NEW TAMPA – Monica Mirza describes Ginger Bean as someone who deeply cares about her community.
“She’s just an overall great person and she does so much to help out,” said Mirza, who, in her one-year stint as executive director of the New Tampa YMCA has watched Bean, an eight-year board member, step up to the plate whenever and wherever there is a need.
Bean’s volunteer efforts include twice serving as board chairman and either chairing or serving on the annual giving campaign committee. In addition, she has a significant role in the planning stages of the branch’s popular dinner-dance, its biggest fundraising event of the year.
She also helped organize last year’s first-ever Turkey Trot 5K at the Wiregrass Mall in partnership with the New Tampa Rotary and the FitNiche store in the Shops at Wiregrass.
“I have enjoyed working on these events because they help us to reach out to more people in the community to teach them about the great things that the Y does,” said Bean, noting they include providing free swimming lessons to disadvantaged children and offering adaptive programs for people with special needs.
Because of Mirza’s frequent interaction with Bean, she said it was an easy decision when it came time for her to name the New Tampa Y’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year. Bean was clearly her choice.
“That’s not to say there aren’t other people who are also ready to help out, too,” Mirza said. “But Ginger always seems to go well beyond the norm in jumping in and doing whatever needs to be done.”
Bean, married and the mother of two adult children, was presented with the honor at a recent Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA dinner in which the top volunteers from the Y’s other branches were also recognized for their service.
“I am honored and frankly a bit embarrassed with the publicity,” Bean said.
Bean also serves as executive director of Oasis, a grassroots nonprofit organization that provides clothing and other basic necessities to needy students in local schools.
The flexible, 20-hour-per-week position has also allowed her the time to volunteer over the years in schools, coach girls’ lacrosse and participate in triathlons.
“No shortage of energy here,” Bean quipped.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]