AUGUSTA, Maine — First Lady Ann LePage presided over the 28th annual presentation of the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism. The six category winners have had an impact in communities from Orono to South Portland.
The Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteer are presented each year as a celebration of citizen volunteer action. This award program focuses attention on businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals whose service is considered a model for others to emulate. The winners are selected because their efforts and leadership have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.
Clarence Smith of South Portland received the Volunteer of the Year for the service he provides to patients and their families through Beacon Hospice. He provides a listening heart, a compassionate presence, and a winning smile to support people at the end of their lives and helps comfort their families. As a veteran himself, Clarence has embraced the “We Honor Vets” program. He participates in “pinning” ceremonies to honor veterans and goes an extra step by researching individual veteran’s unit insignias. Clarence also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and Veterans for Peace.
Tyler Cross of Brooks received the Youth Volunteer of the Year for the leadership role he has at The Game Loft. As a teen mentor, he has led many young people on quests through fantasy worlds, inspiring them to use their imaginations while simultaneously fostering development of positive social skills like cooperation, collaboration, communication and decision making. As a member of the Youth Board of Directors, Tyler represents youth voice in the administration of The Game Loft, making decisions about programming, fundraising, and membership. He also volunteers as a member of the Snow Shovel Brigade, digging out the houses of elderly community members after snowstorms.
Becca Stabler of Portland received the Outstanding National Service Volunteer Award for her service at Portland Housing Authority’s Riverton Park Study Center as an AmeriCorps member for the Multilingual Leadership Corps, a program of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. She trains and supervises 26 volunteers serving in the study center program. The volunteers provide academic support and mentoring to the youth of Riverton Park. Becca has also volunteered to coordinate the summer lunch program at Riverton Park
Lisa Morin of Orono received the Excellence in Volunteer Administration for her work as the Coordinator of the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism at the University of Maine.
Under her leadership several successful programs have been launched: Welcome Weekend Day of Service, Gobblefest, and Black Bears Leader Program. These multi-faceted programs take on challenges presented by the community and incorporate thoughtful reflections to help students understand how their service impacts themselves as well as the community.
Gardiner Federal Credit Union received the Small Business Volunteerism Award for commitment to supporting its local community not only with monetary and food contributions, but also the skills of its employees. Through the “Kirby Kangaroo” program, kindergarten and first graders learn why it is important to save money and practice money skills. GFCU and Laura Richards School have partnered to establish savings accounts for students.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gardiner received the Outstanding Non-Profit Volunteer Program Award for its Keystone Club which fosters positive peer interactions, encourages good citizenship and gives youth a voice. Keystone Club members participate in at least one major volunteer effort and one fundraiser activity each month. Last summer, Keystone Club worked with the City of Gardiner to identify the walkability of the city and reported the findings of their eight week project to the City Council.
Exemplary Service Award was presented to Ella Friend of Industry.
Also at the ceremony, the names of 511 individuals that were inducted to the Volunteer Roll of Honor were on display. During the past year, each of these individuals contributed 500 hours or more to programs scattered from Caribou to Farmington to York. The 2014 Volunteer Roll of Honor list may be viewed at www.VolunteerMaine.org.
The Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism were established in 1986. The presentation ceremony is held at the Capitol each year during National Volunteer Week in April. The award program is managed for the Governor’s Office by the Maine Commission for Community Service.
The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine’s volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy. For more information about the Maine Commission for Community Service, visitwww.maineservicecommission.gov.