TIFFANY Washington is a 16-year-old who loves to give. She volunteers to the James D. Gross Recreation Center on Linier Street, one of 72 such centers in the city's Department of Recreation and Parks.
Since age 8, Tiffany has volunteered there. ''I go as often as I can to answer the telephones, watch out for the summer campers, help give them lunch, and I just do whatever they want me to,'' says the gentle young teen.
Her mother, Brenda Washington, says ''Tiffany is a darling child who loves to do for others.
Dedicated to school work, Tiffany is an honor student. Her mother says Tiffany cried for eight days when she made a 70 on an English paper shortly after entering high school at Baltimore City College. ''Another evaluation of her sight [Tiffany was born with a genetic eye weakness] pointed out a need for larger print in her textbooks and papers. A public school program has supplied this material, and she is once again an honor student,'' says Brenda.
Tiffany says she plans to go into medicine and will be either a pediatrician or ophthalmologist. She has studied the clarinet for three years and is in the school band. ''It gives me something to practice,'' she says.
Their home is in Northwood. Charles Washington Sr. works for the William P. Burnette Co., which makes foam for mattresses, pillows and such. Brenda works for the Department of Social Services in the Supplemental Security Income program, which offers medical assistance for the disabled. Tiffany has an 8-year-old brother, Charles Jr.
Tiffany's volunteer efforts at the James D. Gross Center were recognized in April when the Department of Recreation and Parks honored its volunteers at a luncheon at the Convention Center. Many received pins for hours of service given and about 10 were awarded plaques for the hours they gave.
Those who were awarded plaques included Tiffany with 1,504 hours; John Gehring, North Harford Recreation Center, 1,280 hours; Trina Sanders, Fred B. Leiding Center, 849 hours, and Ebony Wingate, Hollander Ridge Center, 2,898 hours.
Senior award plaques went to Thomas Henderson, Easterwood Center, 4,851 hours; Maria Frisby, Gardenville Center, 3,779.5 hours; George Parks, Morrell Park Center, 2,946.5 hours, and Robert Lewis, Bocek Center, 2,479 hours. A special senior citizen award was presented to Effie Fromknecht for 9,808 hours at the Locust Point-Fort McHenry club, and a special programs award was presented to Jill Williams, Cylburn Park, for 3,528 hours.
The first scheduled athletic or recreational activity for city children was begun in 1897 by a volunteer group called ''Children's Playground Association.'' In 1947 the Department of Recreation and Parks was chartered, and in 1958 the Bureau of Recreation volunteer group was formed. Today there are 72 recreation centers operating year-round. Maryln J. Perritt is director of the department, Alma Bell is in charge of public relations and Albert J. Julian is director of volunteer services.
Volunteers are are needed in the recreation centers and other areas of the department to coach, teach, present their own crafts or skills, help organize, chaperon, plant flowers, clean up parks and much more. Anyone who will volunteer and who wants to know their nearest center should call Al Julian at 396-7459.