13 Young People, 4 Emerging Leaders, 2 Groups to Be Honored with Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award

NEW CASTLE (April 25, 2022) – Governor John Carney will present the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards to 13 young people, four emerging leaders and two groups during a May 17 ceremony to recognize their service to Delaware.

“I am honored to celebrate the young people across our state who continue to serve our communities and neighbors in need,” Governor Carney said. “The need for volunteers has never been greater, and I’m grateful to see the willingness of our young volunteers to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The Governor will be joined by at least 175 people at the Del-One Conference Center at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover to honor the young volunteers. The ceremony begins with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the official ceremony at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 each and are available for purchase at: eventbrite.com https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2022-governors-youth-volunteer-service-awards-tickets-322584879057

“I am inspired by the energy of Delaware’s young volunteers,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik. “Their dedication to volunteering and helping others in need, especially as we navigate the new and ever-changing challenges that surround us, is impressive.”

The 2022 award recipients participated in activities such as raising funds for local nonprofits, helping fellow classmates prepare for college, donating PPE during the pandemic, sending cards of inspiration to seniors and first responders, caring for animals, cleaning up the environment and advocating for vulnerable populations including people who are experiencing homelessness, veterans and children.

The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards, administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, honor the contributions of individuals and groups in Delaware that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through service and volunteering. The awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of State Service Centers, State Office of Volunteerism, and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

For more information about the awards or volunteer opportunities, go to volunteer.delaware.gov, or contact Tina Gary, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at 302-857-5014 or via email tina.gary@delaware.gov.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards:

Logan Scott
Sussex County
Logan Attends Delmar High School and volunteers at the Shepherd’s Office serving those experiencing homelessness, hunger, or loneliness in Georgetown DE. She volunteers by serving meals, serving thanksgiving dinner and passing out gifts during the holiday season. Logan has served approximately 3,000 meals in 2021. Logan has a caring card ministry where she makes homemade cards for the residents at Delmar Nursing home. Last year, during the Pandemic, she distributed cards to remind the residents that they have not been forgotten. Although she could not visit the people receiving her cards, she received word from Delmar Nursing Home that the residents were excited to receive cards. Logan inspires other youth in her community to engage in volunteerism.

Abhinav Parmar
New Castle County
Abhinav attends Charter School of Wilmington and is a vital part of Charity Crossing. Abhinav volunteers on the Charity Crossing digital communications and Newsletter Team. He has participated in the No One Hungry Drive – Socks Drive where socks and winter clothing are donated to members of our community who are in need. He is the lead on Charity Crossing Care Package Team, the lead on School Supplies Drive, Co-Lead on the Charity Crossing Awards Project which is a huge event hosted to recognize every Charity Crossing Volunteer Service, and assists Claymont Community Center and Carousel Park in Wilmington. Abhinav is a member of the South Asian Student Union that allows him to connect and bond with fellow peers.

Sahil Langote
New Castle County
Sahil is a proud volunteer of Charity Crossing. His primary volunteer service is in Rose Hill Community Center and has been an integral part of Charity Crossings efforts since the beginning of the pandemic. He organized the distribution and acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment to community members who otherwise would not have had the essential supplies. One thousand of the masks that were distributed, Sahil stitched himself. He participated in vaccine clinics organized by Rite Aid and CareForce MD, co-led socks drive in New Castle County libraries, and volunteered at a dental clinic assisting with setups and clerical work. He attends Charter School of Wilmington and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. He volunteers in the Hispanic communities and at the Hispanic festival. Sahil is a positive role model for those in his peer group.

McKenna Smarte
Sussex County
McKenna is homeschooled and volunteers at Little Bit Acres and Courageous Hearts. McKenna provides full care for 9 horses who are incorporated into Equine Assisted Psychotherapy which is a grounded activity that incorporates horses into mental health treatment. Care includes feeding, watering, exercising, bathing the horses as well as cleaning all stalls, sweeping, cleaning barns and common areas. McKenna has been an integral part of the team and provides horse and barn care 2-3 evenings per week and as needed. Some herds have had previous traumatic experiences and she works with them by brushing and providing unique opportunities that help the horses feel comfortable in human situations. Angel, one of the horses was in extreme pain and did not want to be touched. Mckenna took the time to create fun interactive activities such as teaching her to come to a whistle, walk over poles, walk around the property, brushing and bathing her which assisted the horse in returning to interacting with humans. She is extremely helpful, hardworking, and has a thirst for knowledge, especially about horses.

Parker Cuff
New Castle County
Parker attends Odyssey Charter School and is a top fundraiser for the American Heart Association (AHA) Jump Rope Heart Campaign, also known as Kids with Heart Challenge. She works directly with American Heart Association outside of school creating video advertisements for Kids Heart Challenge. She is a member of the Leos Club, where she has cooked for the homeless and participated in clothing, shoe, book, and food drives. Parker also spent time performing community service as a member of the Girls with Pearls organization. There she participated in a book drive, cancer walk, and helped to feed families during Thanksgiving. As a member of the Planet Youth Coalition, Parker has created public service advertisements to help make youth aware of the dangers of doing drugs and to destigmatize those who suffer with the disease of addiction.

Kirti Daga
New Castle County
Kirti is an outstanding example for her peers contributing to a long and dynamic list of initiatives, in addition, to keeping high academic grades and hobbies. Kirti volunteers at Charity Crossing donating foods for needy families in addition to part-time tutor for children grades K-12 in math and reading at Kumon Incorporated. Her list of initiatives includes a Member of “Multiplying Good Council” a service-based organization helping fundraise over $1,500.00 individually for the “BE Positive” (B+) organization that annually contributes nearly six figures dedicated to research in childhood cancer, Secretary for “Apply Day Delaware”, a global youth-run initiative that fights to increase global health literacy, National Honor Society Member at Charter School of Wilmington, Vice President of UNICEF at Charter School of Wilmington, and President of Student Leadership Initiative Program.

Madison Gregory
Kent County
Madison attends Polytech High School where she is active in the Polytech Pride Community All-stars community service group. During the Pandemic Madison felt a need to inform our First Responders and Nursing Home residents that they were not forgotten and appreciated. Hundreds of cards were distributed to local healthcare facilities, senior living centers, and first responders. Writing these messages helped Madison feel happy and connected during difficult times. Recipients were excited to receive these messages. Madison participates in the Sleeping Mat Project where plastic bags are put to good use and help those in the community experiencing homelessness. “Plarn” is the “yarn’, also called plastic yarn used to knit or crochet plastic sleeping mats. Plarn is constructed from the plastic bags and used as yarn in knitting or crocheting. Madison has cut over 2,000 bags that were made into Plarn and donated to the Sleeping Mat project. Her contributions have allowed those experiencing homelessness to receive a mat to sleep on.

Bryana Melody Harris
Sussex County
Bryana is a 6-year-old volunteer who is making an impact in the town of Bridgeville. Last year she turned her giving heart into a movement and created Bryana’s Donation House. Bryana’s Donation House collects donations from individuals and organizations, the donations are given to those experiencing homelessness and underserved population in Bridgeville. This fall Bryana noticed the uptick in COVID19 cases and sprang into action and purchased PPE items to donate to a local senior citizen complex. Bryana modeled her volunteerism after her parents and constantly assists her mother helping with the nonprofit, Cornerstone Community Center. She assists with giving out bookbags filled with school supplies for underprivileged students. In December 2020 Bryana was inducted as a Pearlette, a youth club of Zeta Beta Sorority Inc.

Samreen Ahmed
New Castle County
Since elementary school and now attending Odyssey Charter School, Samreen has been involved with Zakat Foundation of America genuinely putting her heart and soul in service projects. One of the projects that stands out is the Cupcake Wars organized for the past 2 years. She engaged thirteen teams to compete in 3 rounds of baking and decorating cupcakes and sold the products that raised money to purchase sporting equipment for kids in underserved communities. Samreen spends her free time when out of school, and the summer helping teachers at Islamic Academy of Delaware. She helps students needing extra help with academic work. She also participates in various projects including Cards for Compassion project to make thousands of cards for the elderly during the pandemic, the Hygiene Kit Drive for the homeless, and collecting coloring books and card games for 100 kids at the Nemours Children’s Hospital.

