Volunteers are the backbone of our work in the Mat-Su. Coming together to lend a helping hand, wherever help is needed. Tackling projects across the Valley. Creating a better, healthier, safer place for us all to live.

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Volunteer of the Year & Dorothy A. Jones Awards

Past Volunteer of the Year Mari Jo Parks receives her award from Stephanie Allen, Executive Director, and former Development Director Cherie LeBlanc Shue in 2012.

The United Way of Mat-Su Volunteer of the Year Award is intended to recognize the outstanding work of a volunteer during the last year. To be eligible, nominees must be a Mat-Su Borough resident and must have served as a volunteer in education, financial stability, or health within the Borough. Nominees are judged by a distinguished panel of community leaders, according to the impact of their contribution on the community, leadership and initiative, and service above and beyond. This year we would like to recognize any efforts made by nominees to assist friends, neighbors, and the community during the COVID-19 crisis as well.

Our 2022 Volunteer of the Year is: LYNDA CHUD

Affectionately known to so many as “Mama Chud”, Lynda has lived in the Valley her whole life, influencing others for the better through her career as a lifetime educator, active lifestyle and advocacy for sports, trails, parks and outdoor recreation, and as a mentor to youth and young adults. Currently, Lynda spends her time volunteering at MY House in Wasilla, where she wears many hats and participates in multiple projects and groups. She is also the MY House Empowerment Coordinator, working to reduce sex trafficking and abuse in the Valley. (She is pictured below with other MY House volunteers, on the far right.) Lynda is a survivor and avid runner/hiker whose family and grandchildren are central to her life. We have no doubt that Lynda treats every youth she helps like family, and has had a huge impact on the lives of those she serves. Congratulations, Lynda!


The Dorothy A. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award is intended to honor individuals for exceptional volunteer service in health & human services in the Mat-Su Borough over the course of their lifetime. To be eligible, nominees must be a Mat-Su Borough resident and must have served as a volunteer in education, financial stability, or health within the Borough. Nominees are judged by a distinguished panel of community leaders, according to length & breadth of service above and beyond their professional career, leadership and initiative, as well as how the nominee’s volunteerism has impacted the quality of life for Mat-Su residents.

Our 2022 Dorothy A. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award winner is: LISA WADE

Along with the numerous ways that Lisa is involved in the community, she is local to the community as Ahtna Deneâ’ of the taltsiine (water clan) and the ca’etsiy tnaey (iron people clan). Lisa, is a Nayâ’diniâ’aa Naâ’ Kayax (Chickaloon Native Village) Tribal citizen. Lisa is a wife and mother of two daughters, and she currently lives at Tsidakâ’etnaâ’ (Grandmother’s Creek); just north of Palmer, Alaska.
Lisa is an advocate for the health and wellness of Alaska Native peoples and is committed to supporting healthy communities locally, statewide, and nationally through community building, policy development, and indigenous advocacy. She enjoys cultural learning and creating community art projects, especially with children. She tirelessly serves her community in ways far beyond people’s knowledge – delivery of meals to elders that are home bound, rides for people with needs without question, groceries to community members, shouldering burdens beyond her own families and communities. Lisa reaches local policy makers, community partners, and individuals continually working to improve relationships and interactions between the native people and community for better representation and inclusion.
Lisa has served as a Chickaloon Village Traditional Council Member since 2012 and is a standing board member of the Southcentral Foundation Board of Directors, Benteh/Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center Joint Operating Board, Ceâ’yiits Hwnax Life House Community Health Center Advisory Committee, Mat-Su Health Foundation Board of Directors, Alaska Family Services Board of Directors, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Tribal Technical Advisory Committee. Lisa was a founding member on the steering Committee of Raising Our Children with Kindness (R.O.C.K.) Mat-Su Steering Committee and served on the Alaska Resilience Initiative (ARI) since their inception.
Lisa is one of the founding members of Mat-Su Racial Equity Dialogues, Braided Stories and was critical to the success of the Ya Ne Dah Ah School in Chickaloon Native Village.
Lisa works for health equity for all people and works to achieve this in the work that she advocates for in community. She enjoys Ahtna language and cultural learning and strives to share that with as many youth as possible to keep the native culture and traditions alive as they play such an important role in the history of our local community.



Week of Caring 2022 was a huge success! Thank you to all who participated!

Week of Caring is our largest annual volunteer effort, and we are so excited to bring it back this year. Local nonprofits who need a helping hand pair up with Valley businesses with an affinity for service, to get things done both large and small, that may otherwise go unfinished. Each year, dozens of volunteers from around the Mat-Su fan out around the Valley to assist a variety of agencies in completing spring projects.

In 2022, we are also accepting projects on behalf of Rotary’s Youth Leadership Academy. This one-day event will take place on April 16, 2022. If your agency would like to receive volunteers from RYLA, please let us know when filling out this form!

Applications for Week of Caring are currently closed. Please check back next year!