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Madison volunteer honored for helping others

United Way of Central New York recently honored Colleen Nassimos of Madison with the Exceptional Community Volunteer Award. This award is given bi-annually to volunteers who give outstanding gifts of their time and talents to Central New York non-profits.

Nassimos volunteers about 35 to 40 hours each month for Liberty Resources, Inc.'s Victims of Violence, a program assisting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. For the past two years, Nassimos has volunteered as a hotline crisis counselor on the program's 24-hour telephone crisis hotline, giving a total of about 2,000 hours of her time.

"Colleen has helped women and children explore options for safety, advocacy and support as they begin to heal from their trauma," said Carlene Holt, volunteer coordinator at Liberty Resources. "She is a compassionate woman who truly wants to help make a difference."

In addition to her work on the crisis line, Nassimos has offered her talent to the agency in a variety of ways. She is employed at Colgate University in the college's outreach center, where she has recruited about 25 students to become hotline counselors. The collaboration has strengthened the program's mission and helps educate the student population about domestic violence and sexual assault, according to Holt.

Nassimos also has helped increase community awareness about the services offered by Victims of Violence. She is a member of the Madison County Domestic Violence Coalition, and helps inform people in the community, other nonprofit agencies and law enforcement about the services available through Liberty Resources.

"Victims of Violence has increased its exposure in southern Madison County thanks to Colleen's individual outreach efforts," Holt said.

Nassimos goes above and beyond for the agency in many other ways, according to Holt. Last February, she gave the women in the Victims of Violence shelter Valentine's Day bags containing chocolates, scented lotions, nail-care items and candles. She helps spearhead successful fundraising efforts, and she organizes donations from students and faculty at Colgate University to women and children in the shelter.

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