Markells Urge Delawareans to Join Governor’s Week of Service Jan. 11-21

DOVER (Dec. 11, 2012) – Gov. Jack Markell joins first lady Carla Markell in calling on Delawareans to seek out special volunteer projects to mark the Governor’s Week of Service, Jan. 11-21.

The Governor’s Week of Service expands on the weekend of service that the Markells hosted in January 2009, in lieu of the traditional inaugural ball. To commemorate the governor’s second four-year term, the Markells will take part in and promote a week of service, in addition to other inauguration events.

The week begins on Friday, Jan. 11, and will include a clean-up of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club in collaboration with the Governor’s Office, the State Office of Volunteerism, United Way of Delaware and the Salvation Army.

Other events include a statewide food drive at all Delaware State Service Centers, a weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. Day Blood Drive with the Blood Bank of Delmarva, and more.

“The best way to say thank you to the people of Delaware for the privilege of being their Governor for a second term is to give back to our communities and neighbors, and to urge others to do the same.” Gov. Markell said. “Carla and I believe strongly in the power of people to make a difference. To us, it doesn’t matter how much time or money you give. What matters is taking the step to make this a better Delaware for everyone.”

As first lady, Carla Markell has made the promotion of volunteerism one of her priorities. She urges those interested in being involved with the Governor’s Week of Service to visit the Volunteer Delaware website, and to use the key words “Week of Service.” Individuals and groups can log on and choose a project from either one-time or ongoing volunteer opportunities. Organizations also can register their needs or volunteer opportunities.

“Every person can make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities,” Carla Markell said. “It is our hope that each citizen who volunteers that week will carry on volunteering not just for a week, but for a lifetime. We’re so pleased that several Delaware organizations are joining the effort to engage our citizens in volunteer service during the Governor’s Week of Service, including the State Office of Volunteerism, the Governor’s Commission for Community and Volunteer Service, the Blood Bank of Delmarva, the United Way of Delaware and others. All of these efforts contribute to the powerful momentum we are building in Delaware.”

The Governor’s Week of Service is in addition to the annual Delaware Week of Service, scheduled for April 21-27, 2013.  To register a project or to become involved with either week of service, visit

“When a family or individual needs food, shelter, or assistance with basic needs to sustain themselves, they visit our State Service Centers,” said Dr. Anne Farley, director of DHSS’ Division of State Service Centers. “Each year, hundreds of thousands of visits are made to our centers where we have food closets ready to help in a time of need. We rely on donations of food items to put together meals for a family for three or more days. The generosity of the public to help a fellow Delawarean is essential for us to provide the support that we do.”

Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the state Office of Volunteerism, praised Delaware’s volunteers for their strong ties to the communities.

“The idea of human connectedness is a powerful one,” Landgraf said. “Your food donation can keep someone from going hungry. Donating a unit of blood can save a life. Spending an hour reading to a child or helping out at a nonprofit in your neighborhood can impact many lives. To all Delawareans who make a difference by giving back, I simply say thank you.”

For more information about the Governor’s Week of Service or Volunteer Delaware, go to, or contact Carrie Hart, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006. For media and sponsorship inquiries for either week of service, contact Kate Fox, Marketing and Media Coordinator, (302) 588-2970.

Governor Announces Delaware’e Outstanding Volunteers; Recipients Will Be Honored Oct. 25 in Dover Ceremony