Aratrika Ghosh
New Castle County
Aratrika attends Appoquinimink High School. She is a natural leader who volunteers with Charity Crossing giving back to the community and building relationships. Aratrika finds the experience and the intrinsic value exciting and cannot find this anywhere else. She feels every time she creates flyers, package items or leads the experience is what makes volunteering worth it. She always feels as though every time she creates, organizes, or leads we inspire others to do the same. Aratrika made multi-faced contributions including collecting 2,128 winter donations for the less fortunate people in Delaware, Youth Leader for Delmarva Blood Donation Drive (social media campaign), sorted for the Amphan Relief Drive, Recipient of the “Hero Help” Award from New Castle County Police which executed activities that impacted over 100 people, Digital Design Team Member, Newsletter Designer, and led sanitizer drives impacting our communities.

Alexis Hagaman
Sussex County
Alexis attends Delmar Middle & Senior High School. She is involved in many community service opportunities which include Member of Project Sparkle On, Inc, numerous fundraising bake sales, working with activities in rock painting, Dear Solider card writing, stuffing over 500 Christmas stockings for seniors in care, shopping for seniors’ gifts from Good Ole Boys Foundation, and delivered cards to several nursing homes on Valentine’s Day. She strives to make a difference and makes a goal to complete more than accomplished. Alexis also volunteers with Reading Angles, Cross Christian Academy in Seaford, and participates in numerous Delmar events including league cleanup day, and the 100th Anniversary of the Fire Department parade. She was also crowned Delmarva’s Junior Teen Miss Delmar in September 2021.

Nithila Chrisostam
New Castle County
Nithila attends Appoquinimink High School. Nithila is primary responsible for facilitating projects related to Charity Crossing’s digital communications including flyers, social media management, monthly newsletters, logo/sticker designs, and creative processes that need to be made for the organization’s brands and initiatives. She started a digital communications team at Charity Crossing in May 2021 that was composed of various high school students that facilitated projects including video creation and flier designs. Through this initiative, she can provide many new and creative opportunities for students to problem solve, collaborate, and develop meaningful work and leadership skills. Nithila is on the National Honor Society for 2 years, elected historian for digital media creation, and National Art Honor Society for 3 years while tutoring children.

Sydney Ruark
Sussex County
Sydney volunteers at the Cross Christian Academy, to tutor younger children in the summer program. Sydney’s service provided children with a better understanding of their schoolwork. Sydney helps her teachers every day during the school year with grading papers, running errands, and cleaning the school She also volunteers with Project Sparkle On and her organization K.I.T.T.Y. She has created Valentine’s Day cards for nursing home residents, Christmas cards for Soldiers, donated boxes of food to local pantries, and donated books to local libraries and the organization H.E.Y.S.I.S. Lastly, Sydney volunteered with Promise Builders to work the meal prep line to feed those experiencing homelessness on Thanksgiving Day. She also does random acts of kindness such placing books in baggies along with a positive note and placing them around parks for children to take home.

Groups

Project Sparkle On, Inc.
Statewide (Kent, New Castle, Sussex)
The youth volunteers of Project Sparkle On, Inc serve throughout the State of Delaware. The volunteers adopted 8 nursing homes during Valentine’s Day to provide seniors in care with handmade cards and plushies; they held a Christmas Drive, “Sparkle of Hope,” which adopted 500 more seniors in care and provided them with a Christmas stocking stuffed with goodies. Moreover, the kids held their third annual “Dear Soldier Crusade” where they collected or made 1,500 Christmas cards, letters, drawings, and coloring pages for Soldiers fighting overseas during the holidays. Lastly, this group held two free community events, one in collaboration with the Laurel Public Library, and their second annual “Giving Back Rocks event.” The “Giving Back Rocks” Event was held on the 9/11 National Day of Service and encouraged/inspired 100+ community members to come out and participate in painting kindness rocks and writing “Dear Soldier cards.”

The Leo’s Club
New Castle County
The Leo’s Club is comprised of volunteers ages 12 to 17 who participate in various projects. This group assembled care bags for ill children including pediatric cancer patients being treated at Dupont Children’s Hospital. The bags included activity books filled with art, riddles, jokes, and stories created by the Leos. The club cooked meals for homeless men and women at Sojourner’s place; assisted the Bellevue Farms with moving soil, removing debris, planting and other Farm maintenance; sponsored a toy drive and handed out the toys directly to community members on Pine Street and Vandever Avenue. The Leo’s also collected, packaged, and distributed care packages of food and cleaning supplies for the Hurricane Ida victims. Moreover, the group sponsored a “Bundle Up Project” that consisted of them collecting and delivering over 200 pieces of warm clothing for the less fortunate. Lastly, they created a Public Service Announcement on goodwill, kindness, and drug prevention.

Leadership

Quadir Phillip
State Wide (Kent, New Castle, Sussex)
Quadir has volunteered to create an inclusive district-wide environment for Delaware schools. Quadir has been involved in a multitude of volunteer service projects including providing food and letters of appreciation to hospital staff during the Covid19 Pandemic, participating in the Black Student Union to amplify the voice of minority students state-wide, and he also served on the equity committee to promote equality and diversity amongst the students and staff at Caesar Rodney High School. Moreover, Quadir organized several events to benefit the local homeless community and students throughout the district, as well as supply drives for Code Purple and the school nurse’s office to help provide basic necessities for students who cannot afford them.

Puiyee Kong
Kent & New Castle County
Puiyee volunteers teaching her own self-developed coding curriculum to elementary and middle-school students in a self-created program called CodeClub. She reached out to the Dover Public Library to inquire about teaching her own coding classes and has since taught two different 17-week sessions over the course of 2020-2022. Her initial CodeClub session was so successful that the library invited her back to teach a second, more advanced session. Her volunteer service included research on websites, developing teaching materials and resources, planning interactive activities for the students and creating engaging presentations whilst teaching the class herself. Puiyee recognized a need in her community and spearheaded her own program to meet that need.

Anaum Allimulla
New Castle County
Anaum is involved with various community service projects with the Zakat Foundation of America as well as Newark Charter School. Anaum demonstrates leadership by organizing many ice skating and sports fundraisers for different causes. She led a campaign with another student to raise $6,000 for cancer research that could impact the wellbeing and health of the community at large. Anaum led the Zakat Foundation Food Distribution Project every month for the entire year where one hundred homeless individuals in Wilmington benefitted each time. She also established Future Law Professionals club for aspiring attorneys at her school where she organized and coordinated various activities. Additionally, she found another club called Speech and Debate team where she mentored and guided the students through their debate competitions with one-on-one feedback lessons for different techniques and strategies.

Bryanna Baker
New Castle County
Bryana assisted in carrying out several service projects for Prayer & Praise Power Ministries. She has taken the initiative to coordinate services with several organizations such as the Food Bank of Delaware, The Delaware Dream Center, and Operation Warm. Due to Bryanna’s efforts, the food pantry at Prayer & Praise Power Ministries has drastically increased, from serving 50 families to over 100 families on a distribution day. In addition, Bryanna supports the Girls on the Run after-school program where she helps inspire young girls to recognize and embrace their inner strength. More recently, Bryanna began volunteering at the organization’s Daily Bread Dining Room, where she helps to prepare and serve meals to her local community.


Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards Virtual Ceremony Postponed

NEW CASTLE (Jan. 10, 2022) — Due to challenges presented by recent increases in COVID-19 cases across the state, the State Office of Volunteerism has made the difficult decision to postpone the Virtual Ceremony honoring the 48 individuals and 13 groups selected to receive the 2021 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award.

The ceremony will now air on Feb. 24, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed from either the Volunteer Delaware Facebook page or by visiting volunteer.delaware.gov. The ceremony had been originally scheduled for Jan. 17, 2022.

The Governors Outstanding Volunteer Award recipients will be recognized for their significant contributions, engagement and impact in diverse service activities. Comprehensive profiles of the recipients were shared in a press release on Dec. 22, 2021.

