years
Minda Dolmatch – 15 years
Andrea Lazar – 15 years
Jeff Lazar – 15 years
Terry Hickerson – 20 years

In addition to the volunteers who support departments across the The WNET Group stations, our mission is made possible by the volunteers of the THIRTEEN/WLIW Community Advisory Board, Friends of THIRTEEN Advocacy Group, THIRTEEN Educational Services Advisory Committee, and WLIW Educational Telecommunications Service Committee. These volunteer-based groups provide important links to our tristate community and provide valuable feedback to stations, including THIRTEEN. We express our gratitude to all who contribute their talents to meet the vital needs of our communities. To share your interest in volunteering, please see our volunteers page.

Read on to hear why The WNET Group staff love working with our volunteers, who help serve our mission to educate, inform, entertain and inspire.

Volunteers in On Air Fundraising and Donor Services

Two woman smile for camera in office setting

L to R: Director of On Air Fundraising and Donor Services Colleen Martin-O’Donnell with her mentor and former The WNET Group volunteer Shirley Larowitz.


I have had the privilege of working side by side with volunteers from the moment I stepped through the doors of WNET back in 1989. Over these past three decades, I have learned so much from them about dedication, commitment and camaraderie which has helped me grow, both professionally and personally. I’ve also had the unique opportunity to watch our volunteers adapt to changing technologies and meet unique challenges over the years. When I first joined the team, we were answering letters using typewriters. Then two years ago, we were met with the unique challenge of having to respond to members and viewers remotely. Unsurprisingly, our volunteers met this challenge with grace and professionalism and have continued to provide critical help in responding to viewer email when we really needed them the most. I can honestly say that I don’t know what we would do without our volunteers – they are an absolute treasure! – Colleen Martin-O’Donnell, Director Member & Viewer Relations

Volunteers in Planned Giving

A man and woman sit next to office window and smile for camera.

L to R: Senior Planned Giving Officer Larissa Fernandez with volunteer Reginald Brown during National Volunteer Week Breakfast
April 9, 2019.
Kellen Board Room, WNET

Planned Giving loves the volunteers because they’re friendly and helpful members of the WNET family. We regularly called up on them for assistance with our mailings to over 800 members of the WNET Legacy Society, and the volunteers were always up for the challenge. Their cheerful disposition, efficiency, and longstanding dedication to WNET make them a true pleasure to work with. Thank you for your many years of volunteer service, Volunteers! – Larissa Fernandez, Senior Planned Giving Officer

Volunteers in the Archive

Two women smile and pose for camera in a city office

L to R: WNET Lead Archivist Winter Shanck and volunteer Janet Klasson on Volunteer Recognition Day in 2020.

Volunteers are part of the fabric of WNET. I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the volunteers since we moved to our current location and I’ve been very lucky to work directly with a handful of them in the Archive. What I love most about the volunteers is their willingness to lend a helping hand in so many areas of the company and the fact that I get to learn so much about them and life, in general, from listening to their stories. Working with the volunteers in the Archive, I was able to introduce (or reintroduce) them to some of the earlier programs from the station’s history, see their reaction, and discuss their interpretation of and feelings about the programs. They would then proceed to transform what they’ve watched into descriptive metadata that could be immediately utilized by company staff and potentially in the future by external audiences. I cherish my time spent with working our group of volunteer warriors who are always willing to lend a helping hand to the station. – Winter Shanck, Lead Archivist

A group of people in glass-enclosed office room sit at tables with snacks and coffee; a group in foreground pose for camera

L to R foreground: WNET Volunteers Rochelle Bloom, Liz Kaufman (standing), Maxine Forman, and Rita Kessler with WNET Audio Operator Jon Berman.

A woman and man pose for camera in an office room

L to R: Volunteers Renita Hanfling and Ashton Spann

Two woman pose for camera in an office room with banquet chairs

L to R: Volunteers Judy Tosto and Liz Kaufman