In August of 2017, Branches decided to launch its first ever Annual Volunteer Award and has dedicated the award to Mr. Herbert C. Parlato. Herb has dedicated himself to serving the South Dade community. Since retiring in September of 2005, Herb spends several days a week at Branches Florida City, dedicating his time to mentoring and tutoring children and youth from low-income families. Herb grew up in Miami-Dade County and has always been an active community member. He has involved his family in community volunteer projects and has always stressed the importance of giving back. Herb is very proud of Miami, having grown up in Coconut Grove, graduated from Miami High, attended Miami-Dade Community College, and graduated from the University of Miami. Herb has mentored students at South Ridge High School, inmates at the Florida State Prison, and served with numerous other organizations.
Herb has stated in the past that his whole life changed when his dear friend Mary Susan Ward approached him now many years ago, saying that she knew of a place that where he could spend the rest of his life. And that wonderful place was Branches Florida City. Herb’s greatest impact has been at Branches Florida City where he serves as a role model to the children and youth who need guidance and support. He speaks to them with respect and helps them to understand the value of self-respect. Herb helps students with homework each day after school and continuously challenges their minds. Herb is incredibly patient and kind and believes that each child deserves a chance to succeed. He also believes that even though some youth may make bad choices, they deserve another opportunity. Herb teaches Branches’ students manners and important life skills and has helped out in every aspect of programming, from purchasing new soccer uniforms, buying fresh fruit for snacks to taking students out to restaurants to model proper etiquette. The children and youth, as well as the other volunteers and staff adore him. Going forward, the Herbert C. Parlato Volunteer Award will recognize and honor someone who similarly is dedicated to serving our community to create positive change in the lives of children and families.
2017 – Mr. Herbert C. Parlato
2018 – Mrs. Patti Morgan
2019 – Ms. Dreena Robinson
Award Attributes: The award criteria are derived from Herb’s profound example of service, dedication and love. Future award recipients must fulfill the first attribute and then at least two of the other attributes:
- Investing in Branches’ mission
- Being guided by one’s faith
- Being passionate about serving all God’s children
- Recognizing that no matter our circumstance in life, we share a common connection
- Building community by creating opportunities for our neighbors in need to fulfill their potential
- Encouraging generous philanthropy throughout our community and leading by example
- Inspiring others to dream big and make a difference