For more information, contact Suzanne Farris at (302) 381-3594 or Suzanne.Farris@Delaware.gov

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards, administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, honor individuals and groups in Delaware that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through diverse service and volunteering.

The awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.


48 Individuals and 13 Groups Will Receive Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards in Virtual Ceremony Jan. 17

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 22, 2021) Forty-eight individuals and 13 groups will be honored with the 2021 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award during a virtual ceremony to be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 17, 2022. The recipients will be recognized for significant contributions, engagement and impact in diverse service activities.

Throughout the month of December, staff members from the State Office of Volunteerism have been working with nominators to surprise honorees with the news of their selection. A “SurPRIZE Patrol” has delivered custom cakes and small gifts to honorees as they continue to serve their communities. The names of all recipients will be announced during a Facebook Live presentation on the Volunteer Delaware Facebook page at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23.

“I salute these worthy recipients and all those who volunteered their time and energy this year to help improve the health and well-being of their neighbors in need,” said Governor John Carney. “The coronavirus pandemic has brought special challenges for many of our residents in 2021, which is why I am doubly grateful for the generosity and selfless commitment of these volunteers.”

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards, administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, honors the contributions of individuals and groups in Delaware that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through service and volunteering.

“We are honored to be able to celebrate the exceptional service of so many deserving Delawareans,” said Kanani H. Munford, Senior Administrator for the State Office of Volunteerism and the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. “With a combined total of nearly 200,000 hours of service in 2021, and representing an economic impact of over $5.6 million, these individuals and groups represent the largest and one of the most diverse groups of honorees we have ever had the privilege to recognize in a single year.”

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

The recipients of the 2020 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award are:

Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles Michel (Sussex County)
• Charles Michel volunteers his time with numerous causes, but his primary focus is related to veterans. Charles has served with the Seaford American Legion for more than 20 years. He has been a post commander and a district commander, organized the annual Memorial Day service, oversees a medical supply lending closet and most recently became the state chair for the annual Boy’s State program. The part of his service that means the most to him though, is when he volunteers to play taps for veteran funerals. A veteran himself, Charles has dedicated his life to making sure that other veterans get the services and support they need.

Volunteer Leadership

Christina Haynes (Sussex County)
• Christina channeled the grief from the loss of her son into the creation of the 4Troy Foundation, which was established in January 2020 to bring awareness to RMC (Renal Medullary Carcinoma), to assist families that are navigating their fight with RMC for treatment, as well as housing. And also building a youth mentoring program to help student athletes throughout Sussex County with their academic work, athletic training, scholarship writing, college application completions and life skills building.

Vic Parker (New Castle County)
• ⁠Vic Parker is one of American Red Cross’ Leadership Volunteers for the Delmarva Chapter and has traveled in support of the organization’s humanitarian efforts in response to disasters. Vic is a national leader in sheltering and has had several occasions where she was requested to manage large shelters for high-impact disasters. Vic has served as a Disaster Action Team runner where she delivers Client Assistance Materials during the pandemic, a position held by only a few to keep minimal staff in the field when able. This past year, Vic organized a large blood drive and continually steps up to make sure that individuals affected by disasters get the help they need as soon as possible.

Carol Lucas (Kent County)
• Carol is a Lead Canteen volunteer and manages volunteer schedules, training, communication, connections, and interaction at her local Blood Bank of Delmarva Center in Dover. The Blood Bank of Delmarva relies on Carol to keep the volunteers in the refreshment area trained, scheduled, and pleasant to keep the blood donors happy and wanting to return to give blood again.

Nikki Gonzalez (Sussex County)
• Nikki serves as an advocate for individuals experiencing homelessness in Sussex County. Answering hotline phone calls at all hours of the day and night, Nikki works to make sure that individuals experiencing homelessness have their needs met. She coordinates volunteers, meals, and needs for items like shoes, socks and camping gear, and she does it all with a passion for service that is admirable to everyone she meets. Beyond her work to battle homelessness, Nikki serves on the boards for several organizations working to advocate for and support people battling addiction.

Martin Brett (New Castle County)
• As Vice Chair for the DEVOAD (Delaware Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and Field Lead for our Hurricane Ida Flooding Response, Marty Brett worked closely with team leaders during volunteer work days to identify and structure the work to be done, as well as to guide the teams through any changes or decisions necessary in work to be performed. For three weeks, Marty was on scene every day to coordinate response activity for numerous organizations and his leadership enabled the VOAD to provide timely and effective services to the citizens of Wilmington in their time of need.

Elaine Mundy (Kent County)
• One of only two volunteers to return to the Hope Medical Dental Clinic after pandemic restrictions lifted, Elaine Mundy worked to eliminate the waiting list for treatment by creating a new and more efficient scheduling system. Because of Elaine, and for the first time since the addition of dental services to the clinic, no callers have been turned away due to the long waiting lists, and services specific to women are now being offered. Without Elaine’s leadership, the clinic simply could not help the number of people that it does.

Sarah Grady (Sussex County)
• As a dedicated volunteer with the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, Sarah Grady was asked to lead the dozens of volunteers who committed to assembling more than 22,000 art kits for students in Sussex County schools. In this role, Sarah coordinates the complex logistics of the intake of supplies in addition to developing and executing the timeline that the organization committed to for delivering the kits to local schools. Her leadership and dedication enabled this program to deliver vital arts enrichment supplies to thousands of local children.

Andrew Zampini (Sussex County)
• As the president of the Board of Directors for the Lewes Senior Activity Center, Andrew spearheaded the push for a new building and renovation of existing facilities for local seniors to gather and participate in social, recreational, educational, cultural and health-related programming, as well as accessing services and activities. The $1.8 million expansion of facilities was made possible, in large part, through Andrew’s leadership.

Don Connell (Sussex County)
• The Toy Project is an annual volunteer effort of the Mason/Dixon Woodworkers and is overseen by Don Connell. Each year, more than 1,000 toys are hand-made by volunteers to be distributed to children in need. Don spends countless hours each year making sure that volunteers can make the maximum impact through their handcrafted toys. Through his leadership, the program has grown and flourished, and we expect to be able to continue making toys for children for years to come.

Donna Murawski (Sussex County)
• In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Donna Murawski found a way to keep the Milton Community Food Pantry operating and set up the service for long-term success by identifying a building the pantry could purchase. Her unwavering support to keep the pantry open at personal sacrifice to her own family life has helped the family lives of countless others. Donna has made the battle against food insecurity in her area a personal priority and served more than 2,000 hours last year.

Jessica Gainer (Sussex County)
• Jessica Gainer is the Executive Director of Project SparkleOn (PSO), an outreach program for children in Sussex County. Under Jessica’s leadership, Project SparkleOn develops projects to involve youth in kindness and community service activities. Jessica teaches young people to make an impact, combat bullying, work with others and develop a positive self-image. Her goal is to make sure every young person feels capable of changing the world.

Paige Howell (Kent County)
• Paige Howell has a developmental disability and faces her own challenges by spreading kindness to others. She and her family take tough days and use them as inspiration to get up and do something for someone else. Through her initiative, Paige’s Kindness Project, Paige meets any need that she sees – from helping a single mom pay for her daughter’s music lessons, to delivering small gifts to first responders and community members. She drops off snacks and water each month to the local homeless shelter, decorated rocks for Milford police officers, prepared treat bags for seniors in her apartment complex, and has made more than 1,100 cards for others with disabilities who live in group homes across the state.

Lauren Berry (New Castle County)
• Serving as the Camp Volunteer Director for the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware, Lauren Berry has enabled hundreds of children to attend summer camp. Lauren is a leader with a strong background in working with children and brings knowledge through her experience as a special education teacher. Lauren is always willing to lend a hand, sets an example for other volunteers, and steps in to take leadership positions.

Individual Volunteer

Vivian Montana Goodman (Sussex County)
• Vivian supports multiple nonprofits in achieving their missions. She cooks meals for the Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown, raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association through a community dinner, and works with Lasagna Love to cook meals for anyone in need. Vivian also serves as a purchasing agent for a project that serves Delaware foster children, making sure that resources are stretched to provide pajamas and journals for children living in the foster care system.