NEW CASTLE (Oct. 5, 2012) – Gov. Jack Markell will honor the dedication of 31 individuals and groups as he presents the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards for 2012 on Oct. 25 at Dover Downs.
The governor and first lady Carla Markell have been champions of the importance of volunteerism and service in building stronger communities across the state.
“Carla and I believe through volunteerism and service by Delawareans of all ages, we strengthen our social fabric and quality of life,” Gov. Markell said. “This year’s Volunteer Award recipients clearly demonstrate how one individual or one group can make a difference in many lives.  We recognize their leadership, passion and commitment in helping their fellow Delawareans.”
This year’s award recipients participate in such diverse activities as social justice, protecting the environment, working to advance the arts and culture, and improving education. 
“For Delawareans who volunteer, it is the ultimate act of giving back,” said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the state’s efforts to foster volunteerism and service. “You are living the promise to make a selfless difference in someone’s life. It is an example that is sure to inspire others to follow your lead.”
“The volunteers selected for recognition from the governor stand out in either the length of their service or in the unique quality of their efforts to make Delaware a better place to grow up and live,” said Anne Farley, Ph.D., and director of DHSS’ Division of State Service Centers, which includes the State Office of Volunteerism. “The recipients represent the many devoted volunteers who make positive contributions to the First State and inspire others to do the same.”
More than 400 people are expected to join the governor Oct. 25 at Dover Downs to honor the volunteers for their outstanding service. The event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starting at 7. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $35 per person and are available by calling 857-5006. Or visit to download the invitation.
The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, Delaware 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.
The 2012 recipients are (short biographies are attached):
New Castle County 
Chrissy Montgomery, Wilmington, Arts & Culture
Joan Sharp, Wilmington, Community Service
Donald Schaeffer, Wilmington, Community Service
Jeanne Kasey, Wilmington, Education
Ali McDonough, Wilmington, Health
Nancy Goyda, Wilmington, Human Needs
James A. Hunter, Wilmington, Human Needs
Rosemary Kingery, Hockessin, Human Needs
Karyn Wilson, New Castle, Human Needs
Kent County
Judy Saladino, Dover, Health
Sussex County
David Christy, Lewes, Arts & Culture
Dara Hearn, Lewes, Education
Sallie Forman, Rehoboth Beach, Environment
Dianne Twining, Laurel, Environment
Marie McIntosh, Frankford, Human Needs
Pat Short, Lewes, Human Needs
New Castle County
DBCC’s Great Stuff Savvy Resale Volunteer Team, Community Service
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Community Service
Beth and Brian Engler, Education
Department of Health and Social Services-Garden Projects for People with Physical and/or Mental Disabilities, Environment
Secret Garden Volunteers, Environment
The Alternatives to Violence Project, Social Justice/Advocacy
Kent County
Advance through Pardons and Expungements, National Service
Sussex County
Historic Lewes Farmers Market, Community Service
The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Volunteers (MERR), Environment
Nanticoke Creekwatchers, Environment
Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Family Services Committee, Human Needs
St. Phillips Youth Host Group, Human Needs
Delaware SPCA, Sussex Chapter Volunteers, Other – Animal Welfare
Reading Assist Institute Volunteer Tutors, Education
For more information about the awards, contact information for the winner or the Oct. 25 event, contact Carrie Hart with the State Office of Volunteerism at 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.
2012 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award Winners
Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award
Name:  Tonda L. Parks
Nominator: Colonel Eugenia Thornton, USA
For over two decades, Tonda Parks has served tirelessly, selflessly and effectively in a variety of volunteer organizations across Delaware. She has volunteered with the American Heart Association, CENDEL Foundation, Frontline Ministry Daughters of Destiny and Fund for Women, among others, and has been honored with numerous awards for her dedicated service. Tonda infuses her many volunteer activities with enthusiasm, innovation and imagination.
Individual Winners
New Castle County
Name: Chrissy Montgomery
Category: Arts & Culture
Nominator: Kathy Buterbaugh
Chrissy is the kind of volunteer who sees what needs to be done and does it. Through her work at the Wilmington Drama League, Chrissy applies a hands-on, versatile and hard-working attitude to every task given to her. Since 1996, her passion and compassion have impacted the lives of many Delawareans. Her leadership, talent and dedication have made a positive impact on the arts in Delaware.
Name: Joan Sharp
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Charlene Davis
Joan has served the YWCA since 2004, holding the position of board chair for two years.  During her tenure, the organization survived one of the most financially challenging periods in its history. Joan’s fundraising efforts and rallying spirit helped the organization to grow and prosper. Joan believes in the empowerment of women and volunteers at many other agencies including the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and the Delaware Forum of Executive Women.
Name: Donald Schaeffer
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Jean Warren
Don has served in many volunteer capacities for more than 30 years, always making an impact on those he helps. Working at St. Stephen’s Pantry, Don is known as a humble, quiet, and hard working guy who does not like to talk about himself or his accomplishments. He is an unsung hero helping neighbors in need, often serving 30-65 families a day. Those who meet Don are always welcomed with a warm smile and a caring heart.
Name: Jeanne Kasey
Category: Education
Nominator: Kevin Palladinetti
Jeanne Kasey is an integral part of the Alexis I. du Pont High School community. In her current role at PTSA president, Jeanne looks for a variety of ways to get parents and guardians more involved. Jeanne genuinely cares about doing the right thing for the school community. Jeanne has addressed the needs of the community for more than eight years and has tried to meet these needs through parental involvement. The impact she has had on students, families and the community is wide-reaching.
Name: Ali McDonough
Category: Health
Nominator: Katie Wilson
Dedicated to service since the age of 17, Ali McDonough has given so much of herself to the community and her commitment to service runs deep.  She was the co-executive director of “U Dance,” which is the largest student-run philanthropy in the history of the University of Delaware. Ali has worked tirelessly — close to a full-time job — to fight childhood cancers, and has raised nearly $470,000. As a driving force in the fight to end cancer, she is truly a motivator and an inspiration.
Name: Nancy Goyda
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Cheryl Christiansen
Nancy Goyda’s work as a volunteer has a considerable impact on the success of Family Promise. She is always cheerful, patient, and ready to tackle any project assigned to her.  She has been involved with Family Promise since the planning stages and her commitment has never waned. Nancy leads by example and has touched the lives of many homeless families.
