Maine's First Lady Presents 31st Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism
April 28th, 2017
AUGUSTA - On Monday, April 24 the First Lady, Ann LePage, presented the 31st annual Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism in the Hall of Flags at the Maine Capitol Building.
Every year during Volunteer Appreciation Week the Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism celebrate and recognize the exemplary work of Maine's most dedicated organizations, businesses, and citizens. At the same time, the awards seek to inspire others to follow in the footsteps of those recognized. The winners are selected because their efforts and leadership have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.
Julie Abbott received the Volunteer of the Year award. Last year she committed over 1,560 hours of service to Catholic Charities Maine (CCME) for their emergency assistance hotline, Relief and Hope. Through this program she helped more than 550 callers in 2016. For Julie, volunteering is a way of living in the community that extends beyond her 5 years of service at CCME. She has provided her own home to those in need and without hesitation assists neighbors who require just a little extra help with socialization, transportation, laundry, and many other issues.
Olivia Spelman was recognized at this year's Youth Volunteer of the Year. Olivia has been volunteering for more than 200 hours a year for 4 years, dedicating much of her time to the organization Furniture Friends. Because of her problem solving skills and quick initiative, which has resulted in two truckloads of bedding being donated to families and individuals in need, she was voted on to the board of directors as the first youth director. Additionally, Olivia has founded her own organization called, "Girls Can". The mission of this group is to increase access to peer mentoring and mutual support among young women and girls. Currently there are 30 members of Girls Can who range in age from elementary school to high school.
Megan McCue was selected for the Outstanding National Service Volunteer award. Megan is an AmeriCorps member serving with the REAL School's SySTEM REAL AmeriCorps sites in Brunswick, Raymond, and Macworth Island. For two years Megan as devoted nearly 1,800 hours annually to help students learn through SySTEM REAL's service learning activities. Megan not only succeeds with the academic goals for the 60+ students, but she also creates bonds by being a true ally, a genuine listener, and an effective communicator between teachers, students, staff, family members, and others involved.
Gift Interfaith Food Table (G.I.F.T.) received the Outstanding Nonprofit Volunteer Program award. Located in Presque Isle, this organization meets a primary need for very low-income citizens in Aroostook County: food. GIFT serves 120 families a month and in 2016 assisted 3,248 individuals with just 38 volunteers. In addition to the nutritious food they provide their communities, GIFT also helps senior citizens on fixed incomes obtain a limited variety of non-food commodities each month.
Additionally, Exemplary Service Awards were given to recognize the hard work and talents of 2 individuals and 1 organziation. These included Exemplary Volunteer of the Year Sara Brown for her work at Camp Sunshine; Exemplary Youth Volunteer of the Year, Colby Volkernick for his service to Rumford Hospital; and Exemplary Nonprofit Volunteer Program Maine Troop Greeters for their dedication to welcoming over 1.5 million troops to Bangor since 2003.
Also at the ceremony, the names of 481 individuals that were inducted to the 2017 Volunteer Roll of Honor were on display. During the past year, each of these individuals contributed 500 hours or more to programs scattered from Caribou to Farmington to York. To view the full list click here: 2017 Volunteer Roll of Honor.
Many thanks to our sponsors Unum, Bangor Daily News, Portland Sea Dogs, and Bangor Letter Shop for helping make the event not only possible, but also a success!
The Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS) manages the Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism on behalf of the Office of the Governor. MCCS builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers, fostering adoption of high quality volunteer management practices, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy.
Click HERE to view photos from the event!
For more information contact:
Planning and Research Associate
Maine Commission for Community Service