Ed Scarborough (Sussex County)
• Ed Scarborough is a longtime volunteer who is always looking for a way to help. An avid volunteer throughout his life, Ed became an active volunteer with the American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region in 2016. There have been years when Ed is deployed to help victims of disaster across North America more days than he is at home. During his travels, you will always see Ed with his sidekick Eddie the Red Cross Teddie, and the pair bring smiles everywhere they go. When COVID-19 struck in the spring of 2020, Ed had to take a break from deploying, but he didn’t let the pandemic sideline him from helping. Ed began working to ensure that his neighbors had plenty to eat and made regular visits to the various food pantries to pick up food that he could deliver to those in need.

Joe Principe (New Castle County)
• Joe Principe is a volunteer with Autism Delaware who can be counted on to do anything and everything needed to support families, like his, who are living with the impact of an autism spectrum disorder. Joe works every event, offers his shop for storage, finds sponsors to provide pizza for parties and events, brings a large team to the walks and helps with the events surrounding the spring race at Dover International Speedway. Joe’s consistent support helps Autism Delaware continue to offer a large range of services to families in Delaware who are living with autism.

John Brady (Sussex County)
• John Brady has been serving as a part of the Boy Scouts of America since he was a child. Growing up with a scout leader father, John learned what it meant to live a life of service, and he has taken that lesson to heart. Other council volunteers have only wonderful things to say about John and his dedication to scouting. He goes to every scouting camp in the area, tries to be at every Court of Honor possible, and serves as a tremendous resource for scout leaders across the state. Because of his work, the scouting program grew in Sussex County to involve more youth and leaders while increasing financial support for scouting.

Shelli Smith
• In her time with CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) Delaware, Shelli Smith has accepted multiple challenging teen cases. As a CASA, Shelli works with young people who need a Court-Appointed Special Advocate. These situations are always challenging and require a dedicated individual who can build relationships and advocate for the young people involved. Her clients are spread across hundreds of miles, and some have required specialized care in out-of-state placements. Shelli manages to forge strong working relationships with everyone on the team that serves each of the young people, and her work has made a tremendous impact on the lives of each of her clients.

Dianne Shearon (Sussex County)
• Dianne Shearon’s thousands of hours served at the Community Resource Center of Rehoboth Beach have enabled its Food Rescue program to fight the growing problem of food insecurity. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, needs have increased dramatically in the community, and Dianne’s commitment to managing both the volunteer and donor side of the operation and the distribution. Plus, she makes sure that people’s needs are met as quickly as possible. Without her leadership, the resource center would not have been able to grow the way it has.

Babita Jagnanan (New Castle County)
• Babita Jagnanan donates clothing, household items and food to individuals, families and organizations in need in Delaware, through one-on-one distribution or via community giveaway events. The donations are largely through her family charity, Forget Me Not Families, or through partnerships. Through Babita’s service, she can help remove the stresses of acquiring needed basic belongings, personal care products, and food for those who are struggling. During the pandemic, she has volunteered at multiple vaccination clinics, helping to organize, directing traffic, even securing an RN to provide shots when there was a shortage. She also organizes holiday meals for the homeless and anyone else who might not have family as a resource for those uncertain times.

William “Chick” Glenden (Kent County)
• William “Chick” Glanden has been a volunteer EMT in Delaware for the past 30 years, continuing to provide coverage at least one night a week. Even while undergoing treatment for cancer and during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chick continued working to ensure that the Frederica Volunteer Fire Department’s ambulance was always available when there was a need. Chick also serves as a volunteer Mayor for the town of Frederica and oversaw the addition of a new park to the town.

Ellen Muenter (New Castle County)
• Ellen works to support several area nonprofits, including the Brandywine Zoo, the Natural History Museum and the Friends of the Wilmington Parks. Her fundraising efforts help support operations at all three organizations. Her contribution to the Friends of the Wilmington Parks has grown the volunteer program to ensure that the Jasper Crane Rose Garden is tended year-round and especially during the growing season. Working at the Brandywine Zoo, Ellen reads to children who are visiting, and at the Delaware Natural History Museum, Ellen feeds and cares for animals.

Stephanie Jaynes (New Castle County)
• As a volunteer with the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council for the past 15 years, Stephanie Jaynes has served in many ways, including as the leader of Troop 537 and as the cookie mom for many years. Her service has inspired and encouraged numerous young women, including those she has mentored through their Bronze, Silver and Gold Award projects. Stephanie also serves as a mentor to new troop leaders, helping them with program ideas, supplies/material, encouragement, and assistance with difficult situations.

Ennio Zaragoza (Kent County)
• Ennio Zaragoza spends thousands of hours each year working with Code Purple of Kent County. Through his work, Ennio has addressed food insecurity in the Dover area, helps those recovering from addiction, and supports individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Ennio also works with individuals who are exiting incarceration, helping with reentry and providing resources. Because of the dedication Ennio exhibits, Code Purple of Kent County has been able to expand its mission capacity to meet growing needs.

Pam Salaam (New Castle County)
• Pam Salaam is not a member of any organization, but goes out on her own to collect and prepare food to serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness in New Castle County. Pam visits parks throughout the county and meets with individuals to make sure that their needs for food and basic supplies are met, even using her own resources to purchase needed items. Her meals always include fruits, vegetables, meat and dessert, and are prepared and served fresh each day.

Mary Kendall (Sussex County)
• Mary Kendall is a devoted volunteer with the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation (JMFF). This past January, the JMFF embarked on an ambitious program to supply Creative Art Nourishment Kits for children in the Sussex County schools, as well as students who use the Food Bank of Delaware backpack program in Kent and Sussex counties. Mary registered herself to volunteer for every morning and afternoon shift offered. This was an 8-hour daily commitment for several weeks at a time. Mary also took it upon herself to gather hundreds of empty boxes from local stores so that kits could be assembled and packed in a timely manner. Mary was instrumental in making sure that the JMFF was able to deliver Creative Nourishment Kits to local school children.

Dianne Nichols (New Castle County)
• Dianne Nichols works with Literacy Delaware to help adults in Delaware with low literacy or English language skills. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as in-person sessions ceased and alternate methods had to be found, Dianne took the lead in finding online programs that would allow Literacy Delaware to continue delivering on its mission. Once a solution was found, Dianne conducted training workshops for volunteer tutors to help them learn how to use this important tool. Now, Dianne continues as the lead for the IXL program, tracking hours and scores for all those involved. Dianne is also spearheading a multi-part professional development project for tutors.

Richard Carver (New Castle County)
• Richard Carver’s knowledge of technology enabled him to facilitate Literacy Delaware’s transition to a virtual instruction model, allowing the adult English Language Learners to continue their studies even as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person classes. The monumental undertaking of pivoting the entire operation to online learning could not have occurred without the expertise of volunteer tutor and now “resident” IT guru Richard Carver. Rich conducted numerous workshops on how to use remote platforms and shared tutoring and remote teaching ideas to inform and engage tutors. He developed a tutor resource intranet. which contains links to helpful websites with resources for online teaching and continues to conduct mentoring sessions for new volunteers during tutor training, as well as offering one-on-one tech assistance whenever necessary.

Ruth Pryor (Sussex County)
• An avid volunteer, Ruth Pryor serves as a volunteer and as the Treasurer at the Cape Henlopen Food Basket, as a “shoe shopper” for Clothing Our Kids, as a community educator and facilitator for an Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Group, and sings in the St. Edmund Catholic Church choir. In addition to all of these service activities, Ruth serves on the Board for Lunch with a Purpose. Her work has helped to ease the impact of food insecurity, helps those struggling with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and supports dozens of local nonprofit groups through fundraising activities.

Sophie Philips (New Castle County)
• As Miss Delaware 2021, Sophie Philips committed to a year of full-time volunteer service to the people of Delaware. For 9/11 Day this year, Sophie led a team of volunteers to build a pollinator and vegetable garden in the Southbridge neighborhood in Wilmington. Sophie worked with a local garden center to carefully choose plants that are native to this area and then worked with a team of volunteers to bring everything to the site. Once there, Sophie taught the volunteers (including local children) how to prepare the soil, do the planting and care for the plants as they grow. Their goal is to have a vegetable garden that can feed local families while supporting local pollinators.

