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The Governor's Service Awards are presented annually in recognition and appreciation to individuals, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, SeniorCorps volunteers, and AmeriCorps members for their outstanding contributions to volunteerism and service throughout Colorado. Those recognized by these awards have gone above and beyond to make our state a better place to live.
The awards were presented at a special awards ceremony at the First Baptist Church of Denver on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.
To view photos from the 2018 Ceremony visit Serve Colorado's Facebook album.
The recipients of the 2018 Governor's Service Award are:
Miguel volunteers with Grand River Meals on Wheels, LIFTUP Meal Monkeys, and at Rifle High School. He recently received the Garfield County Humanitarian Award. Miguel is a humanitarian at heart, willing to draw others into a life of service. He volunteers with many organizations, but his community legacy lies with the Meal Monkey program. Miguel's school district has a four-day week because of district finances. Meal Monkey is a mobile lunch program that provides free lunches for children on Fridays and throughout the summer, helping to maintain student nutrition year round. Miguel has helped with Meal Monkey for the past three years and even recruited his replacement team as he prepares to go to college. Kaaren Peck, Director of Volunteer Services at Grand River Health, added, "It appears Miguel has Tom Sawyer’s ability to bring others into volunteerism by making it fun and personally fulfilling."
Scott has dedicated his career to our natural lands. He led conservation corps crews in Utah and Colorado before serving as a Wilderness Ranger and Wildland Firefighter. Scott joined Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) in 2011 as associate director and became the executive director in 2014. CYCA changes the lives of nearly 2,000 youth, young adults, and military veterans each year. In 2017 alone, CYCA enrolled 671 young people in AmeriCorps service to build and maintain nearly 300 miles of trails, remove 22,174 invasive tree species, treated 1,726 acres for urgent risk of woodland fire, and contributed more than 34,000 hours of service. Chris Castilian, Executive Director of Great Outdoors Colorado said, "You will find no better champion for introducing youth from across the country to serve in Colorado. They just need to be prepared to work hard and follow in Scott’s gigantic footprints."
Cliff served as a bombardier in the Navy and still maintains a sense of service as a RSVP Volunteer in Weld County. As part of the Seniors Helping Other People (SHOP) program, he uses his handyman skills to provide estimates for the cost and design for modifications that meet building codes. In 2009, RSVP received an unoccupied building to expand their space, and in 2016, Cliff assisted in all the repairs and adapting the building for the SHOP program’s use. He has reached out to inspire community leaders to support RSVP with their gifts and support. Marcia Shafer, Director of RSVP of Weld County, said, "At 84, Cliff can swing a mean hammer as many of the 25 ramps built this last year shows. His very presence out front of homes inspires others as he gives back to the community."
Despite being incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2014, Youth Celebrate Diversity has a 25-year history of bringing teachers, community members, and high school students together for the Cherry Creek Diversity Conference. This event welcomes more than 1,000 high school students and teachers from every geographical and socioeconomic background in Colorado. Students learn about social topics affecting their schools and are challenged to conduct an empowerment project back in their school or community after the conference. Actions taken include student councils passing resolutions to make their schools safe for everyone, students forming diversity clubs for ongoing programming, the creation of diversity conferences at multiple high schools, and hundreds of community service projects over the years.
Roxanne is passionate about providing children with caring adults who can help to steer them in a good direction. She serves as a resource to Poudre Learning Center’s other VISTAs, volunteers, and interns, all while making an extra effort to volunteer at events hosted by fellow VISTAs who are struggling with their service term. Roxanne helps with grant writing, program development, and volunteer coordination in support of programming that encourages children to have early exposure to science through hands-on activities. She has recruited, engaged, and retained dozens of volunteers for the organization’s Families Investigating Science at Home (FISH) program, summer camps, and a local triathlon. Roxanne has even secured a $50,000 grant to use towards a new building to engage visitors in nature exploration and learning.
Bob retired in 2008 as the president of Colorado Mountain College. With a desire to help those in the rural community of Garfield County, Bob joined RSVP’s Tax Assistance Program to help prepare and file federal and state income taxes. Then he joined the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which helps beneficiaries with Medicare. As an Ombudsman, Bob protects the wishes of elderly persons in long-term care facilities. He works tirelessly to help long-term care residents obtain the appropriate legal, social-recreational, physical, and emotional services necessary for quality of life with dignity. Bob is a mentor to his fellow volunteers. Patty Daniells, Program Director of High Country RSVP, added, "While his knowledge, dedication, and attention to detail are admirable, it is his gracious and compassionate nature that contributes to making him an outstanding volunteer leader."
Tamara is in her fourth year of service with Boomers Leading Change, an AmeriCorps Encore program. She provides health navigation services to refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and countries due to war or persecution. Tamara serves clients who either do not speak English or speak limited English. She helps them establish medical and psychiatric care and access to resources. To help meet the needs of her clients, Tamara is willing to engage in complex and difficult problem-solving. She says, "My AmeriCorps service has given me back so much more than I have given. As a surprising side benefit, I have found that my service has been incredibly rewarding and has made me a much happier and healthier person."
AmeriCorps NCCC Sun Team 7 includes Walter Gilles, Carter Barba, Quentarrius Cole, Vladimir Defoor, James Esteban, Julie McAllister, and Kate Whitty. Sun Team 7 serves the youth of Eagle County with Youth Power 360. The organization engages children from low-income families through programs like providing summer activities that include an academic curriculum along with physical activities, fun, and enjoyment. Sun Team 7 made more than 300 calls to families of potential participants. Despite a language barrier, more than 200 children were enrolled in the program. They’ve helped organize and implement a soccer program for children ages 3-5. Sun Team 7 received disaster preparation training and loaded more than 1,000 sandbags quicker than expected. They also served in Casa Grande, Arizona and Taos, New Mexico.
Patrick is a two-term AmeriCorps alum, having served with both Mile High Youth Corps and Colorado Youth for a Change's Reading Corps. During his most recent term of service, he went above and beyond in serving students at Riverdale Elementary. Patrick was patient, kind, encouraging, and always went the extra mile to help students succeed. He organized a service day for the other tutors to pick up around their community and plant trees. Jennifer Reming, a Master Coach with Colorado Youth for a Change, wrote, "He truly wants to make a difference in this world and has been deeply impacted from his service."
Dian served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria as a French teacher starting in 1969. When war broke out in Nigeria, she continued her service in Sierra Leone as a community development volunteer. While there, she observed local midwife practices and was inspired to change careers and become a midwife. She has spent the last 35 years serving as a midwife and increasing access to other innovative community health programs. Through her practice, she provides cost-effective OBGYN services to women who would not otherwise have access to care. Over the years, she’s delivered more than 2,300 babies and built a practice, Womencare, that delivers over 200 babies a year. She inspires others to become midwives, and her work has even been the subject of a NPR profile on seniors who work in their 70s.