Governor McDonnell Announces 2012 Volunteerism and Community Service Award Recipients
May 10, 2012
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell has announced winners of the 2012 Volunteerism and Community Services Awards. These awards recognize individuals and organizations for their extraordinary volunteer efforts, which contribute to the life and welfare of citizens, throughout the Commonwealth.
“This year’s recipients reflect the tremendous difference individuals, families, businesses and non-profits can make in their communities through volunteerism,” said Governor McDonnell. “Each honoree’s contribution began with one word, ‘yes,’ and as we recognize their vision and accomplishments, we encourage all Virginians to follow their examples by engaging in their communities.”
Honorees were recognized on May 4, during an awards ceremony at SunTrust Bank, located downtown Richmond.
“Volunteerism strengthens outcomes for individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth,” said Martin D. Brown, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). “We’re honored to thank these award recipients for empowering those in need to live safer, more fulfilling lives.”
The award ceremony is sponsored by MeadWestvaco in partnership with VDSS’ Office on Volunteerism and Community Service, and the Governor’s Advisory Board on Volunteerism and National Service.
Winners of the 2012 Volunteerism and Community Services Award are:
· Genworth Financial in Richmond is the recipient of the Outstanding Business Award. Recognized for their creativity and resourcefulness in support of a community need through their donation of 372 rooms of furnishings from a distressed hotel property they acquired to the CARITAS Furniture Bank. This donation will furnish more than 450 at-risk households transitioning out of homelessness and on to the path of restored, stable, and more productive lives.
· The Volunteer Money Management Program at Senior Connections, a Richmond 501(c) 3 organization, is the recipient of the Outstanding Community Organization Award. Annually, the Volunteer Money Management Program (VMMP) provides one-on-one bill pay and financial management services at no cost for almost 60 seniors aged 60 and above. The VMMP volunteers show great courage by entering clients’ homes, doing their best to help the client keep finances straight, and build solid financial solvency while respecting client autonomy. Since 1993, VMMP volunteers contributed almost 26,000 hours of service to seniors in the Richmond area, much of which was provided in clients’ homes.
· The Campus Kitchen at the College of William and Mary is the recipient of the Outstanding Educational Institution Award. The Campus Kitchen at The College of William and Mary (CKWM), a student run organization, uses existing food resources in the Williamsburg area to address the hunger and nutritional needs of individuals in the community. Over 150 students volunteer each academic year, making Campus Kitchen one of the most popular student volunteer opportunities.
· Richmond Outreach Center, Inc. is the recipient of the Outstanding Faith-Based Volunteer Service Award.When it comes to helping impoverished families in the Central Virginia region, the Richmond Outreach Center (The ROC) is a household name. With a staff of over 150 and a congregation of over 2,000, this non-traditional, boundary-breaking church led and inspired by founder and Pastor Geronimo Aguilar, has mobilized enough volunteers to serve more than 11, 000 people a week. These efforts are done through the emergency and human service ministries, dedicated to helping the most at-risk citizens. The ROC’s motto “Changing Lives and Making Life-Changers” is being fulfilled every day. The ROC’s uniquely effective community service model has been replicated by other nonprofits up and down the East Coast, and as far away as Costa Rica.
· Kathleen “Khaki” and Stacey LaRivere of Chesterfield are this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Family Award. These identical twins share an identical goal: to open up leadership training and opportunities to all public high school students in the Commonwealth. Their vision is backed by a deep belief that young people should have fair and equal access to leadership learning and civic engagement regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, skin tone, religious credo, physical ability, academic performance, age, or grade in school. In 2008, at the age of 15, Khaki and Stacey founded L.E.A.D Up! (Leadership, Education, Action and Development Up!), a youth leadership certificate program they developed. Today, six Chesterfield County Public high schools have L.E.A.D. Up! Programs and other schools are organizing chapters.
· Heidi W. Abbott, of Richmond is the recipient of the Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award. Heidi was nominated because of her work with another Governor’s Award winner, Richmond Outreach Center (The ROC), which among other things, aids young people at George Wythe High School and in the Creighton Court public housing community in Richmond. She also serves on the state Board for Juvenile Justice. The horrific murder of a family in her neighborhood several years ago provoked her to assess her role in finding a solution to violence in the Richmond community. While the crime could have led many to work for harsher criminal penalties, Heidi saw it as an opportunity to work for and with young people to help them choose productive paths over destructive ones.
· Dr. Edward “Ted” Ruhnke, Jr. of Petersburg is the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award. In 1991, recognizing the need for safe and decent housing in the Petersburg area, Dr. Ted Ruhnke and a small group of individuals, established a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in South Central Virginia (Tri-Cities Habitat for Humanity). In the early years when volunteers were few and far between, Ted not only worked to create the affiliate within Habitat guidelines, but also met with city and county officials to obtain land and permits, increased community awareness and support, worked with family selection by guiding the first several families throughout the application and compliance process, and ran the actual construction sites. He also coordinated volunteers on-site and arranged for lunches to be provided either by other volunteers or from his own pocket and made as many trips to the building supply stores as he did to the hospital (at that time, he was a full-time OB-GYN physician). At the “Habitation” of the first house, when the keys were given to the new homeowner, Ted said, “The thrill of delivering an affordable home to a deserving family is as gratifying as delivering babies!”
· Katherine “Katie” R. Goodman of Ashland is the recipient of the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award. For a twelve-year-old, Katie Goodman has been described as a “little dynamo.” Despite the fact that she was only ten-years-old when she started her mission, she is doing more to feed the hungry than many adults. After seeing television commercials about hunger and its consequences, Katie was inspired to take action as part of her requirements for a public speaking contest for her 4-H club. Her research led her to local service organizations and a connection with the Central Virginia Food Bank; she set a goal to feed 1,100 hungry people. When the Ashland Farmer’s Market began its 2011 season, she asked producers to drop off their surplus at the Ashland Feed and Seed store so that she could deliver it to the Central Virginia Food Bank. She met her goal of feeding 1,100 people in just six months and then surpassed her new goal of serving “2011 people in 2011” just two months later. Despite her young age, Katie is motivated to serve and make a difference for others.
The Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards are presented by the Governor's Advisory Board on Volunteerism and National Service and VDSS’ Office on Volunteerism and Community Service on behalf of the Office of the Governor. These awards have recognized exceptional volunteer service in Virginia for close to 20 years. Additional information about the program and this year’s recipients can be found online athttp://www.vaservice.org/go/volunteer/gov_award.