Roxanne Ferguson (New Castle County)
• Roxanne Ferguson is a lifelong volunteer who has worked with Rotary International for more than 15 years, serving in leadership and working with a variety of causes and projects. Roxanne has volunteered with Stockings for Soldiers, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, the New Castle Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society and as a skilled volunteer with the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend soccer program. Additionally, she is currently serving with the Jean Birch Senior Center, where she helps support the MOT Senior Communities. Roxanne’s commitment to service led her to a position as Co-Host of the Pathways to Service Rotary Radio Show, where she discusses important topics relevant to the community and informs the community about projects and services.

Harry Brake (Sussex County)
• Harry Brake is a constant volunteer. Harry is primarily involved with the Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy, but he is always looking for a way to incorporate service into his life and the lives of his students. He leads the way in both maintaining and improving the Chapel Branch Nature Trails and engages students who use the trails for their cross-country team to give back by doing maintenance tasks and planning improvements. Harry also works with local birding enthusiasts to help build birding and bat habitats in the area. This past year, Harry also worked on building a permanent 9/11 exhibit at the Woodbridge High School by getting students involved in recording interviews with survivors and creating a gallery walk of information for young people to be able to better understand the events of that day.

Ron Russell (Sussex County)
• Ron Russell, also known as “the birdman,” is a member of the Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy board. He has not only achieved the installation of 16 bird boxes at the Chapel Branch Trail at Woodland Road, but also has been successful in having 38 birds that have fledged. When a bird fledges, it has enough strength in its wings to fly. Ron also has committed himself to cleaning up the busy stretch of public road along the edge of the nature area, ensuring that visitors and wildlife have a clean space. Ron’s work with the Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy has enhanced its reach and his knowledge of birds has been a tremendous asset to rebuilding native bird populations in Western Sussex County.

Ted Mariner (Sussex County)
• Ted Mariner serves in many different roles at the Nanticoke Senior center including as a bus driver, delivering homebound meals, and hosting Veterans Day and Memorial Day events. Ted is always willing to give a hand when something is needed. Also a volunteer with VFW Post 4961, Ted is a veteran who uses his time to support other veterans and their families to feel remembered and respected.

Hadiyah Gissendanner (New Castle County)
• Hadiyah Gissendanner served as a Resident Educator at the tuition-free Catholic boys’ school, Nativity Preparatory School. During her time there, Hadiyah developed such incredible relationships with the administration, parents, and students, that she was hired into a new role that was created to match her skillset and further the mission of the school. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hadiyah helped the school navigate first to virtual, then to hybrid learning and finally supported the transition back to full time, in-person learning. Hadiyah helped the school establish safety measures that have successfully prevented outbreaks.

Mary Sue Wilson (New Castle County)
• A volunteer with the Therapeutic Riding and Ongoing Training program at Carousel Park, Mary Sue Wilson works with children and adults living with disabilities and helps them to receive the benefits of therapeutic riding. Mary Sue has developed a connection with every student and works closely to ensure that they receive the maximum benefits of the program. When needed, Mary Sue also steps in to assist with special events and ensures that the program continues to grow and support as many individuals as possible.

Danette Butler (New Castle County)
• After losing her son to an overdose in 2010, Mrs. Butler turned her pain into purpose by working with inmates to find resources for addiction programs. Working with counselors, probation officers and other agencies, Mrs. Butler eventually started an organization called Parents with Incarcerated Children (PWIC). She is also the founder of the Pardon ME project to help meet the needs of ex-offenders to remain in recovery and out of trouble, find jobs and pursue expungement or pardon where possible. To date, she has helped more than 350 people through her work within the prison system.

Joan Flaherty (Sussex County)
• Joan Flaherty serves as a volunteer member of the Rehoboth Beach Tree Committee, which is an advisory committee making recommendations to the elected Mayor and Commissioners. Joan volunteers her time to weed and water trees on municipal property once a week and advocates for native, not invasive, trees, to be planted. Joan is also a key fundraiser, taking names to the engraver for golden leaves that are posted on an artistic tree on the walk at City Hall. The leaves are engraved with the names of donors and their favorite sayings about trees. Joan and other volunteers have worked with the DE Center for Inland Bays to plant hundreds of new trees, and to come back later to check on them, straightening the new trees that might be knocked sideways. Joan has also worked with the center on turtle monitoring and nest building.

Stephanie Sue DiMartine (New Castle County)
• Stephanie DiMartine is an active volunteer with Special Olympics of Delaware. Athletes with Special Olympics who have never played a sport that Stephanie coaches are rewarded with encouragement and confidence in their ability to perform in competitions and highlight their new skills. She always remembers names and creates fun at practices year-round with three different sports. The Pole-R Express Plunge Team she runs broke fundraising records last year by raising $46,000. Stephanie not only volunteers for Special Olympics, she also is the president of the Northern Delaware USBC Bowling association, serving as a volunteer with their board in the community and helping bowlers and their families in need.

Kelly Paustian (New Castle County)
• In 2021, Kelly Paustian was instrumental in helping develop and implement Dine More 24, a new aspect of the statewide giving day event, Do More 24 Delaware. The Do More 24 Delaware giving day event raised nearly $2 million over 24 hours in March 2021 for more than 400 nonprofits serving Delaware. The Dine More initiative was an innovative way to take advantage of the pandemic economy while simultaneously helping to drive business to participating restaurants and support nonprofits participating in the giving day event. Kelly’s work brought together two very different but important industries within our state during a critical time. The $6,000 Kelly helped raise through the Dine More 24 initiative and was awarded through the Do More 24 Delaware giving day campaign generated nearly $185,000 in donations (a 30x return) and motivated hundreds of Delaware nonprofits to activate their supporters and new donors from around the state and world.

Sharyn Fagone (New Castle County)
• Sharyn Fagone has been a volunteer with Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research since February 2007 and averages more than 350 hours a year in service. Sharyn provides supportive care to bird patients, enriches their enclosures with natural habitat, and serves as a transporter. Sharyn responds to calls for help in both Kent and New Castle counties, giving injured birds a ride to Tri-State’s clinic in Newark for needed treatment and care. When necessary, Sharyn also works with Sussex County transporters to meet mid-state, sometimes on a moment’s notice, to transport injured birds. Sharyn is vital in the work of Tri State Bird Rescue’s work to provide care for injured birds.

Raymond Bryant (Sussex County)
• Raymond Bryant divides his considerable volunteer time between two organizations he cares for deeply. After finding an injured Turkey Vulture and working with volunteers at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Ray saw an opportunity to help care for birds and began volunteering himself. Ray serves as a transporter and a member of the re-nesting team. Ray also serves as the Community Liaison on the board of the Harry K Foundation, an organization dedicated to the defeat of childhood hunger. Ray uses his connections and his organizational skills to plan events and work to distribute food boxes to families in need.

Monica Lea (Sussex County)
• Monica Lea has extensive experience in service, particularly in the area of disaster relief. When a need arose for a statewide cadre of individuals who were able to respond to disasters quickly, Monica agreed to take the lead and create the program. Starting from scratch, Monica quickly created the structure to onboard and engage volunteers, as well as the processes to be able to deploy those volunteers quickly in support to disaster organizations. When Hurricane Ida ravaged a portion of Wilmington, the program Monica helped build was tested for the first time and volunteers were able to respond in less than 24 hours to support as needed. Monica’s expertise in both disaster response and volunteer management were crucial in developing this program.

Lawrence Jackson (New Castle County)
• Lawrence Jackson is heavily involved in supporting community organizations across the West Side of Wilmington, including volunteering for West Side Grows Together. He is the first call when they need help on Fourth Street and the first one to offer help. Each morning, for the past 12 months (and prior), he goes out with a trash picker and a bucket to pick up trash around the neighborhood. He helps prep for community events by having tables, chairs and supplies ready to go, and he immediately notices when something needs attention from the City of Wilmington or other groups, such as when the fence was broken at the Fourth & Rodney playground. Lawrence Jackson provides critical on-the-ground feedback and support to community organizations along Fourth Street, in addition to being the full-time unpaid “caretaker” of the corridor.

