Barbara Varon Volunteer Award
Barbara Varon, a native of Germany, emigrated to America as an adult. She was devoted to her adopted land. As a world traveler who could speak several languages, she worked as a translator. Joining the Fairfax County Office of the General Registrar, she was committed to a voter registration outreach program to high school students. Using her linguistic skills, she wrote brochures and designed pamphlets to inform the voting public. Appointed to the Fairfax County Electoral Board, Barbara served as Vice Chairman and Chairman. Barbara and her husband Ben generously donated their time to many volunteer organizations and frequently made generous anonymous donations to those in need. Barbara fought for the rights and privileges of all citizens to participate in the electoral process. Friends, colleagues and admirers recall Barbara as courageous, elegant, gracious, caring, beloved and unselfish. The Board of Supervisors has memorialized her accomplishments through the Barbara Varon Volunteer Award to recognize volunteer efforts enriching Fairfax County.
Who Should be Nominated
- Live in Fairfax County.
- Demonstrate an appreciation for the diversity of our community's population.
- Exhibit patriotism by participating in electoral process educating others about the rights and privileges of all citizens to participate in electoral process, and/or participating in voter registration outreach.
How to Apply for the Award
Applications must include, in 350 words or less, the nominee's qualifications and the length of time served in each volunteer work. Please include the nominee's name, address, telephone number and email address on the application. Nominations must be received no later than the second Tuesday of June. Nominations will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and the award will be presented in October.
Presentations are open to public.
Mail your application to:
The Barbara Varon Volunteer Award
Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 318
Fairfax VA 22035
703-324-2953, TTY 711
Sidney Johnson Awarded the 2015 Barbara Varon Volunteer Award
November 19, 2015
In recognition for her years of community and exemplary volunteer work in Fairfax County, Sidney Johnson was honored by the Board of Supervisors with the 2015 Barbara Varon Volunteer Award during its meeting Nov. 17. The award, named to honor the memory of Barbara Varon, former chairman of the Fairfax County Electoral Board, was established to recognize a Fairfax County resident’s dedication to improving the community through volunteer service.
This year’s Barbara Varon Volunteer Award recipient was nominated by her peers at The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA). Johnson’s passion is getting underrepresented citizens engaged in civic activity, especially voting. Applying the principles and methods of Nonprofit VOTE, a nationwide consortium of non-partisan civic originations, she encourages increased voter participation and active citizenship. Joining with United Community Ministries (UCM), a group of agencies serving the low-income population along the Route One Corridor, Johnson placed display cases of voter registration applications and voter education literature in the offices of social workers and encouraged them to discuss the importance of voting with their clients. On-site voter registration is also offered at the UCM’s monthly vegetable give-away events.
As LWVFA’s voter service coordinator Johnson has made a significant impact. She oversees the publication of FACTS for VOTERS, a Directory of Fairfax area public officials and government offices; the Voters’ Guide, published in the Times newspaper; and a handout that includes all of the candidates and issues on the ballot. These publications are provided free to the public at many outlets from libraries to community centers.
Working with the Fairfax County Office of Elections and the general registrar, Johnson informs members of new voting laws and regulations and encourages all members to take retraining each year. She coordinates volunteers at voter registration events at local venues including libraries, metro stops and community festivals. Voter registration materials are also placed in charity shops and retirement communities.
Johnson coordinated at least nine fall 2015 meet and greet candidate forums with community groups such as AAUW, PTA, Beta Phi Zeta Sorority, CAPAVA, and many magisterial district councils. She has also scheduled televised candidate events at the Fairfax Public Access TV station which were taped and available on the LWFVA website and through YouTube.
Johnson’s varied background, as a teacher in British secondary schools, journalist for a community newspaper, occupational therapy assistant, and university research assistant, have shaped her desire to help citizens in all walks of life become involved in the electoral process.
For more information, contact the Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs at 703-324-2220.