Volunteer Louisiana is proud to announce nine 2018 Champions of Service. These Champions of Service were selected from a pool of statewide nominees - people, groups and businesses in Louisiana - who demonstrate compassion and dedication, leadership and initiative or innovation and creativity in addressing community challenges while serving others. Volunteer Louisiana recognizes six regional champions as well as statewide AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and corporate champions.
The award winners are:
John Storey 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. John visited Texas on five occasions to help with disaster relief and recovery after Hurricane Harvey before visiting Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Irma disaster relief.
Jo Pease has been involved with Louisiana Youth Seminar (LYS), a high school leadership program held each summer, since its inception in 1971. Jo personally recruits and fundraises for LYS, singlehandedly creating a scholarship program. Additionally Jo serves with College Track New Orleans and serves on the Foundation board for Northwestern State University, her alma mater.
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 and volunteering at least three days a week at the museum. Lois is an ambassador for play and learning, and works diligently to create relationships with children, families, staff, volunteers and donors.
Olivia is a 16-year-old high school student who began a non-profit organization, A Work of heART, which travels to hospitals and provides art therapy to terminally ill children and young adults. Additionally, Olivia tutors students in Monroe and Ruston, volunteers at the Food Bank, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and with the Meals on Wheels program.
The Acadiana Homeschool Key Club consists of 50 high school age students who do a variety of service work including food drives, supporting the local food bank, cleaning military graves, playing bingo at nursing homes and supporting local Head Start programs.
Nadine began a non-profit organization, Visionary Philanthropic Media Arts Foundation, to mentor and teach neighborhood children leadership skills. She organizes and hosts community events to collect school supplies, feed the homeless, and engage neighborhood youth in educational projects to develop youth leadership and academic skills.
Jeanie is an AmeriCorps VISTA member with The Life of a Single Mom who has served more than 1,500 volunteer hours with the organization and made an impact supporting the organizations programs and events. As a single mom herself, Jeanie has achieved and exceeded the goals set before her as a VISTA and is always seeking ways to make valuable changes to the organization’s programming.
The Senior Corps volunteer team of Teresa and Lillie serve as Foster Grandparents at Woodland Park Magnet School in Hammond providing tutoring and mentoring to students. Teresa and Lillie go above and beyond their assigned duties helping to improve grades as well as social and emotional growth while helping to develop healthy behaviors and attitudes.
Blue Cross encourages volunteerism through its “Team Blue” program and last year, Blue Cross employees volunteered more than 21,000 hours of general labor and skilled pro bono assistance in marketing, HR and IT support to Louisiana’s nonprofits.
“Volunteerism shows the strength of Louisiana’s character and the resilience of our spirit," said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “I am proud to help honor the achievements of our service champions while encouraging others to become active volunteers in their communities.”
According to Judd Jeansonne, Executive Director of Volunteer Louisiana, “There are volunteers and national service members in every community who work tirelessly to improve the lives of Louisiana residents. We want to recognize the contributions of these everyday heroes and raise the profile of service and volunteerism in our great state.”
Volunteer Louisiana, along with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Volunteer Louisiana Foundation, will honor these winners at the Champions of Service Gala on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, during National Volunteer Week. The event will be held at the Capitol Park Museum and will feature a keynote address from Governor John Bel Edwards. Tickets and sponsorships will be available through the Volunteer Louisiana Foundation at www.VolunteerLaFoundation.org.
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.