Name: James A. Hunter
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Joan E. Lyons
The Seamen’s Center of Wilmington opened its doors and hearts to seafarers arriving in Delaware in 1990. James A. Hunter was the first volunteer to step forward and offer his time as an active volunteer. Twenty-two years and more than 12,000 hours later, James continues to greet and assist the thousands of international mariners who arrive in Delaware each year.
Name: Rosemary Kingery
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Megan Kneisel
Rosemary has been at the Fraim Boys and Girls Club for only a year, but she already has made a large impact on its mentoring program. Rosemary’s willingness to take on any task, large or small, has immeasurably improved the Fraim Club’s Services. She has an extraordinary commitment to service and is always there as a listener, a teacher or just a friend. Rosemary has truly been a blessing to every child at the club and her hard work and dedication is an inspiration to all. 
Name: Karyn Wilson
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Robyn Flickenger and Ellen Coulston
Coach Karen is an inspiration and the number one supporter to the youth of Bowlerama.  Over the past 30 years, Karyn has dedicated her time and heart to children ages 7 to 18 by encouraging them to participate in a sports activity that builds healthy bodies and develops positive self-esteem. Karyn has high expectations for her youth bowlers and their parents and supporters. She generously gives her time and her good thoughts to all those who need it. She is a great role model as she selflessly gives to others.
Kent County
Name: Judy Saladino
Category: Health
Nominator: Terry Schrenker
As a Meal Mates volunteer, Judy Saladino offers her time and personality selflessly to patients at Bayhealth Hospital. Her people skills and the way she treats volunteers makes her one of the most valuable of the hospital’s volunteers. She has the ability to visit a sick and depressed patient and by the end of the visit she has that patient smiling and laughing. Her leadership, dedication and innovation make the job she does seamless and also inspiring to her fellow volunteer workers.Bayhealth is lucky to have such a unique individual serving its patients.
Sussex County
Name: David Christy
Category: Arts & Culture
Nominator: Edna V. Ellett
David embodies the mission of Coastal Concerts, which is to promote appreciation and enjoyment of classical music in Southern Delaware. Through David’s innovation and leadership as president of the organization, Coastal Concerts has thrived and matured. As a direct result of his tireless efforts, the organization reached a 25 percent growth in revenue while maintaining steadfast dedication to cultural enrichment.
Name: Dara Hearn
Category: Education
Nominator: Lauren Grise
Dara Hearn is one of the finest volunteers in Delaware schools. She has a vigorous yet quiet approach to supporting education for children. Since 1998, Dara has turned parental responsibility into a labor of love, not only for her children but all children. Dara serves as the President of the PTO at two schools and still finds the time to volunteer in multiple classroom roles.
Name:  Sallie Forman
Category: Environment
Nominator: Nancy Cullen
Sallie Forman founded Save Our Lakes Alliance in 2004 in response to community outcry against development at Lake Comegys, which would have had serious environmental impact on the lake and the community. Sallie has been the organizing and energizing force behind SOLA 3 since its inception. She devotes at least 20 hours a week to saving, restoring and improving lakes in Sussex County. Sallie is seen as an outstanding community leader whose commitment is never waning.
Name:  Dianne Twining
Category: Environment
Nominator: William Koth
Since 2008, Diane Twining has taken on a large number of diverse projects at Trap Pond State Park. She is always eager to help with any task that is given to her, and is a trusted and dedicated member of the volunteer staff.  Each year, she commits at least 6-7 months at the park. In an average year, Diane will facilitate more than 250 park programs, helping more than 1,500 park visitors. Diane is not just a volunteer, she is a mentor and inspiration to those she works with and assists.
Name: Marie McIntosh
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Dede Johnston
For more than 34 years, Marie has been devoted to serving Delaware’s children and adults with disabilities and their families. She has impacted hundreds of athletes and their families, as well as hundreds of Delaware volunteers who have become involved with Special Olympics. Her leadership and dedication have contributed to the growth of this extraordinary program. Marie’s bright spirit and endless energy affect everyone around her and Special Olympics is truly lucky to have her.
Name: Pat Short
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Pat and Myra McCormick
Since moving to Sussex County in 2004, Pat has been an active volunteer in fundraising and leadership for programs such as the American Red Cross and the United Methodist Church. Pat’s strongest assets are her outstanding leadership, creativity and a unique ability to raise funds for an organization with integrity, believability and success. She is an innovator whether she’s leading a group or volunteering for an organization.
Group Winners
New Castle County
Name of Group: DBCC’s Great Stuff Savvy Resale Volunteer Team
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Dale Maahs
Unlike your average consignment shop, Great Stuff thrives solely on donated items and is staffed by only two employees. The rest of the staff are all volunteers. The shop operates as a fundraising arm for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) and has raised more than $90,000 in two years. In the fiscal year of 2011/2012, Great Stuff Volunteers logged more than 3,000 hours of their precious time.  The DBCC is very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers in our community who not only give their time, but also help to raise awareness and funds.
Name of Group: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Kevin F. Kelley, Sr.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST), Wilmington Alumnae Chapter, has more than 60 years of service to the local community. In the last year alone, this group has served more than 500 people and contributed more than 8,000 volunteer hours. DST is an organization of predominantly African-American, college-educated women whose purpose is to provide assistance through established programs in New Castle County. Through the organization, services provided include mentoring, leadership development, academic enrichment, healthy lifestyles, suicide prevention, HIV education and awareness, financial literacy, college preparation and career exploration.
Name of Group: Beth and Brian Engler
Category: Education
Nominator: Carla Markell
Over the past seven years, Beth and Brian Engler have opened their homes to countless Odyssey of the Mind teams as both coaches and mentors. What started out as a way to stay connected to their children turned into a lifelong dedication to volunteerism and to the Odyssey of the Mind program. Together they have served more than 2,000 hours to the Odyssey of the Mind Program and the children involved. Beth and Brian, who feel that they are blessed to be able to coach these teams, say the lessons they learn from the children are far greater than the ones they teach. 
Name of Group: Department and Health and Social Services- Garden Projects for People with Physical and/or Mental Disabilities
