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South Colonie Central School District News

South Colonie Parent to Receive IMPACT Award For Motivating Volunteers

A South Colonie parent will be honored this spring with a 2016 IMPACT Award for her work in teaching children the importance of volunteering in the community and spreading kindness to one another.

Stakeholders, Inc. will recognize Kelly Brown Mateja with a Community Mentorship Award for initiating Morning of Kindness, a program that’s been active since December 2012. The Community IMPACT Awards are designed to recognize individuals, companies and organizations who have provided exemplary volunteer services in New York’s Capital Region.

Mateja and others will be honored by Stakeholders, Inc. at an April 6 Hollywood-style awards ceremony at the Franklin Plaza in Troy. Based in Albany, The Stakeholders is a not-for-profit organization that inspires and equips people to take positive action in their communities. Stakeholders, Inc. is a Regional Volunteer Engagement Center for a five-county region, as well as an affiliate of the National Points of Light Institute.

Mateja is the mother of three children Jack, Maddie, and Brayden, and been an active member of the Colonie community. She formerly worked at the Town of Colonie Senior Services before her present job at New York State Office for the Aging. She served as president of the Shaker Road PTA for two consecutive school years 2012-13 through 2013-14, and remains active in her children’s schools and PTA.

click here for Kelly Mateja bio (pdf)

Mateja saw a need to teach her children the importance of volunteering in the community and spreading kindness to one another, so on December 24, 2012 she initiated the Morning of Kindness with her own family and invited members of the community to join her. She sent out an invitation to the school community on her Facebook page, using her always present humor to engage families to join her. Her post read:

“On Monday, December 24th, you are invited to join the Mateja Family Kindness Ninjas on highly covert missions to stealthily spread Christmas cheer throughout the Capital Region. Feel free to join us for all three missions, or whichever missions fit your agenda, or you're also welcome to create and share your own missions. Invite your friends and neighbors!”

That first year she was able to rally up eight families to go out and perform random acts of kindness at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, Albany Medical Center and the Albany County Nursing Home. And then in …

  • 2013 – two dozen families participated

  • 2014 – 101 families/groups participated and visited a dozen different non-profit sites

  • 2015 - 837 volunteer slots filled for 26 different stops, at 16 different nonprofit sites, 475 people from 160 different families/groups

Kelly recently added this to her Facebook page:

“In this season of gratitude, I'm thankful for you. Overwhelmed by your awesomeness, actually. Because of you, at the end of the day tomorrow, literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people in our community will feel the impact of your generosity and kindness. Whether you pressed a candy cane in their hand, or they used your quarters to buy a soda while they anxiously awaited news of a loved one's health, or ate your cookies during a break in a long shift, or put a warm hat on their head when it gets cold next week, or they eat the lasagna you made, or adopt a dog that was fed with your donated dog food, or she washes her hair with the shampoo you donated to her shelter, or they hug your child after they were sang to - these are really important things, and I hope you feel phenomenal about all the wonderfulness you're creating in the world.”

But really, it was thanks to Mateja for leading the movement and keeping it going for four years.

Mateja has served as a role model to other parents and their children and has shown the South Colonie community what one person can do to make a difference in this world. She inspired other parents to be role models to their children, showing the importance of giving our time and talents to others.

She continues throughout the year to encourage others to volunteer and continually posts opportunities for adults and children.

Morning of Kindness is now part of the South Colonie Community culture.

More information about The Stakeholders, Inc. and ticket purchasing options for the 2016 IMPACT Awards can be found by visiting:

http://www.thestakeholders.org/news_and_events/2016_IMPACT_AWARDS_108_pg.htm