Gary Focht (Sussex County)
• Sometimes it is difficult to believe that Gary Focht is retired. Using skills gleaned from his career as a parks administrator, Gary dedicates himself to maintaining the Woodbridge High School Cross Country trail, creating new and maintaining current trails at the Millstone tract and Chapel Branch tract for the Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy, and working with the Woodbridge Cross Country team as a volunteer coach. Skilled volunteers like Gary are vital to the work of nonprofits like the NRWC because they are able to jump in and perform work with a level of expertise in the area where they are serving. Gary’s knowledge of trail and tree maintenance enables the conservancy to share beautiful natural spaces with the public.

Noa Abigail Mills (New Castle County)
• Noa Mills is the founder of ReThink Edu, a nonprofit organization with a focus on providing innovative and modernization to educational techniques as well as providing educational resources on a multitude of levels throughout the state. Noa has partnered with DelDOT to establish and create a community service cleanup program that provides community service hours to students across the state in their respective academic groups. She also has created and distributed an annual Noa A. Mills scholarship from her organization. In addition, she is currently working with state leaders, Senator Nicole Poore and more to rewrite state regulation 615, shifting it to make it mandatory for schools statewide to provide mental health resources to students who are absent due to mental health issues.

Lynne Robinson (New Castle County)
• More than 16 years ago, Lynne Robinson founded PAWS for People with a goal to provide pet therapy visits to individuals in need throughout Delaware. As the organization grew, Lynne continued to volunteer alongside her own dogs. Lynne’s golden retriever Boo Radley was there with her from the start and, although Boo has since passed on, Lynne’s dedication to pet therapy has pushed her forward alongside her new friends

 

Volunteer Group

Bank of America Community Volunteers
• Bank of America volunteers participate in more than 100,000 hours of service each year to provide critical financial education to people of all ages, beginning with K-12 economic and personal finance education and continuing through adulthood with the Better Money Habits support, an online educational tool for individuals helping with family finances and providing tools for entrepreneurship. Bank of America Community Volunteers have helped the University of Delaware Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) reach thousands of Delaware kindergarten through 12th grade students and UD freshman in providing quality personal finance education. This successful partnership – now more than a decade old – has galvanized, influenced, and created a movement in financial and economic education, laying the groundwork for empowering more than 15,000 students statewide, over the course of this partnership, and helping beneficiaries to make better and sound financial choices.

Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware
• Ellen Udovich and her team from the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware work in disaster response and recovery, primarily focusing on helping those in special populations or in high SVI areas recovering from disaster. They do this through muck-outs (cleaning out flood waters from homes), debris removal (removing flood-damaged items from homes or clearing damaged and dangerous trees/vegetative debris) and mold remediation. This is often the first step toward making a home habitable again and the first step in a disaster survivor’s path to recovery.

Maynard and Eleanor Gregory
• Husband and wife team Maynard and Eleanor Gregory work with patients at the Bayhealth Inpatient Rehabilitation facility. While they look forward to a day when they can safely return to their in-person volunteer duties, they’re making the biggest impact they can despite the pandemic limitations. Eleanor recycles blue surgical wrap and has made scarves, PPE, walker bags and more out of the clean material that was once discarded. The couple also has shifted the way they interact with patients because of COVID-19. Although they aren’t currently able to come to the Bayhealth Sussex Campus to be with patients, they send each of them a handwritten note and interact with patients virtually.

James and Dianna Hickey
• Jim and Dianna Hickey provide a reliable, knowledgeable and loving set of extra hands to help care for animals at the Brandywine Valley SPCA facility in Georgetown. When they are in need, Jim and his wife Dianna will personally donate whatever the shelter cats and dogs may need to make their stays comfortable and safe. These dedicated volunteers go above and beyond at both Sussex County shelter locations, volunteering almost nine hours a day, five days a week, and never hesitating to do what needs to be done for the dogs and cats at the shelter.

Elder Podwys, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
• This group of dedicated volunteers joined the New Castle County Parks in August 2020 with one aim: to serve. The COVID-19 pandemic had limited their members in-person missionary work, so they and their coordinator were eager to provide service and value to community. Since then, the group has served more than 1,900 hours, never refusing a task and demonstrating the strongest of work ethics. Even as temperatures hit triple digits, this group worked to remove invasive plants, weed, beautify grounds and trails, cleanup storm damage and pick up trash. Their work at the beautification and maintenance of Delaware’s state parks and natural resources, which are a vital part of our communities for both residents and visitors, as well as cleanup of parks, trails, and other resources, especially after, for example, the flooding that resulted from Ida’s storms in our area.

The Harris Family
• The Harris family saw a need for a community center in Bridgeville and took action to make that happen. As the founders of the Cornerstone Community Center, Darryn and Latoya, along with their young daughters, work to make sure that the needs of people in the Bridgeville area are met. The Harrises collect items for individuals experiencing homelessness, support the local senior center, hold events to promote community and support individuals, promote mental health awareness and services, and recently held a backpack giveaway as kids were going back to school. As a result of Darryn, Latoya and their family, there is an increased sense of community in Bridgeville and increased access to needed resources. This family has made volunteerism a family endeavor, involving even their young daughters in meaningful service.

Garden Stewards
• The 37-acre Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek (DBG) first opened to the public in late 2019. These gardens were created, built, and maintained through the efforts of community volunteers. With only four paid staff, the volunteer Garden Stewards show up regardless of the weather to support and maintain the five gardens at the DBG facility. Through their efforts, the community has access to a beautiful place for enjoying nature and learning about native plant species.

Joshua M. Freeman Volunteer Corps
• The 261 volunteers of the Joshua M. Freeman Volunteer Corps have touched a tremendous number of mid-Atlantic residents and seasonal visitors through their mission to advance arts access for all through performance, education and advocacy. This year alone, more than 98,000 people have experienced the arts, thanks to the efforts of our staff and volunteers. This number includes more than 34,000 children who were impacted by their arts in education efforts. The tireless efforts of this group, under often demanding deadlines, is a testament to their commitment to service and to sharing the impact of the arts with the community.

Junior League of Wilmington
• The Junior League of Wilmington, through its initiative Stand Up. Period., is committed to raising awareness of period equity in Wilmington and working toward ensuring individuals have affordable programs that provide period supplies. Period equity refers to removing the barriers that prevent people, particularly those living in poverty, from being able to manage their menstrual cycles and participate fully in their lives. Those who lack adequate period supplies experience school and work absences, opportunity losses, and emotional distress. And while they are suffering, societal stigmas often preclude open discussions about period equity. These dedicated volunteers are tackling a topic that is still considered taboo in many ways. By talking about menstruation and period equity, they are breaking down stigmas and bringing dignity back to a natural part of life.

Lions of District 22
• Members of the Lions of District 22 serve statewide, with over 1,200 members, 36 clubs and 9 Leo (Youth) clubs. This past summer, this group came together to help 200 displaced families in Wilmington due to flooding. Clubs also routinely provide glasses, ramps, food, shelter, mentoring to youth, road clean-up, funds to local libraries, funds to local youth groups such as little league and scouts, scholarships for college, collection of glasses for recycling, collection of plastic for recycling and using those funds for park benches, help with Special Olympics, provide guide dogs for people who are blind, provide low-vision equipment to those in need, provide computer equipment to students who need them, and many other projects to meet needs that they see in the community. It is estimated that these dedicated volunteers have contributed more than 15,000 hours in Delaware in just the past year.

Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization
• The Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization is a part of the Miss America Organization and is one of the largest providers of scholarships, exclusively to young women, in the world. At the state and local level, volunteers support programming designed to empower young women to be their personal best, serve within their communities, and earn college scholarships. The board of the Miss Delaware organization is made up entirely of volunteers who manage every aspect of the program from competition organization, recruitment and event logistics to development and service activities. Through the work of the Miss Delaware board, hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships have been awarded to young women in Delaware and thousands of young women have been able to participate in skill building, service activities and personal development programming offered.