Category: Environment
Nominator: Faith Kuehn
These dedicated nominees have participated in a wide variety of horticultural activities to create gardens where people with physical and/or mental disabilities can relax, learn and rejuvenate themselves. The volunteers are truly committed, putting in more than 500 hours this year alone.  Since 2010, the work of these volunteers has been indispensable in the progress of some key projects that include establishing therapy gardens for the DPC and establishing a sensory garden for the Division of Visually Impaired. These volunteers bring a wide range of talents and expertise
Name of Group: Secret Garden Volunteers
Category: Environment
Nominator: Marcia Stephenson
The Secret Garden Volunteers have been delivering educational programming about our environment to the Ministry of Caring Daycare Center students for the past 16 years.  Every Friday, a group of seven volunteers spend time in either the classroom of the day care center or right down the street at the Secret Garden. They create programs for the whole year that teach the children about our natural world through classroom or hands-on learning. Since the program’s inception, more than 6,000 volunteer hours have been served to this educational and rewarding.
Name of Group: The Alternatives to Violence Project
Category: Social Justice/Advocacy
Nominator: John Shuford
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is an all-volunteer program that changes attitudes and transforms lives. It is primarily a prison-based program using outside as well as inmate volunteer facilitators. It is considered by many to be the most effective program at helping inmates change their lives and life styles. In its 24-year history, AVP has helped more than 4,000 participants, and has had contributions of more than 8,200 outside volunteer hours and 29,550 inmate volunteer hours.
Kent County
Name of Group: Advancement through Pardons and Expungements
Category: National Service
Nominator: Sonia Aguilar
Criminal history is known to be a barrier to employment with one out of every four persons possessing a criminal background. Developed in 2011 by three AmeriCorps Vista members, the Advancement through Pardons and Expungement (APEX) program assists individuals with the pardons and expungement process. The service is free and completely run by 11 volunteers. Each volunteer has received extensive training and, since February 2012, they have helped more than 110 people.  More than 1,500 volunteer hours have gone into this project, which will now be expanded statewide.  The three Vistas that created this program were focused, hardworking and have demonstrated excellent work ethic.
Sussex County
Name of Group: Historic Lewes Farmers Market
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Nancy Chirdon Forster
The Historic Lewes Farmers Market was founded in 2006 to provide a unique public service with the overriding goal to support local agricultural and improve the quality of life in Southern Delaware. The nonprofit group founded a traditional farmers market that runs late spring through early autumn. This group is run entirely by volunteers whose numbers have grown to more than 200. These volunteers gave more than 3,700 hours of their time last year alone. The market has provided a family-friendly, community gathering place for consumers to be able to purchase the freshest affordable food. 
Name of Group: The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Volunteers (MERR)
Category: Environment  
Nominator: Susan Fewell
MERR volunteers respond to stranded whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, manatees and sea turtles, which may be injured throughout the waters of Delaware at any time of day and in any kind of weather. Without the volunteers, the costs of this program would fall on the shoulders of the Delaware taxpayers. The trained volunteers are located throughout Delaware allowing for rapid response when marine mammals or sea turtles are in distress. Since 2000, more than 120 volunteers have contributed more than 105,000 volunteer hours of service.
Name of Group: Nanticoke Creekwatchers
Category: Environment
Nominator: Beth Wasden
In its fifth season, the Nanticoke Creekwatchers Citizen Water Monitoring Program continues to enroll citizen scientists throughout the watershed in a rigorous water monitoring program. The volunteers remain the only regular water quality monitors throughout the Nanticoke Watershed and they are the eyes and the ears of the community. Creekwatchers volunteers serve more than 700 hours a year performing water monitoring services for a total savings of more than $15,000 per year.
Name of Group: Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Family Services Committee
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Kevin Gilmore
The family services committee serves to support low-income families in Sussex County in search of affordable housing and community services. This is accomplished through outreach, education and recruitment, providing continuous support to Habitat partner families and homeowners. This year alone, the volunteers have served more than 2,000 hours. They are inspiring as the “behind-the-scenes” source of strength and the foundation of our families’ success.
Name of Group: St. Phillips Youth Host Group
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Kevin Gilmore
St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church Youth Host Team has been and continues to be the strongest partner in Sussex County Habitat for Humanity’s youth program. The church opens its doors to house groups of up to 30 college and high school student youth groups who come from all over the country to serve Habitat work sites in Sussex County. They go above and beyond providing a place for the students to rest and recoup after a hard day on the build site. Since 2009, their hospitality helped contribute to the building of 34 homes.    
Name of Group: Delaware SPCA, Sussex Chapter Volunteers
Category: Other: animal welfare
Nominator: Christina Motoyoshi
The volunteers serve in a variety of areas that include animal care and husbandry, socializing and exercising the cats and dogs, assisting at low-cost vaccine clinics, transporting animals and countless other jobs.  Currently, there are more than 75 volunteers who serve more than 1,000 volunteer hours a month. Their efforts have helped match loving families with homeless animals, and have assisted Delaware residents in accessing low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics for their pets to stay healthy. The enthusiasm and support of the volunteers keeps the staff and the clients motivated, which in turn makes the animals happy.
Name of Group: Reading Assist Institute Volunteer Tutors
Category: Education
Nominator: Sue McGrath
The Reading Assist Institute (RAI) Volunteer Tutoring Program is unique in that volunteers provide small-group tutoring during the school day. Tutoring takes place in partner elementary schools, and struggling readers are placed with tutors at the recommendation of the school staff.  The volunteers in this program make a long-term commitment and receive more than 40 hours of intensive training, working at least one and a half days per week. During the 2011/2012 school year, 131 volunteer tutors served on 41 teams throughout Delaware at 36 different schools, tutoring 224 students. The volunteers also completed a staggering 2,536 hours of additional training, not including the 8,199 tutoring related hours. The volunteers are knowledgeable, prompt and professional, and impact the lives of Delaware children in all three counties.

