2018 Champions of Service Gala

On Wednesday, April 18th, Volunteer Louisiana and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser honored nine Champions of Service at their 25th Anniversary Gala.  Governor John Bel Edwards was the keynote speaker and commended each awardee for their outstanding service.  Lt. Governor Nungesser, Volunteer Louisiana Executive Director Judd Jeansonne, Volunteer Louisiana Foundation President Jenny Korner, and Corporation for National and Community Service Senior Corps Director Deborah Cox-Roush shared public remarks and presented the awards. 

The following are the nine 2018 Champions of Service:

Lois Rector, Greater Capital Area Champion:  Lois has been a dedicated volunteer with the Knock Knock Children’s Museum since 2015, chairing the committee that helped create the Art Garden Learning Zone. Lois has also been very involved with the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, serving on their board for over 10 years.

Jeanie Pizzalato, AmeriCorps Champion: Jeanie is an AmeriCorps VISTA member with The Life of a Single Mom organization who has served more than 1,500 volunteers hours and has made an impact supporting the organization’s programs and events.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Corporate Volunteer Champion: Last year, Blue Cross employees gave more than 21,000 hours of community service in Louisiana.

John Storey, Lt Col, USAF Retired, Northwest Champion: John has a very extensive volunteer background supporting a large variety of community needs in the Shreveport/Bossier City area.  John has also volunteered extensively with disaster recovery, visiting Denham Springs on three separate occasions to help rebuild homes after the 2016 floods.

Olivia Cuthbert, Northeast Champion: Olivia is a 16-year-old high school student who began a non-profit organization, A Work of the heART, which travels to hospitals and provides art therapy to terminally ill children and young adults.  Olivia is also the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community State Honoree.

Nadine Robertson, Southeast/North Shore Champion: Nadine began her non-profit organization, Visionary Philanthropic Media Arts Foundation to encourage youth to be voices of change in their community.  Nadine organizes and hosts community events to engage neighborhood youth in service to their community.

Barbara Jo Pease, Greater New Orleans Champion: Jo Pease co-founded the Louisiana Youth Seminar (LYS) in 1971 and has served in every capacity with LYS, impacting over 10,000 students throughout her 47 year affiliation.

Teresa Floyd & Lillie Thomas, Senior Corps Champion: Teresa & Lillie serve as Foster Grandparents at Woodland Park Magnet School in Hammond, providing tutoring and mentoring to students.  With a combined 14 years of service as Foster Grandparents, Teresa and Lillie go above and beyond their assigned duties to not only address academics, but also student’s emotional needs in and out of the classroom.

Acadiana Homeschool Key Club, Southwest Champion: The Acadiana Homeschool Key Club has a significant impact on their community, raising over $12,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and three local non-profits, collecting over 8,000 lbs of food during a Mardi Gras food drive, as well as supporting numerous other projects and events throughout the year.  For the current school year, Acadiana Homeschool Key Club members are on track to accumulate 8,000 service hours.

2018 marks the 25th Anniversary of Volunteer Louisiana, the State Service Commission. Volunteer Louisiana manages 17 AmeriCorps State programs, promotes volunteerism, and coordinates spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers in times of disaster. It is supported by grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service and is housed in Office of Lt. Governor.