Rick and Cecilia Stafford
• Rick and Cecilia Stafford work closely with the Nanticoke Senior Center and Code Purple to help support individuals who are experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Rick spends many Thursday nights at the Code Purple shelters to provide overnight volunteer support and Cecilia provides meals to the residents. They also help with meal delivery for seniors who are vulnerable and support the Christmas Chicken delivery. They also work to build awareness of muscular dystrophy through various events where they ride their motorcycle. Rick and Cecilia are unique because of the way that they have made volunteering a part of their lives. As a couple, they are constantly looking for ways that they can help, and they have made a memorable impact on so many seniors and individuals experiencing homelessness in Sussex County.

Wilmington Friends Garden
• Every year for the past several years, the Wilmington Friends Garden has provided over 500 pounds of produce to various food banks (primarily Lutheran Services and the Sunday Breakfast Mission). The produce is grown and harvested by Wilmington Friends School staff, students and parents. The Wilmington Friends Garden is special because it creates a learning and service environment for students and families while giving back to the community. Each week during harvest season, the food grown in the garden is collected and donated to the Lutheran Services Food Bank or other food banks in the community to help individuals struggling with access to healthy/fresh food. The garden operates from spring through fall, with various plants in rotation to maximize the growing and harvesting seasons.


Nominations Open for Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards; Submission Deadline is Sept. 27

NEW CASTLE (Sept. 7, 2021) – Nominations for the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards are being accepted by the State Office of Volunteerism through Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. These awards recognize the important contributions made by Delaware’s volunteers to their communities.

“Tens of thousands of Delawareans give their time and effort each year, volunteering in their communities and working to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Gov. John Carney. “Their selfless work helps us to build a stronger and healthier Delaware for everyone. And though they volunteer without thought of reward or recognition, these annual awards are a chance for us to say thank you and to highlight their contributions.”

Award recipients will be announced on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, to coincide with Family Volunteer Day. A virtual ceremony will be held on Monday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.

Volunteer efforts of nominees must have been performed during the 12-month period leading up to the nomination deadline, although prior volunteer activity can also be highlighted to show long-term commitment. To be eligible, the nominated individuals and group members must be 18 or older. Volunteers will be honored in the following categories:

  • Individual: An exceptional individual over 18 who volunteers.
  • Volunteer Leader: An individual over 18 who has demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities through their service.
  • Group/Team: A group or team of two or more people that volunteer together on the same project(s).

In addition, the Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to a nominee who has had a longtime commitment to volunteerism. Wilkinson was a member of the Delaware Governor’s Council on Volunteerism starting in 2000 until 2004, when legislation transformed the Council into a Commission, and he continued serving until 2008. He passed away on Jan. 17, 2009. His legacy and dedication to serving others continues through the award named in his honor.

“The 2021 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards provides an excellent opportunity for Delawareans to nominate those extraordinary groups and individuals who lighten the burdens of others through their dedicated and ongoing service,” said Kanani Hines Munford, Senior Administrator for the State Office of Volunteerism and Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. “Now is the time to nominate individuals and groups for their exemplary service.”

The nomination form is available online at https://volunteer.delaware.gov/. For more information, nominators may contact Volunteer Service Administrator Suzanne Farris at Suzanne.Farris@delaware.gov or call 302-857-5006.

Nominations that are not submitted online must be delivered by noon Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, to the State Office of Volunteerism, Attn: Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards, c/o Suzanne Farris, Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover, DE  19901 or emailed to dhss_VolunteerDelaware@delaware.gov.

“We are, as always, grateful for the services provided by the countless volunteers who donate their time, efforts and talents to the very same communities served by the Division of State Service Centers and the Department of Health and Social Services,” said Renée P. Beaman, Director of the Division of State Service Centers. “Each day, our staff members work to protect vulnerable populations, and it is often these very same populations served by the volunteers we are seeking to recognize and honor.”

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor and are coordinated by the State Office of Volunteerism and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

For more information about the awards or volunteer opportunities, go to volunteer.delaware.gov, or contact Suzanne Farris, Volunteer Service Administrator, at 302-857-5006 or via email at Suzanne.Farris@delaware.gov.


Individual, Groups, Businesses to Receive Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards at Jan. 18 Virtual Ceremony

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 10, 2020) Twenty-one individuals, seven groups and two businesses will be honored with the 2020 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award during a virtual ceremony at 7 p.m. Jan. 18, 2021. The recipients will be recognized for significant contributions, engagement and impact in diverse activities.

More information about the virtual event will be announced closer to the date. The names of all 2020 award recipients will be recognized at 7 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 11, during a Facebook Live presentation on the Volunteer Delaware Facebook page.

“It is indeed a privilege to honor these individuals, organizations and businesses for their selfless work on behalf of others,” said Gov. John Carney. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been an especially trying one. That’s made the work of our volunteers all the more important and valued. I deeply appreciate the effort they put forth every day throughout our state to make Delaware stronger and a better place to call home.”

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards, administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, honor the contributions of individuals and groups in Delaware that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through service and volunteering. The awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of State Service Centers, State Office of Volunteerism, and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

“I salute these worthy recipients and all those who volunteered their time and energy this year to help improve the health and well-being of their neighbors in need,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik. “The coronavirus pandemic has brought special hardships for many of our residents in 2020, which is why I am doubly grateful for the generosity and unselfish commitment of these volunteers.”

This year’s award categories were updated to allow for a broader range of volunteer service and to give the selection committee greater flexibility in evaluating the projects performed by the nominees, said Kanani H. Munford, Senior Administrator for the State Office of Volunteerism and the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. “This update increases the diversity of volunteers considered and allows for a more inclusive experience for all involved.”

Here are the recipients of the 2020 awards:

Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award

Mary Grampp-Brown (Kent County)

Mary Grampp-Brown portrait
Mary Grampp-Brown has served as a volunteer with the Poultry Department at the Delaware State Fair for more than 25 years.

Mary Grampp-Brown has served as a volunteer with the Poultry Department at the Delaware State Fair for more than 25 years. During the annual event, Mary spends 24 hours a day either on site at the fair or on call to support the volunteers who help care for the animals in her department. Her efforts help maintain a healthy and safe environment for the poultry being exhibited, teach young people about feeding and handling techniques and demonstrate safe poultry handling to the public. Mary’s commitment is vital to the Poultry Department’s operations at the fair and allows people of all ages to enjoy and learn from the exhibits.

Emerging Volunteer Leader

Toby French (New Castle County)

Toby French was elected to lead the Delaware VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) in March of 2020, just before the declaration of the State of Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. Having previously served with Team Rubicon, Toby was the right leader to connect and support the organizations who have responded to support Delawareans through the pandemic while also facing a record-setting Atlantic hurricane season.

Kristyn Ehleben (New Castle County)

Kristyn Ehleben has worked with Brandywine Creek State Park in virtually every capacity, including leading adult and youth volunteer teams in conservation and stewardship of the park. Her leadership led to the installation of a native pollinator garden that supports research on the habits of pollinators in our area.

Shamiya Gould (New Castle County)

Shamiya Gould has used her strong leadership skills to eliminate barriers for underserved moms in Wilmington. She bridges the gaps between community partners and the underserved population by focusing on ways to reduce infant mortality and increase breastfeeding rates in Delaware.

Maureen Griffith (Sussex County)

Among her many volunteer roles, Maureen Griffith serves as a leader with the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, where she leads the morning Young Audience series and facilitates free performances at the Freeman Stage for children and families. Maureen leads others by example, serving on the front lines in leadership roles and in the background with quiet determination to make the world a better place.

Active Duty or Veteran Volunteer

Michael “Sonny” Maiorano (Kent County)

While serving in the Delaware Air National Guard and working two jobs, Michael “Sonny” Maiorano manages to stay active as a community volunteer with a particular dedication to the Food Bank of Delaware. Even on deployments, Sonny is known to search for local organizations needing help; he has served with organizations including the Biloxi, Miss., chapter of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence, and the Blood Bank of Delmarva.