Nominate Delaware’s Outstanding Volunteers

Delaware State SealNEW CASTLE  – Do you know an outstanding volunteer or volunteer group? The State Office of Volunteerism is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards.

The volunteer form is available on Nominations must be received by Aug. 20. To be eligible:


  • Service must be performed in Delaware and the nominee cannot receive employment compensation.
  • Nominees must be 18 years of age or older and out of high school.
  • Nominees may not nominate themselves or be nominated by a family member.
  • Previous Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award winners, individual or group, are not eligible for three years. State Office of Volunteerism staff and commissioners are not eligible.
  • Nominees must have been active within the previous 12 months. Nominators should also include information about long-term volunteer efforts.
  • Service may not be limited to partisan political involvement or religious activities, or solely for the benefit of an organization’s own membership.
  • Individual nominees must have volunteered a minimum of 100 hours and groups 250 hours.

“Every day across our state, volunteers donate their time and talents in the service of others,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Their selfless contributions build stronger communities and lift up individuals and organizations in need of support.  The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards is an opportunity to recognize individuals and groups for their service, and to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism in Delaware.”

More than 148,000 Delawareans volunteered in 2010, contributing 16.9 million hours of service to nonprofit and community organizations in 2010, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service. Another 41,000 Delawareans volunteered informally helping neighbors or working on community issues.

To find volunteer opportunities or to post the need for volunteer assistance, go to

“So many of the contributions from volunteers across Delaware directly complement the work of the Department of Health and Social Services,” said Rita Landgraf, Cabinet Secretary for DHSS, which oversees the State Office of Volunteerism. “We see how volunteers improve the quality of life for many of Delaware’s most vulnerable citizens. These awards are another chance for us to say thank you.”

Judging for the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards will take place in September and winners will be notified soon after that. The awards ceremony will be Oct. 25 in Dover.

For more information about the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards, go to, or contact Catherine Fox, Marketing and Media Coordinator, at the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 255-9745. Or contact Deborah Vandiver, New Castle County RSVP Program Manager, at the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 255-9878.


Delaware to Receive $600,000 in Federal Funding for AmeriCorps

Delaware State SealNEW CASTLE – Delaware will receive $600,000 from the Corporation for National and Community Service to support AmeriCorps members at nonprofit, faith-based or community organizations across the state for 2012-2013. The money will be distributed by the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

AmeriCorps funds are administered by each State Service Commission to assist local groups in recruiting, training and placing AmeriCorps members in areas with a critical need. In Delaware, the funding will support the service of AmeriCorps members at four or more agencies.

Interested agencies with a service opportunity in the priority areas of education, veterans and military families, economic opportunity, disaster management services, healthy outcomes and the environment must attend a mandatory information session in April and must submit proposals by May 4. In late June, the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service will announce the recipients, with AmeriCorps members beginning their service at member organizations on Oct. 1.

“The service of AmeriCorps members continues to be a worthy investment in the Delaware of today and of tomorrow,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Vulnerable Delawareans receive vital services from AmeriCorps members in education, economic opportunity, health and emergency services. I encourage more young Delawareans to join AmeriCorps, which provides invaluable work experience in potential career areas and lifelong lessons in the power of giving back.”

This year, 110 AmeriCorps members in Delaware serve with Connecting Generations, Ministry of Caring, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and YMCA Emergency Services Corps. In exchange for a year of service in Delaware (1,700 hours), members 17 and older receive:

  • Valuable work experience in their chosen field.
  • $5,350 to pay for college, graduate school or to pay back student loans.
  • Health coverage and loan deferment while in service.
  • In some cases, a living allowance of a minimum of $12,100.

