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About Senior Corps 
Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service

Monday, June 09, 2003

CONTACT: Siobhan Dugan
Phone: 202-606-6707
Email: [email protected]


National Service Agency Honors Outstanding Volunteers


Baltimore, MD — The Corporation for National and Community Service honored 12 people from across the country at an awards ceremony today at the 2003 National Conference on Community Volunteering and National Service in Baltimore. Each honoree received a “Spirit of Service” award in recognition of their outstanding service to their communities.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our nation,” said Leslie Lenkowsky, CEO of the Corporation, a co-sponsor of the annual conference, in bestowing the awards. “Schools, hospitals, shelters, churches, synagogues, mosques, pantries, parks-organizations of every type in every community depend on the time and talent of volunteers,” he continued. “We at the Corporation for National and Community Service can take great pride in our vital role in supporting America’s voluntary sector. Our programs are helping spread service to every corner of our great nation. We are the foot soldiers in the Armies of Compassion, defending and serving America’s most vulnerable and needy people.”

Four participants from each of the Corporation’s three programs-Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America-were honored. Hailing from around the country, they range in age from 18 to 90. This year’s recipients are:

Senior Corps

William “Bill” Halcrow, Age Center, Worcester, Mass.
Upon retirement, Bill decided to get himself a new career – one of volunteerism and civic service. Now, at age 90, he has 21 years of service as a Senior Companion for the Age Center of Worcester, Massachusetts, Senior Companion program, where he continues to serve his 20 hours per week providing companionship, friendship, and kindness to countless other older people. Stepping out of boundaries for what is expected of a 90-year-old, Bill has begun a new challenge volunteering with clients at Adult Day Health Care Center, where his supervisor says, “He is a wonderful example of how to age, how to live, and how to continue to care.”

Johnella Richardson, Mark Twain School, Pontiac, Mich.
Johnella has not missed one day of mentoring and tutoring educationally and economically disadvantaged fourth and fifth graders at the Mark Twain School in Pontiac, Michigan, since 1997. She provides one-on-one attention and instruction in reading, math, and life skills to students assessed by their teachers as being most at-risk of failure. She plans field trips, craft, recreational, and cultural activities for the students. Johnella also created a program called LOVE (Ladies of Vision and Elegance) for fourth-grade girls who were referred to her by their teachers for inappropriate classroom behavior. The LOVE club became so popular that Johnella recruited other volunteers from her senior housing complex for the Foster Grandparent Program to help with the club.

Flo Taylor, Grafton County Correctional Facility, Lebanon, N.H.
Flo serves as the RSVP Volunteer Liaison to the Grafton County, New Hampshire, Correctional Department, where she and other RSVP volunteers use “Thresholds,” a professionally developed, structured curriculum, to teach decision-making classes to the inmates. Flo works with the Corrections staff to coordinate the sessions, schedule the classes, train volunteers, and match them with inmates. On a monthly basis, she also follows up with the inmates. As they graduate, she writes a personal reference letter for each. Recidivism rates among inmates who take the classes have dropped from 53 percent to 34 percent. In addition to the Threshold program, Flo volunteers with the Head Start Quilt Project, an intergenerational program that pairs older volunteers with Head Start students for reading and quilt-related activities.

Victoria Rose Thornton-Lucas, Bushwick Community Council Services, Brooklyn, N.Y.
In 1996, Virginia used her own money to start the Bushwick Community Council Services (BCCS) Soup Kitchen and Pantry, after watching the homeless population increase in her Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood as a result of joblessness, drug addiction, and AIDS. Currently, she serves as the RSVP Volunteer Director of BCCS, which provides sit-down meals in the soup kitchen, take-out meals, delivery meal service to homebound senior residents in the community, and a full-function food pantry. With the help and support of other community agencies, the center also provides free clothing, job referrals, and various job-training services. Her vision for BCCS is to continue to provide for the nutritional and social needs of the residents and to develop programs that would also allow the youth and seniors to give back to their community.


Jennifer Davison, H.O.P.E. Tutoring Center and The ConneXion, Arlington, Texas
Jennifer serves at two faith-based organizations that house after-school programs, H.O.P.E. Tutoring Center and The ConneXion. Her dedication to children and their families resulted in improved academic achievement, social skills, volunteerism, and civic engagement for 60 young people. To encourage their interest in further education, she created learning enrichment programs and she scheduled tours of college campuses. She took an innovative approach to mobilizing resources and responding to homeland security needs by partnering with the Arlington Police Department to teach youth about personal safety. She is also co-chair of “Reading Rocks,” a summer reading program. In addition to her AmeriCorps service, she has volunteered at a homeless shelter and an AIDS hospice and has taught vacation Bible school for two years.

