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About Senior Corps 
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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.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, August 06, 2005

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

   

National Service Agency Honors Outstanding Volunteers With Spirit of Service Awards

 

(Washington, D.C.) — The Corporation for National and Community Service today honored 13 outstanding national service participants from across the country at the 2005 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Each honoree received a Spirit of Service award in recognition of their outstanding service and contributions to their communities.

“These individuals have gone above and beyond the call to serve their nation,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation, a co-sponsor of the annual conference along with the Points of Light Foundation. “Not only do they give their own time and talents, but they serve to mobilize others in their communities to volunteer.”

Eisner added, “As a federal agency, we take great pride in our vital role in supporting America’s voluntary sector. Our programs, with the help of individuals like our Spirit of Service Award winners, work hand in glove with the volunteer world to deepen the ability of the more than 64 million Americans who volunteer each year to make a real difference in their communities.”

The awards were part of the closing ceremony of the three-day national conference, which brought together 2,500 leaders of volunteer and national service sectors

The Spirit of Service award winners take on widely varied and difficult tasks. For example:

  • Helen Karr, of San Mateo County, California, was 64 when she graduated from law school and began her campaign to prevent the financial abuse of seniors.
  • AmeriCorps*NCCC member Janessa Pierce, of Stockton, Illinois, repaired roofs on residences in Florida after Hurricanes Charlie and Ivan, helping hundreds of families move back into their homes.
  • Aaron Barr, as a college student at Virginia Tech, led his fellow students and faculty in creating a renewable energy system for a nearby summer camp for homeless children and their families.

Participants from each of the Corporation’s three programs—Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America—were honored along with UPS, which yesterday received the first-ever Corporate Spirit of Service award for its outstanding support of national service and volunteering.

Senior Corps

Ruth Harris – Senior Companion Program, Denver, CO

A professional singer for nearly four decades, Ruth Harris discovered the Senior Companion program after she lost her voice and needed something else to do. At 83, she volunteers a minimum of 20 hours a week, providing encouragement and support to families facing the death of a loved one. During the past 12 years, Harris has tended to the needs of 1,100 elderly individuals.

Click here to read more.

   
Willie Jenkins – Catholic Social Services of Oakland County, Pontiac, MI

For the past 12 years, Willie Jenkins has been volunteering five days a week as a mentor and role model at Children’s Village, a juvenile detention facility in Pontiac. Upon her arrival as a Foster Grandparent, Jenkins soon realized that the young women at the Village had an untapped desire to learn new skills and that by teaching them life skills she possibly could restore their self-esteem. A former caterer, she worked with them to start the “Believe in Yourself Café.” The cafe reinforces skills in cooking, reading, sewing, and cooperating with others.

Click here to read more.

   
Robert Springer – RSVP, Saddlebrook, AZ

Before retiring, Dr. Robert Springer had a long career conducting research and development for the corporate sector. But before that career, Springer had a less-than-stellar high school experience similar to the experiences of the students he works with today as an RSVP volunteer in Arizona. Today, Springer is the engine behind what has now become a statewide volunteer model to raise the math and science scores of high school students on the state’s standards test.

Click here to read more.

   
McKenzie “Kenzie” Brannon – RSVP, Durham, NC

When McKenzie Brannon retired in January 2001, his wife feared he’d drive her crazy at home. He had no real hobbies or pastimes. But, he knew he was going to get busy, and busy he has been as an RSVP volunteer. Every week, Brannon provides one-on-one help to beginning readers at a nearby elementary school, makes deliveries to his Meals and Wheels clients, volunteers at Habitat for Humanity with a group of male retirees who call themselves “The Geezers,” and spends time as a companion and friend to two mental health patients.

Click here to read more.

   
Helen Karr – San Mateo County RSVP, CA

Helen Karr had been in the business world for 25 years when she learned about the issue of elder abuse. She was particularly concerned about elderly women being taken advantage of financially. So after graduating from law school on her 64th birthday, she began volunteering with the San Mateo Council on Aging and the local RSVP program. As a volunteer attorney, Karr has also helped the San Francisco District Attorney’s office develop its Victim Services Elder Senior Volunteer Program, distributed more than 1 million booklets on the issue, and given presentations to countless groups ranging from professional associations to senior centers.

Click here to read more.

AmeriCorps

Ji Su Yun – Greater Philadelphia Cares, PA

Ji Su Yun returned home after graduating from Brandeis University with one primary purpose: to make a difference. An AmeriCorps position at Greater Philadelphia Cares offered both a natural way for her to give back and to mobilize others to contribute to her home town. During her year of service, Ji Su created, filled, and managed more than 100 volunteer projects addressing critical social educational and environmental needs of North and Northeast Philadelphia.