“Through the strong support of our congressional delegation, Delaware received additional funds for administration of the AmeriCorps program and for program development and training of members,” Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. “Since its inception, AmeriCorps has served to provide stipend service opportunities and educational awards to members while addressing many critical needs of Delawareans. One of the positive results of that federal commitment is that we now find AmeriCorps alumni serving in leadership positions throughout our state.”

Since AmeriCorps began in Delaware in 1994, more than 2,000 members – including more than 1,000 who have served with AmeriCorps state programs — have given more than 2.6 million hours of service and qualified for educational awards totaling more than $5.95 million.

“This is great news for the First State and the communities ably served by AmeriCorps,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. “AmeriCorps has been a remarkable force for good in our neediest communities here in Delaware and around the country, and these federal funds will help them continue their good works in the First State. Just recently, I joined AmeriCorps members at an elementary school in Dover as they cleaned the school and completed several projects that will ultimately create a better learning environment. In other parts of our state, AmeriCorps members are building homes and supporting nonprofits. Without the efforts of these bright young men and women, many of these initiatives would not be possible. That is why I am so grateful for the continued support of AmeriCorps.”

“Volunteerism is a fundamental part of what it means to be American, and I’ve long believed that those who engage in volunteerism and service to others in fact get more out of it than they put into it.” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. “This funding will go a long way in helping local AmeriCorps members do exactly what they pledge to do, ‘…bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.’ AmeriCorps provides a wonderful avenue for people to bring their gifts, their talents and their unique spirit to volunteering. As New Castle County Executive, I helped launch a new AmeriCorps program, the Emergency Services Corps, to help recruit volunteer firefighters, conduct training on CPR and first aid, and provide fire awareness training for schoolchildren across our county. So far they’ve recruited more than 220 new volunteer firefighters and logged more than 100,000 hours of service to our community in the five years since it was created. This program is just one shining example of the hundreds of AmeriCorps programs across our country that are making a difference.”

“I’m very pleased that this grant allows AmeriCorps members to continue serving our communities,” said U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del. “Every day, dedicated AmeriCorps members set out to make Delaware a better place by serving those most in need. AmeriCorps members not only improve our state, but they learn valuable skills that will benefit them in the future, and set a positive example for others to follow. I’m proud to support the AmeriCorps and know that this funding will help inspire even more Delawareans to serve.”

Each year, more than 85,000 people join AmeriCorps, which was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. Across the country, more than 775,000 members have given more than 1 billion hours of service, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and improving the lives of countless citizens.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through Senior Corps and AmeriCorps, improves communities through the Social Innovation Fund, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

High-resolution photos of AmeriCorps members in Delaware are available on request.

For more information about AmeriCorps Delaware, go to or Or contact Charles Harris, AmeriCorps Program Officer, State Office of Volunteerism, at 255-9677.

Governor’s Outstanding Youth Volunteers Will Be Recognized April 4

Delaware State SealDOVER – Gov. Jack Markell will present Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards to 19 individuals and groups of young people April 4 at the Dover Downs Hotel ballrooms.

More than 300 people are expected to join the governor in honoring the young volunteers for their outstanding service. 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 $20 per person and are available at

“These young people from across our state exemplify the power of one. They show us how one person definitely can make a difference in so many lives,” Gov. Markell said. “It is my privilege to honor young people for volunteering their talents to help strengthen our communities. It will be my pleasure to thank our youth for turning their passion for public service into action.”

The 2012 award recipients participated in such diverse activities as mentoring peers, organizing a sports camp, overseeing volunteers at the food bank, working to stop bullying, making greeting cards for troops and veterans, supporting a fire company and organizing fundraisers. They are representative of Delaware’s young people who are making a positive contribution to society, and inspiring others to do the same.

The recipients are:

New Castle County (individuals): Emily Bollinger, Lauren Camp, Matthew Coyle, Cassie Lukasiewicz, Evan Cox, Joe Tigani, Christopher Willis and Tasheem Wilson.

New Castle County (groups): Conrad Student Mentors, Delaware Military Academy Student Mentors, Leasure B.E.A.R.S. Care Club and Odessa Fire Company Junior Members, 2011-2012.

Kent County (individuals): Sonya Modi, Kyle Spillane and Weston Williams.

Sussex County (individuals): Abigail Brown and Austin Gardner-Bowler.

Sussex County (groups): Cape Henlopen High School JROTC and Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf, whose department oversees the State Office of Volunteerism, said the honorees also are gaining experience that she hopes will extend throughout their lives.

“The true measure of any life is how well we serve a good greater than our own,” Landgraf said. “As volunteers, these young people have proved their passion for serving fellow Delawareans. As their life journeys continue, their commitment to lifting up others will be absolutely essential in helping to solve the problems we face as a state and a nation.”

The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the state Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, Serve Delaware, The Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service, and the Department of Education.

