Volunteer of the Year for Region II

Lyn W. Gabrielsen, a volunteer at Ocean Palms Elementary and Landrum Middle schools, has been selected as the Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year for Region II by the Florida Department of Education. This honor makes Gabrielsen one of the top five adult volunteers in the state.

Nominated by Ocean Palms Elementary School (OPES), Gabrielsen has an enormous ability to raise funds for projects and also spends countless hours making sure the school grounds are in great shape. Classroom sets of iPads, a refurbished teachers’ lounge, and student playgrounds are just a sampling of benefits realized by OPES through her efforts. A typical day for her consists of helping out with morning duty and the crosswalk, checking on needs in the front office and staying for various committee meetings. The new music teacher at OPES was equipped with a state-of-the-art digital piano for her classroom and accompanying materials, all due to Gabrielsen’s efforts.

“With a smile that can light up a room and positive energy that radiates wherever she is, Lyn Gabrielsen is a mighty force around the campus of Ocean Palms,” said Principal Jessica Richardson. “One of her greatest character traits is her humility. She continually places others in front of herself and works tirelessly to ensure that students, staff, and teachers have exactly what they need so they can focus on teaching and learning.”

Gabrielsen believes in collaboration within the community and among schools. She spends much of her time at Landrum Middle School (LMS) counting band money and assisting with fundraising efforts. She works regularly with her peers at neighboring schools and is always eager to coordinate activities that benefit the entire school district. While many people can claim hundreds of volunteer hours, it is difficult to match Gabrielsen’s servant leadership and commitment to individuals, families and the community. When Gabrielsen’s children started elementary school she was surprised to learn of how many school families were in need. Springing into action, she collected more than $3,000 in less than a week for these families. She was also responsible for creating the first ever “Otters Night Out” for parents at OPES, which raised almost $30,000 in its inaugural year.

Through all of her work within the school district, she somehow finds the time to volunteer in the community for events including the Pink Ribbon Classic, Furyk and Friends Golf Classic and Halloween Doors and More benefitting Community PedsCare. She has also served on the advisory board at her church for the last four years and chairs its fundraising gala.

“It is evident that Mrs. Gabrielsen is dedicated not only Ocean Palms Elementary, but to the entire district,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. “The volunteers, teachers and administrators who came out to offer congratulations on her being named the Region II Adult Volunteer of the year was overwhelming. We are very fortunate to have her in our district.”