Click here to read more.

   
Janessa Pierce – AmeriCorps*NCCC, Stockton, IL

As a first year AmeriCorps*NCCC member at the Perry Point, MD, campus, Janessa Pierce was selected to lead a team of wildland firefighters. Shortly after her firefighting service ended, Hurricanes Ivan and Charlie began battering Florida. Pierce volunteered to lead a team in disaster relief efforts. The need was so intense in Florida that Pierce extended her commitment in Florida from three weeks to two months and persuaded her teammates to do so, too. In total, the team installed temporary roofs for 412 families during their service in Florida.

Click here to read more.

   
Curt McDermott – St. Vrain Habitat for Humanity, CO

As an AmeriCorps*VISTA member with Habitat for Humanity, Curt McDermott has helped the St. Vrain affiliate raise more than $600,000 from individual donors, recruit a variety of local faith-based partners, and develop three high school chapters of Habitat to increase youth involvement. McDermott also serves as a volunteer teacher with Project YES, a local mentoring program, and helps coordinate youth involvement in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Click here to read more.

   
Tracie Thacker – Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, WI

The Boys and Girls Club’s Job Ready program for local teenagers was the perfect fit for AmeriCorps*VISTA member Tracie Thacker. Thacker used her background in retail merchandising to help revive a floundering youth-run business venture at the club. In four months, she worked with youth, staff, and community volunteers to develop a name and logo, a marketing plan, and an accounting system for the shop. Thanks to these changes, the once fledgling initiative has generated more than $10,000 in sales in 2005.

Click here to read more.

   
Ivan Mason – U.S. VETS, Los Angeles, CA

A U.S. Army veteran, Ivan Mason spent 15 years homeless or in prison before entering a residential treatment and employment program in Los Angeles run by U.S. VETS. After successfully completing the program, Mason became a U.S. VETS AmeriCorps member, where he flourished as an outreach coordinator, reaching out and helping more than 300 homeless veterans. Mason used his AmeriCorps Education Award to finish his bachelor’s degree and is now working on his master’s degree in public administration. Today, Mason is the Director of U.S. VETS’ Riverside facilities, where he manages a base closure property and directs a team of AmeriCorps members to provide services to 120 formerly homeless veterans each day.

Click here to read more.

Learn and Serve America

Aaron Barr – Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

As a student, recent Virginia Tech graduate Aaron Barr helped found the largest student environmental group on campus. His coalition of more than 800 students helped implement a volunteer-driven paper recycling program. More than 20 academic buildings and hundreds of offices recycle paper weekly now with the help of the program’s 25 student volunteers. Working with the engineering department, Barr recruited students and faculty to help build a renewable energy system for Scottie’s Place, a wilderness camp for homeless children nestled in the mountains of West Virginia.

Click here to read more.

   
Tina Cross – Carver High School, Columbus, GA

When Tina Cross arrived as a science teacher at Carver High School in 1996, some students participated in volunteer work, but very few of the volunteer projects correlated that service with what the students were learning in the classroom. Additionally, students, parents, and teachers felt that academic performance should be higher. Cross believed that introducing service-learning in the school could help—and it has. The first project Cross initiated was a study of the Chattahoochee River that engaged the entire school. Students worked together to create a thorough, scientific study that made the community and local officials aware of the problems that the city was facing from pollution originating in Atlanta.

Click here to read more.

   
The ManaTEEN Club – Manatee County, Florida

In 1994, Laura and Kate Lockwood were bored teenagers looking for a creative outlet in their community of Bradenton, Florida. Daughters of an active volunteer, the two sisters recruited 20 of their friends and created ManaTEENs, a countywide club for teens interested in volunteering. Initially, the group couldn’t find many organizations willing to see the value in youth volunteers, so they created their own projects, a trademark of the program today. However, ManaTEENS soon gained the respect of area charities and began working with them to create volunteer opportunities that fully tap the energies and talents of young people. Today, more than 11,000 active ManaTEENs not only assist 572 local agencies with volunteer needs, but create, implement, evaluate, sustain, and replicate 92 signature service programs.

Click here to read more.

Corporate

UPS

UPS has been a committed supporter and advocate for national and community service. As a funder and convener, UPS has helped professionalize the field of service and volunteering while deepening the understanding of the volunteer sector’s growth potential through research and innovative demonstrations. At the heart of UPS’s philanthropic outreach is the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. Through this program, more than 30,000 UPS employees organize food drives, work in soup kitchens, mentor troubled youth, and help to improve impoverished communities across the country.

Click here to read the press release.

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. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information for http://www.nationalservice.gov.

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