Emma DeSoto, Arizona Rural Elderbuilders Partnership, Miami, Ariz.
Many residents of Emma’s area of Arizona are living in safer homes as a result of this AmeriCorps*VISTA member’s work. She organized a project to provide and install home and personal safety equipment, and obtained in-kind donations of the needed materials. She also organized local service agencies to work together to recruit and train volunteers and has been instrumental in promoting and building up four adult day-respite sites. This allows volunteers to receive ongoing training so that they can volunteer for several organizations. New AmeriCorps*VISTA members have benefited from training conducted by Emma.

Gertrude “Trudi” McGowan, Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County, Annapolis, Md.
As an AmeriCorps*VISTA member, Trudi developed partnerships between the Volunteer Center and governmental, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. She organized leadership training for area high school students, recruited volunteers for tutoring and mentoring programs, and planned a Volunteer Fair for Annapolis. She has assisted at-risk students at all levels of the school system and coordinated volunteers at several elementary and middle schools. Her lifelong commitment to service is exemplified by her previous stint as a VISTA member-in the 1970s.

Michael Monroe Legacy Corps for Health and Independent Living, Chicago, Ill.
Michael, 87, retired from a career in electrical contracting, then added a new chapter to his life by joining AmeriCorps. When his wife died after 54 years of marriage, he turned to helping others as a way of healing his own grief, serving at a Chicago project site sponsored by the University of Maryland Center on Aging. His dedication, tenacity, and keen abilities are put to use by assisting aging adults with their Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance claims. Many older adults need clarification of their medical bills. Michael’s work on behalf of people in need helped them save money while turning his own life around.

Learn and Serve America

Joe Follman, Service Learning Coordinator for the State of Florida, Tallahassee, Fla.
Joe administers the Florida Learn and Serve, Community/Higher Education/School Partnership, Title IV Community Service Grants, and FASS VISTA Initiative, which together engage more than 50,000 students in service-learning in Florida each year. The programs provide funds, training, resources, and technical assistance to those interested in service-learning. Joe has led Florida’s service-learning efforts since 1990. Three of his books, Learning by Serving, Comprehensive School Improvement, and Reducing School Violence, have been disseminated to every Florida school.

Rebecca Frayser Jim, Miami School District, Miami, Okla.
Rebecca was a school counselor for the Miami Schools in Oklahoma for 25 years before retiring last year. She coordinated the Tar Creek Project funded through Cherokee Nation Learn and Serve, which works to clean up the highly polluted area known as the Tar Creek Superfund Site. She formed the Cherokee Volunteer Society, a student group, which began in 1995 with six sophomores and has grown to over 250 students. For the past nine years, she has hosted awareness events and five national conferences on Tar Creek area issues. Rebecca continues the effort to clean up the environment as the Executive Director of LEAD (Local Environment Action Demanded) Agency and is working with Harvard University on a service-learning project for the Tar Creek area that will be part of the outreach for the larger ongoing research on heavy metal contamination of local children.

Dr. Susan H. Wilson, Secondary Training and Education Program (STEP), Alexandria, Va.
Susan is a tenth-grade English teacher and the volunteer coordinator at STEP, Alexandria’s alternative high school. She wrote one of the first Virginia Learn and Serve America grants to implement interdisciplinary service-learning programs in Alexandria. She began her work at the STEP Center in 1994 and developed two major community service projects. In one, more than 100 students use their lunch period once a week to mentor pre-school children. The other program, CyberSeniors/ CyberTeens, bridges generational and technology gaps by enabling young people to help senior citizens learn how to use the computer. Susan has generated more than $210,000 this year to help sustain the service-learning and leadership development programs at STEP.

Danielle Wright, Ripley High School, Ripley, Ohio
Danielle spent her senior year launching “Project Suitcase,” in which she enlisted the entire eighth-grade class of 120 students and the local county welfare agency to save their suitcases for foster children in rural, poor Appalachia. Danielle is a true leader, reaching out to other clubs and local organizations to support this initiative. While most teenagers focus on their personal lives, Danielle spent her own money and dedicated most of her leisure time to Project Suitcase for the betterment of foster children in the Appalachian region.

The Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through three programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. The Corporation and its programs are part of USA Freedom Corps, a White House initiative to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility, and to help all Americans answer the President’s Call to Service.

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