Eligible nominees include individuals or youth groups in which participants age 18 or younger are enrolled as a secondary school student during the 2011-2012 school year. Individuals and groups must be engaged in volunteer activities addressing community needs in Delaware, and must have volunteered at least 50 hours as an individual or 100 hours as a group.

For more information about the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards, go to To interview any of the winners or for more about the awards, contact Carrie Hart, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006.


Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards Winners

New Castle – Individual

Emily Bollinger

Community Service

Nominator: Lisa DiMaio, President, Cab Calloway PTA

Last summer, Emily Bollinger partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware and started the “Little Chicks with Sticks” Summer Camp, a nonprofit summer field hockey camp. She met with directors of the New Castle Boys and Girls Clubs, found volunteers, and ran the camp.  Additionally, she received a national grant from the U.S. Field Hockey Association for more than $3,000 for equipment. She and 20 of her high school field hockey teammates taught 50 middle school girls last summer and they plan to hold the camp again in 2012.

Lauren Camp

Community Service

Nominator: Veronica Marine, Teacher and Advisor, Appoquinimink High School

Lauren Camp’s passion for helping others shines through in the many volunteer activities and service opportunities in which she participates. Lauren serves as President of the Interact Club for Appoquinimink High School, where she leads a group of 50 plus students in providing volunteer service to the community. She also mentors and assists the Down Syndrome Association at many events. This is in addition to her work with the United Way, Salvation Army, Miles for Melanoma, Easter Seals, and Paws for Life.

Matthew Coyle

Community Service

Nominator: Beth Mattey, Advisor, Mount Pleasant High School

During his years at Mount Pleasant High School, Matthew Coyle has volunteered extensively both in and outside the school. He is a leader in the Knights Against Tobacco club, Relay for Life event, and assists with the school’s choral and theatre productions. In the community, Matt volunteers his time with the Wilmington Drama League, is a leader within his Boy Scout troop and is involved in the state anti- tobacco organization, Kick Butts Generation (KBG).

Cassie Lukasiewicz

Community Service

Nominator: Sharon Bryant, School Counselor

Cassie Lukasiewicz has volunteered more than 1,000 hours at the Charter School of Wilmington (CSW) and in her community. Last summer, she received a Certificate of Excellence for outstanding service to Christiana Care in the Pathology Lab and out-patient pharmacy. As a CSW Science Ambassador, she worked with inner-city elementary school students to promote a more meaningful appreciation of math and science. For the past three years, Cassie has also been an active member of several service clubs including, Kick Butts Generation, Support Our Soldiers Club, and Project HOPE.

Evan Cox

Human Needs

Nominator: Shirin Skovronski, Counselor, Newark High School

As a camp counselor at Camp Rodney, Evan Cox is educating and assisting the next generation of Boy Scouts. For five weeks during the summer, Evan assisted in all aspects of Camp Rodney, from teaching survival skills to cleaning buildings. In addition to his work with the Boy Scouts, Evan volunteers with the Food Bank, his school band, the First Presbyterian Church of Newark as well as many more local organizations.

Joe Tigani

Community Service

Nominator: Charma Bell, Program Director, The First Tee of Delaware

For the past several years, Joe Tigani has assisted The First Tee organization of Delaware by conducting fundraisers and encouraging other teens to give back to the community through golf.  During his tenure with First Tee, Joe has organized a silent auction, “Pennies for Putts,” raising more than $16,000 for this worthy organization. All proceeds go directly to start programs in local schools, giving students an opportunity to learn about golf and the positive values associated with the game.

Christopher Willis

Human Needs

Nominator: Trevor Turner and Jason Begany, Coordinators for the Food Bank of Delaware

Every Monday through Friday, Christopher Willis volunteers at the Food Bank of Delaware as a lead volunteer. Chris assists the Volunteer Coordinators manage the day-to-day operations of the volunteer room in the Food Bank’s Newark warehouse. While other high school students spend their afternoons in front of the TV or computer, Chris spends each afternoon alleviating hunger for the more than one in four Delawareans who depend on emergency food assistance.

Tasheem Wilson

Community Service

Nominator: Murat Kose, East Coast Director, Zakat Foundation of America

Tasheem Wilson’s volunteer activities range from teaching younger students, to raising funds for the disadvantaged, to organizing community events. As part of the Community Buddy Club, Tasheem meets with third-grade students at Richardson Elementary to explore new activities. As a Charter School of Wilmington Science Ambassador, she worked with inner-city school students to foster a love of science and math and serves on the Junior Council and the Cultural Awareness Club. Additionally, Tasheem has led and organized many projects through the Zakat Foundation Community Center.

Kent – Individual

Sonya Modi

Social Justice and Advocacy

Nominator: Julie McParlin, Teacher, Caesar Rodney High School

As President of the Blue/Gold Club, participant on the school’s Anti-Bullying Committee, and as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, Sonya Modi works tirelessly to promote inclusion, acceptance, and tolerance for all. For the Blue/Gold Club, Sonya has done everything from directing meetings to maintaining a Facebook page for members. Under her leadership, the number of club members has doubled and she led the implementation of new programs.

