Tammy Lawson named Friend of SHARE for work with employee aid program
University of Louisville Campus Tour Coordinator Tammy Lawson learned to help people from her mother. As a high school student, she rode TARC from school to the Brown Hotel two days a week to volunteer at the Clothes Closet, a program that later became the Jefferson County Public Schools Clothing Assistance Program. Her mother was the program's volunteer director for 35 years.
Lawson continued to volunteer for CAP until her mother died three years ago.
But she still finds ways to help people. Recently, the Staff Senate named Lawson as its 2009 Friend of SHARE, a program the Staff Senate started in 1991 for the UofL community to help eligible staff who are on out-of-pay status.
"There are a lot of people who make contributions to SHARE, but nobody leaves the mark on SHARE that Tammy does," said Staff Senate Chair Brent Fryrear as he presented the award to her.
Lawson has overseen the program for the past two years, and also has spearheaded special collections such as the ones for UofL family members serving in Iraq and for Atkinson Elementary.
But SHARE's primary goal is to help staff who are in financial difficulty because of their own or a family member's illness or because they have had to go on out-of-pay status for another reason. The program has helped staff with such payments as car, utilities, mortgage, rent, auto insurance and health insurance, she said.
"SHARE recipients have expressed to me many times of the stress and worries that have been lifted because of the generosity of their fellow co-workers," Lawson said. "When you're faced with serious health issues the last thing you need is stress of financial issues, the SHARE program helps to relieve some of those pressures."
Donations to SHARE can come from staff or faculty and payroll deduction is available. Employees can start making donations at any time. This fall they also may opt to support SHARE as part of the UofL Cares campaign.
"We're getting monthly and biweekly donations through payroll deduction, but we can use more," Lawson said, noting that at the end of July, SHARE had helped more staff than it had in all of 2008.
Requests for assistance are confidential and are made online. Lawson or a Staff Senate officer reviews each request for eligibility. Those that meet the requirements go to the full committee for approval.
The process is completely anonymous once it reaches the committee level, Lawson said. Committee members see only the details of the request and not identifying information.
"I think the program is important for both the donor and the recipient," she said. "We all have the desire to help, and with SHARE every staff member can contribute in some form, whether it be monetary, volunteering with fundraising or donations during our holiday food drive."
And for Lawson, there is an added benefit.
"Through the SHARE program I have been given the opportunity to carry on my mother's legacy," she said.