Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: April 3, 2013
STATE OF DELAWARE
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
DOVER (April 3, 2013) - She offers families fighting childhood cancer understanding of what they face and a glimpse of life afterward. He helps to keep the sounds of the past alive at Fort Delaware, while she leads writing workshops for younger students, and a group of high school chefs bakes more than 1,000 dozen cookies as a way to support Delaware's police officers.
These dedicated Delaware students will be among the 19 individuals and groups honored by Gov. Jack Markell at the Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards on April 25 at Dover Downs Hotel. More than 300 people are expected to join the governor in honoring the young volunteers for their outstanding service to Delaware's communities. The event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starting at 7. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at www.volunteerdelaware.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Each day, I see the dedication, commitment and passion that young people have for giving back in our state," Gov. Markell said. "The Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards is an opportunity to recognize a few of those young people for their inspiring service. When you see what they are doing to make our communities better places to live, you have no doubt that our future is in good hands."
The recipients are:
The 2013 award recipients participated in such diverse activities as organizing food and book drives, raising money for a local cat rescue, taking leadership roles in youth government and advocacy groups, and supporting arts groups, teens, veterans and children of military members. They are representative of Delaware's youth who are making a positive contribution to society and inspiring others to do the same.
The Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, Serve Delaware and the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.
DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, whose department oversees the State Office of Volunteerism, said the honorees are indicative of a growing ethic among young people to give back.
"These outstanding young people understand and embrace the value of service and community," Landgraf said. "They are a powerful example to other young people - and to adults as well - that helping others binds us together and enhances our very sense of community. We look forward to celebrating the energy, idealism and resourcefulness that these young people bring, wherever they serve."
In a nationwide survey, the Corporation for National and Community Service ranked Delaware No. 1 for the greatest percentage increase in volunteering from 2010 to 2011 - up 5.3 percentage points - to 26.6 percent. Delaware's volunteer rate for teens is almost 20 percent.
Nominees, 18 and younger, who were enrolled in an elementary, middle, high school or home school, at the time of their service, were eligible for the Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards. Volunteer efforts must have been performed during 2012.
When challenged to develop a meaningful senior project, Celine Cumming responded with "Capture for a Cause." Forty New Castle County politicians, business and civic leaders agreed to a voluntary kidnapping. In order to secure their release, friends and family were to drop off 15 pounds of non-perishables to the Appoquinimink Community Center. The response was overwhelming! Celine collected almost 2,000 pounds of food for those in need, far exceeding her initial goal of 500 pounds.
Emily Gripp started volunteering with the Brandywine Zoo in May of 2012 with the special events and family programs. Emily's volunteering has since expanded to other areas of the Zoo; researching and developing baby, toddler, and preschool programs in her free time. Additionally, she writes fact sheets about animals at the Zoo and volunteers for 90% of all available opportunities. Emily's love of animals extends to also volunteering at a no kill cat shelter and the Delaware Nature Society.
Nur Kose knows what it mean to give back. As the author of four books, Nur leads writing workshops for younger students, developed an online writing course, and maintains a daily blog. For the past several years, she has actively participated in projects to protect the communal environment, encourage literacy, and help those in need. As founding member of the Zakat Foundation's Green Team, Nur helped plan and maintain their adopted Food bank garden, providing more than 150 pounds of fresh produce for those in need.
For over five years, Zack Langrehr volunteers countless hours to share his love of the arts with others. From serving as the President of the Wilmington Drama League's Chrysalis Board to leading Concord High's choir, Zack is bringing happiness to others. He is also very involved in other arts organizations including, The Imagination Players, Summer Stock Theatre Program, and the Delaware Children's Theatre.
Community service is a way of life for Christine McNeil. Since starting with Success Won't Wait at the age of 5, Christine labeled tens of thousands of book, manned Book Drives, and helped to collect over 450,000 thousands books! Now 15, Christine now leads her own literacy projects. Her most recent project involved sending books to New Orleans schools, which are still desperately in need of books. By partnering with the DoSomething organization, she was able to collect and ship 155 boxes of books to benefit the Recovery School District in New Orleans.
Pearce Quesenberry was diagnosed with brain cancer in February 2008. 31 rounds of radiation later, Pearce is cancer free and making a difference through the Pearce Q. Foundation. Through her Foundation, she gives families fighting childhood cancer a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. This is all in addition to volunteering with the B+ Foundation, Urban Promise, being an Ambassador for Stand Up 2 Cancer, and maintains straight As in school.
For five years, Keenan Roarty has been an active member of the Youth in Government (YIG) program. Through his hard work and determination, Keenan led him to become the first Youth Chief Justice for Delaware's Youth in Government program. In addition to developing the judicial component for Youth in Government, Keenan also worked with three other delegates to provide a week long YIG camp for 25 3rd-5th graders.