Jeremy Moore (Kent County)

A veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, Jeremy Moore is the co-founder and executive director of More Than Fitness. Now in its third year, this organization focuses on teaching high school students self-confidence and trust through physical fitness and how to manage stress and negative emotions by practicing mindfulness and meditation. More than 100 Delaware youth have benefitted from participation.

Volunteer First Responder

William R. “Skip” Carrow II (Kent County)

Skip Carrow has been a member of the Clayton Fire Company for 41 years, during which he has led the company as its chief and president. He continues to serve the company as a driver for the equipment, as recording secretary, and through other activities. Skip also chairs the annual Smyrna-Clayton 4th of July Parade and the Clayton Christmas Parade.

Individual Volunteer

Linda Gaudet (Kent County)

Linda Gaudet is an active member of the Frederica Ladies Auxiliary. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Linda and another volunteer worked to help feed the seniors and other community members during the time that the Senior Center was closed. Because of her efforts, the Senior Center was able to provide meals to 1,800 vulnerable residents between March and August.

Mandy Slody (Kent County)

Mandy Slody is an active member of the Frederica Ladies Auxiliary and works with the Frederica Senior Center. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Mandy and another volunteer worked to help feed the seniors and other community members during the time that the Senior Center was closed. Because of her efforts, the Senior Center was able to provide meals to 1,800 vulnerable residents between March and August.

Lisa Marie Rossi McCalister (Kent County)

Lisa Marie Rossi McCalister works to provide medical care to adult Delawareans who do not have medical insurance. In the hours outside of her regular full-time job at a local hospital, Lisa sees patients in person and by telephone to ensure that the people in her community have their health-care needs met.

Robert Wilhelm (New Castle County)

Robert Wilhelm devotes his time to documenting and preserving the history of Yorklyn through historical interpretation and research with Auburn Valley State Park. His work has included helping with planning committees, locating historical documents, evaluating and conserving collections materials, giving interpretive tours of various park spaces, and preparing material for social media posts.

Nathaniel Marks Sr. (New Castle County)

Nathaniel Marks volunteers his time to collect, transport and distribute food to those in his community faced with food insecurity. Nathaniel’s work helped feed more than 700 families in New Castle County since April 2020.

Pastor James E. Parker II (New Castle County)

Pastor James Parker is the Founder & CEO of Walking on Water. His organization runs a drive-through food distribution event seven days a week out of the Rose Hill Community Center in New Castle. On June 5, 2020, he gave away his 10,000th box of food.

Markevis Gideon (New Castle County)

Markevis Gideon’s NERDiT Now Foundation is on a mission to end the technological divide. Founded four years ago, the NERDiT Now Foundation has raised over $56,000, engaged more than 120 volunteers and donated 326 computers in nine cities and four countries to individuals and community centers.

Coby Owens (New Castle County)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Coby Owens has spent countless hours handing out masks, cooking meals for neighbors, working with local officials to ensure the needs of city residents were met, and serving as a social justice advocate. Coby is the co-founder and CEO of the Youth Caucus of America, Inc., and the founder and president of The Owens Foundation, a developmental organization that conveys innovative and sustainable self-help solutions to further the fight against chronic hunger and poverty.

Rand McIlvaine (New Castle County)

Rand McIlvaine started rescuing birds as part of the team at Tri-State Bird Rescue in 2012 when there was a trumpeter swan entangled in fishing line at a local lake. Since then, Rand has spent more than 5,400 hours to support and protect the rescue and rehabilitation of native birds who are found injured, orphaned or ill.

Giovanna Andrews (New Castle County)

Giovanna Andrews founded Harper’s Heart in August of 2018. Her effort was to improve the services given to new and expectant mothers in need. After seeing a need firsthand, Giovanna has worked tirelessly to collect and distribute thousands of diapers and other baby essentials, baby furniture, DART passes and books.

Anna “Anne” R. Ward (Sussex County)

As a Delaware Hospice volunteer, Anne Ward transports patients to doctors’ offices for appointments, picks up necessary supplies, and serves as a respite worker for caregivers. Anne also has provided many meals for the elderly and those with disabilities and spends time sending letters and cards to the sick or lonely.

Aimee Isaac (Sussex County)

As a volunteer advocate leader with the Alzheimer’s Association, Aimee Isaac goes above and beyond in fighting Alzheimer’s and supporting Delaware families facing the disease. Aimee uses her passion, her story, her time and unique skills to influence policymakers to make Alzheimer’s and dementia a national and state priority.

Toni Short (Sussex County)

Toni Short runs a grassroots organization that provides a holistic, wraparound approach to get individuals and families experiencing homelessness back on their feet. Her efforts also support Sussex County Code Purple during the winter.

Nonprofit Volunteer Program

Changing Fates Equine Rescue Volunteers (Sussex County)

Changing Fates Equine Rescue of Delaware, Inc., is dedicated to locating abused and neglected horses and rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining and re-homing them. It is their mission to also provide sanctuary for horses that are not suitable for adoption. This important work is carried out by numerous volunteers who work to feed and care for horses, maintain the grounds and raise funds to support the effort.

Shepherd’s Office (Sussex County)

The Shepherd’s Office is a faith-based drop-in center for the homeless, hungry or lonely. Their mission is to provide an alcohol- and drug-free, supportive faith-based environment for people who have no family support, who are recovering alcoholics, recovering drug addicts, homeless, hungry or lonely.

Volunteer Group

YWCA Delaware Sexual Assault Response Advocates (Statewide)

Sexual Assault Response Advocate (SARA) volunteers are available 24/7 to assist survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence who are aged 12 and older and their non-offending family members when there is a need for medical, law enforcement or legal accompaniment. Volunteers offer support by 24/7 telephone Helpline, aftercare follow-up, and referral to resources for vital community services. In addition, SARA volunteer advocates readily offer community outreach and prevention education to encourage support to survivors.

Lori’s Hands (New Castle County)

The student volunteers with Lori’s Hands work with assigned clients battling a chronic illness to help with housework, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and other household activities. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, volunteers temporarily transitioned to virtual and contactless visits, becoming a vital safety net for those who were among the most at-risk by helping arrange for grocery and supply deliveries and helping to relieve the isolation through regular calls and video chats.

Lunch With a Purpose (Sussex County)

Lunch With a Purpose was started in 2006 with the simple purpose of bringing ladies together each month for lunch while raising money to donate to a Sussex County nonprofit. In addition, they held a food drive during the luncheon with food donated to the Food Bank of Delaware. Around 200 women participate each month, and to date, Lunch With a Purpose has raised more than $250,000 for local charities while collecting tens of thousands of pounds of food for the Food Bank of Delaware.

Chicks For Charity (Sussex County)

Chicks For Charity organizes monthly fundraising dinners at no cost to selected nonprofits serving Sussex County. Over the past 10 years, volunteers Marcie Urgo and Keri Ainsworth have raised more than $128,000 to support local service efforts. Their program provides a vehicle for nonprofits, especially small, local nonprofits with a special niche, to raise critical funds to fulfill their missions.

Volunteers of the New Life Thrift Shop (Sussex County)

Volunteers of the New Life Thrift Shop receive donations and then sort, clean, repair, price, and sell them. Unusable items are sold to recycling companies such as scrap metal and worn clothing to a rag making company to garner more funds. Electrical items, such as lamps, appliances, electric wheelchairs, and sewing machines, are tested and often repaired. Nothing goes to waste. In 2019, the shop raised over $506,000 for service agencies in Sussex County that meet community needs.

Business

Volunteer Brewing Company (New Castle County)

Volunteer Brewing Company was founded by the Schatz family, who chose the company name to honor their commitment to their community. Regular volunteer recruitment events are hosted at their site to help bring together local nonprofit organizations and interested volunteers. Their organized days of service have engaged the community in more than 1,000 hours of service.

Schell Brothers (Sussex County)

Schell Brothers launched “Project Kudos” to build positivity and show gratitude to people in the community. Shifting focus during the pandemic, the Project Kudos bus has donated more than 440,000 meals to members of the community and partnered with numerous school districts and organizations to support families throughout Sussex County.