Kyle Spillane


Nominator: Colleen Holstein, Volunteer Coordinator, DuPont Nature Center

For the past three years, Kyle Spillane has welcomed visitors, assisted with educational programming and helped with the daily upkeep of the DuPont Nature Center and its live tanks. From assisting with housekeeping, to creating an exhibit for the Delaware State Fair, Kyle helps with everything at the Nature Center. In just the past year, Kyle has donated an impressive 470 hours to this worthy non-profit, as well as the Peach Blossom 4-H Club, and Harrington’s Ladies Auxiliary.

Weston Williams

Human Needs

Nominator: Karen Crouse, Leader, Harrington Sunshine 4-H Club.

Lake Forest Elementary student, Weston Williams knows how to give back.  In the last year, Weston has volunteered at the Felton United Methodist Food Pantry, the Kent Country SPCA, the Food Bank, and even organized volunteer projects. One such project was for the Food Bank.  While volunteering there, he noticed the lack of availability of peanut butter and was told no one had donated any. Feeling that kids who visited the Food Bank should have something they like to eat, Weston organized a local collection for peanut butter and jelly. Weston continued helping the Food Bank later when he volunteered with his mother for a mobile food giveaway.

Sussex – Individual

Abigail Brown


Nominator: Janet Hickman, Principal, Lord Baltimore Elementary

For her Girl Scout Gold Award, Abigail Brown completed a project entitled: “Honoring and Appreciating out Veterans and Soldiers.” She visited all of the first- through third-grade students at Lord Baltimore Elementary and assisted them in making cards, which were sent to the Veterans Hospital in Wilmington and to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, Abigail worked with the Lord Baltimore Buddy Club, a group of special education and other students who put together care packages and banners expressing their thanks and gratitude to those serving our country.

Austin Gardner-Bowler

Community Service

Nominator: Paula Wood, Create 2Learn and 2Lead 4-H Leader

In just this past year, Austin Gardner-Bowler has volunteered with several community organizations in the Milford area. From the Boys Scouts, to the Avenue U.M. Church to the Carlisle Fire Department, Austin is working to make a difference.  In 2010, Austin was a lead person in getting the 4-H Club in his area started and established monthly outreach and service as a key component to the program. Last year, the 4-H Club, in conjunction with the educational co-op, collected more than 1,000 donations of food and items for the local community.

New Castle – Group

Conrad Student Mentors


Nominator: Christina Saadeh, Coordinator, Richardson Park Elementary

Each week, 32 seniors from Conrad High School spend an hour mentoring at Richardson Park Elementary.  While with their student, the mentors help with homework, read, play a game, talk, and encourage their mentee. With an attendance average of 97 percent, these students show great dedication to their mentees and have made a positive difference in the lives of more than 50 Richardson Park students.

Delaware Military Academy Student Mentors


Nominator: Christina Saadeh, Coordinator, Richardson Park Elementary

Each week, 85 seniors from Conrad High School spend an hour mentoring at Richardson Park Elementary. While with their student, the mentors help with homework, read, play a game, talk, and encourage their mentee. These students make up nearly 25 percent of all the mentors in the Red Clay Consolidated School District and have made a positive difference in the lives of more than 200 Richardson Park students.

Leasure B.E.A.R.S. Care Club

Community Service

Nominator: Timothy Werbrich, Facilitator, Care Club

The Leasure Building Empowerment, Awareness, and Responsibility through Service (B.E.A.R.S.) Care Club empowers students to become active in planning and executing service projects. The scope and range of B.E.A.R.S. activities are wide-ranging. From collecting food for the Basket Brigade, to making holiday cards for those at Governor Bacon Health Center, these students are giving back to their community.

Odessa Fire Company Junior Members, 2011-2012

Public Safety

Nominator: Patricia Crilley

The Odessa Fire Company’s (OFC) Junior Members is a group of youths ages 16-18 who provide support for firefighting and company activities. These volunteers are essential to the running of the firehouse, from maintaining the vehicles, to taking part in Emergency Response training. They help to keep things moving ahead. Collectively, these outstanding volunteers have given more than 300 hours to the service of the OFC and the surrounding community.

Sussex – Group

Cape Henlopen High School JROTC

Community Service

Nominator: Teresa Wilkinson

The Cape Henlopen High School Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Program (JROTC) is involved in a wide variety of service.  Each year, these students give more than 1,000 hours to better their community. For Beebe Medical Center, these students planned and conducted a large scale disaster preparedness exercise. During the holidays, the JROTC members collected more than $4,000 and dedicated approximately 200 hours ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. These are just two examples of how these outstanding students gave back to their community.

Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences

Community Service

Nominator: Anna Moshier, Sussex Academy of the Arts and Sciences Board Member

Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS) consists of 325 highly motivated sixth- seventh- and eighth-graders from all over Sussex County. Each month, these outstanding youths give of their time and talents to improve the lives of those in their community. In addition to the student’s individual service, each grade or team completes a service project as a component of their learning expedition. Examples of past projects include collecting change to purchase animals for families in poverty, to collecting food for the Seaford Community Food Closet.