For almost five years, Sierra Ryan Wallick has raised over $12,000.00 for Forgotten Cats, a local cat rescue. All the proceeds from the scarves, washcloths, cell phone cases, pocket purses, and shawls she knits and sells a local events goes towards Forgotten Cats. Out of this, Sierra also organized a group called AutumnLeaf Fundraisers, whose main mission is to encourage others to join her in creating items and donating the profits to Forgotten Cats. All of Sierra's efforts equate to over 2,000 hours of volunteer work and has benefited 4,450 cats in the tri-state area.
Eiontai Sampson's volunteerism began when he took a leadership role in forming William Penn's first ever Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Eiontai's advocacy and leadership has led to him becoming the Delaware GSA President and six new high schools have formed GSAs, bringing the total to 23 schools. He is also active in raising awareness through social media and events, which have raised over $4,000.00 in funding.
Devin Hopkins is a "lead" volunteer at the Food bank of Delaware in Milford. She assists in managing the operations of the volunteer program, oversees the After-School Nutrition Program, and works with the food sorting. Over the last several years, Devin has volunteered almost 1,000 hours through the Food Bank, Global Aid Network, Coastal Cleanup, and Calvary Wesleyan Church.
Through the use of costuming and performances with his fife, Donald Purdy brings the sights and sounds of Fort Delaware's past alive to all who visit. From May to September 2012, Donald volunteered more than 175 hours and participated in every aspect of the Fort. Despite the frequent 100+ degree heat, Donald was the first to jump in for many projects. From working as an intern drummer to leading marches, Donald helped to create and maintain a constant musical element.
Samantha Cotten is a junior of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 and a fixture at all their events. She is always eager to help at dinners, flu short clinics, and enjoys listening to veterans tell their stories. Samantha's biggest passion is the Poppy Program. During Poppy Month in 2012, Samantha helped raise funds, visited the VA Cemetery, distributed poppies, and was selected as "Little Miss Poppy" and presented at the National Convention.
Samantha Franklin came to the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity as a summer intern. She served as a receptionist and front office volunteer, welcoming and managing the flow of visitors. By August, Samantha represented Habitat at community outreach events, preformed data entry, and played a vital support role both in the office and on build sites. She is now a spokesperson for Habitat and the staff is looking forward for Samantha's return this summer.
For more than a decade, the Cooks and Bakers students at Delcastle High School preform community service at a variety of venues throughout New Castle County. This December, they took to the road for the 10th Annual Great gingerbread House Construction Tour. The tour made seven stops, reaching almost 1300 people and serving 600 volunteer hours. For their annual "Bake the Night Away" project, which supports the MADD program, they baked 1,016 DOZEN cookies for police officers throughout Delaware.
The twenty high school students in Hagley's Creek Kids program devote nine months to researching, planning, coordinating, and facilitating hands-on family programs for Hagley's visitors. Through this program, each and every Creek Kid grows into a stronger community leader. For each event, the Creek Kids spread the word though marketing initiatives, set up the event, train and lead the Junior Creek Kids, and facilitate the program for visitors. In total, the Creek Kids served 1,336 visitors with 44 different activities, serving almost 2,000 hours in 2012.
Positive Vision Youth is a youth driven organization which support, develop, and execute community oriented programs in local neighborhoods, such as Rosehill and Simonds Gardens. This program provides a positive outlet for the teens, all the while learning to become civically engaged and socially aware. Some of their projects include mentoring at the New Castle Boys and Girls Club, volunteering with the Blueprint Community-Simonds Gardens, and serving meals to New Castle's homeless population.
All of the 2500 people who attended Terrific Tuesdays at Winterthur Museum during the summer of 2012 were recipients of the Winterthur Teen Volunteer Group's hard work. These fifteen high school teens learned the scientific principles and artistic techniques used by art conservators everyday. This group will be further trained this summer as volunteer interpreters for the Introductory Tour of the Museum- the first such group of teen volunteers to be trained for this.
In 2011, Boy Scout Pack 182 reorganized with civic service as one of their major missions. In just that year, they logged 870 hours, a 1,000% increase from the previous year and 10,500 in 2012. The activities these outstanding young men participate in include food a drive, cleaning local parks, making handprints for Sandy Hook families, the list goes on and on. It is clear by their service to others these scouts truly embrace their motto, "doing as I do, not just as I say."
The Junior Volunteer Corps (JVC) is a youth component of Camp Colwell, a weeklong camp for Delaware National Guard family members ages 9-16. All JVCs have a military connection and many attended as campers during previous years. They become role models for the campers and look toward the older Volunteer Corps themselves for leadership. These youth are committed to serving and working with other youth because they know what they are going through and are able to help their "buddies" prepare for deployments and all that goes with having a parent in the Guard.
For more information about the awards, go to www.volunteerdelaware.org. To get contact information for the honorees or other information, contact Carrie Hart, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.