Each year Sister Cities recognizes two individuals as volunteers of the year for the dedication and support of the organization.

Youth Volunteer of the Year:  Bogdana Oliynyk

Bogdana has continually impressed us throughout the years as an extremely active member of Fort Worth Sister Cities. She has served in several leadership positions on the youth board and has traveled to several of our sister cities – including Guiyang, China and Bandung, Indonesia.

She and her family can be counted on to home host – sometimes as many as four students at a time from a variety of cultures. She was also chosen as the recipient of the Sister Cities International Youth Volunteer of the Year award presented in Minneapolis at the annual conference this past summer – so we thought it was most appropriate that she be recognized as Fort Worth’s Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2015.

Past Youth Volunteers of the Year

2014 Kalkidan Alemu 2007 Jamie Drillette
2013 Sarika Sabnis 2006 Diana Alexander-Oates
2012 Zackary Kurima 2005 Chelsea Marshall
2011 Morgan Killian 2004 Jamarcus Perdue
2010 Daniel Watson 2003 Callie Baker
2009 Treasure Tinsley 2002 Elizabeth Jane McCune
2008 Mary Robinson  2001 Lindsay Wilson

Volunteer of The Year:  Tara Forrest

IMG_0184Tara had a busy year with us and wore many hats. She served as both a host for inbound delegations and as an international ambassador on outbound exchanges. In addition, and for the 10th year, she has served as coordinator of one of our most popular youth programs, the Junior International Leadership Academy.

She is a teacher at Fort Worth Country Day which serves as an Ambassador Middle School for students from Nagaoka, Japan, and she was the delegation leader for the prestigious Harashin scholars program to Japan this year. She can be counted on to attend all events and does so with extreme enthusiasm.

Past Volunteers of the Year

2014 Manny Reyes & Daniel Segura 2005 Becky Haskin
2013 Roswitha Knoop 2004 Neil & Eva Isbell
2012 Cody Cox 2003 Winston & Dorothy Measures
2011 Eva Bonilla 2002 David & Claudine Marion
2010 Jay Kurima 2001 Mary Lou Patterson
2009 Dave & Jean Frick 2000 Winston & Cindy Fuller
2008 Marsha Rapfogel 1999 Asako Cosby
2007 Carlo Capua 1998 Barbara Sides
2006 Rachel Bounds

The Bob Bolen Award for Outstanding Board Leadership: Ann Rice

Ann Rice has been involved with Sister Cities for many years serving in many capacities including a city chair and many more committees too numerous to list.

She is committed to Sister Cities working tirelessly on our behalf recruiting new members and continually looking for ways to promote Sister Cities and more importantly to sustain it. She participated on the task force that created a new brand, message and development plan for the organization, and has us poised to accomplish even more. She had to make some tough decisions during her term as chairwoman and because of her knowledge has poised Sister Cities to become the recognized leader in international relations not only in this city but in the state and country.

Past Bob Bolen Awards for Outstanding Board Leadership

2014 Phil Moroneso 2006 Karen Anisman
2013 Dr. Staussa Ervin 2005 Steve Roth
2012 Dr. Paul Geisel 2004 Nancy Marchant
2011 Doug Harman 2003 Bob Jameson
2010 Kathryn Bryan 2002 Mary Palko
2009 Becky Renfro Borbolla 2001 Elaine Yamagata
2008 Hilde Horchler 2000 Mike Hyatt
2007 Jane Schlansker

The Yamagata Emerging Leaders Scholarship: Selin Karsi

IMG_0166This award is presented annually to recognize two people who have been valued supporters from the beginning – Elaine and Tad Yamagata. The Yamagata Emerging Leaders Scholarship was created by our alumni group to honor the late Tadashi Yamagata and his wife, Elaine who is Director Emerita of the Board. The recipient receives a scholarship up to $2,000 for any Sister Cities youth program.

The 2015 recipient is Selin Karsi. Selin plans to go to Trier, Germany this spring on her scholarship.

Past Yamagata Emerging Leader Scholars

2013 Janet Diaz 2009 Lauren Eller
2012 Megan Eckelbarger 2008 Mallory Moore
2011 Gladys Guevara 2007 Taylor Breen
2010 Ilsa Gehman

The Eisenhower Award for Organizational Involvement: Bank of Texas

This award is presented annually to an organization that consistently supports Sister Cities’ activities both financially and with involvement.

Bank of Texas has been involved with Sister Cities for many years. They have supplied volunteers who graciously worked at events in various roles; promoted our student home hosting needs and as a result many employees have hosted students over the years. They have given generously through the years to support Sister Cities and their leadership has taken an active role in sustaining and growing the program.

Past Eisenhower Awards for Organizational Involvement

2014 Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau 2007 Texas Christian University
2013 Japanese Society of Fort Worth 2006 American Airlines
2012 Fort Worth Independent School District 2005 Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth
2011 UNT Health Science Center 2004 InterStar Marketing & Public Relations
2010 The Renaissance Worthington Hotel FW 2003 Bank One (now JPMorgan Chase Bank)
2009 Black Ecumenical Leadership Alliance 2002 Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.
2008 Sundance Square 2001 Alcon Laboratories

International & National Awards

  • Sister Cities Youth Leadership Award: Bogdana Oliynyk (2015)
  • US/China Sister Cities Award for Youth Programs (2014)
  • Sister Cities International Chairman’s Award: Michael Hyatt (2013)
  • Sister Cities Award for Innovation in Humanitarian Assistance (2012, 2009, 2008, 2004)
  • China International Friendship Cities Award for 2012 International Friendly City
  • Sister Cities Award for Best Overall Program (2011, 2009, 2007, 2003, 2001, 1998, 1992, 1990)
  • Sister Cities Award for Innovation in Arts & Culture (2010)

    Elaine Yamagata receives the 2005 Volunteer of the Year Award from SCI Chairman Mike Hyatt during the 2006 National Conference.
  • Sister Cities Award for Most Innovative Youth Program (2010, 2003, 2002)
  • United Nations Positive Peace Award for Most Positive City Top 5 Finalist (2010)
  • Sister Cities International Chairman’s Award: Mae Ferguson (2008)
  • Sister Cities Volunteer of the Year: Shinichi Hara (2007)
  • Sister Cities International President’s Award: Mary Palko (2006)
  • Sister Cities Volunteer of the Year: Elaine Yamagata (2005)
  • Sister Cities 50th Anniversary Award (2005)
  • Sister Cities Award for Innovation in Public Safety (2003)
  • Sister Cities Volunteer of the Year – Mary Palko (1999)
  • Sister Cities Special Achievement Awards in Education (1996)
  • Reader’s Digest Award for Best Overall Youth Program (1991)
  • Sales and Marketing Executive Award (1990)
  • Neighborhood USA Award (1989)
  • Reader’s Digest Award for Best New Program and Most Community Involvement (1988 and 1986)

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