34th Annual Governor’s Service Awards Recipients
Years ago while analyzing her school’s test scores by demographic, Kimberly Coleman noted a tremendous discrepancy between the school’s overall scores and the average scores for English Language Learners (ELL). She studied the benefits of bilingual literacy and proposed an alternate Spanish course for her Spanish-speaking ELL students. After implementing the course, 71% of students demonstrated the ability to communicate meaningfully using the English language. Believing that her work is bigger than the classroom, Kim began organizing biennial field trips to Spanish-speaking countries to expand student experiences. To fundraise for these trips, she started an annual 5K race in Patterson Park, which raised $28,000 toward student trip scholarships in 2016 and has become a tradition for the school community. Kim’s vision for her classroom is to prepare her students for a global atmosphere and leverage multiculturalism not just to advocate for the utility of Spanish, but also to expand student horizons as global citizens.
Giant Food, LLC is headquartered in Landover, Maryland and operates 168 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. The Giant Food Distribution Center, located in Jessup, Maryland, supplies all of the Giant stores and contributes food to seven schools in the Howard County Public School System. Their contributions have focused on promoting health, nutrition, and food stability for children in need, by ensuring that students have healthy meals during the holidays and over extended school breaks. During the 2016-2017 school year, Giant provided families with 27 full Thanksgiving meals, 25 holiday meals over winter break, and nearly 600 boxes of organic, nonperishable foods. In response to a principal’s concern about hunger over Spring break, Giant created a free farmer’s market experience to serve over 45 families at a school, with leftover produce distributed to families at neighboring schools.
Shelby McNeill, a 2017 theatre arts graduate of Stevenson University, began volunteering on school productions at her former high school, Woodlawn, during the 2015-2016 school year. Despite growing up in a stable home, Shelby was able to connect with students of all backgrounds, including those in foster care, living in group homes, or with non-parent relatives. Shelby’s service was motivated by her students’ need for acceptance. In addition to directing students in a school-wide production, she formed and led the “drama circle” where students were allowed to share before beginning any theatrical work. In this setting, students with difficult life journeys expressed themselves and gained self-confidence. The drama club went from having 15 students when Shelby began volunteering to more than 40 students in the following school year … in large part, because of Shelby’s outreach.
Mina Work was in middle school when she started noticing the effects of Lyme disease. She missed most of her seventh grade year and lived in constant pain. Her mother, also a chronic sufferer of the disease, was misdiagnosed for years. Mina’s interest in finding better tests for the disease encouraged her to take biological science classes in high school and she decided that to make a difference, she needed to educate herself and her community in southern Anne Arundel County, a region highly affected by the disease. She designed a Lyme Disease Awareness project and formed a panel of community members who had been diagnosed with Lyme. Mina’s project directly served at least 160 people through advocacy and resource awareness and her work culminated in more than 100 hours of service to her community.
Gary R. Martin
For some guys, retirement means golfing, long naps, and cutting the lawn each day. But not for Gary R. Martin. Gary is what Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County refers to as a “Friday Guy”. He is among a group of five retired men who spend their Fridays building homes for those in need. Yet even though considered a Friday Guy, Gary volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. When speaking about his motivation, Gary’s son Doug says, “he likes seeing the look of sincere gratefulness on people’s faces when they finally glimpse at the end results. He is happy with a handshake, a thank you, or a hug.”
Born into a volunteer firefighter family, volunteering runs through Alex Wade’s blood. His father was an active member of the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company for more than 20 years; his uncle has been a prominent member for more than 40 years; and his aunt is a life member and current vice president of the Ladies Auxiliary to the fire company. As a child, Alex went with his dad to the fire station for social visits, meetings, work details, and trainings. So, it was no surprise when Alex joined the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company once he reached the required minimum age of 16. Often, Alex has been the senior firefighter on duty and crew leader, responsible for ensuring his crew’s safety and effective operation during emergencies. In addition, when he was a “live-in”, he responded to emergencies on most days and sometimes was the only firefighter on duty other than the apparatus driver. Alex has been one of the top responders every year since he joined the company in 2009, averaging 540 emergency calls per year.
Court Watch Montgomery
Court Watch Montgomery was created in 2010 by two local advocates tired of seeing domestic violence victims face tremendous obstacles and unsatisfactory treatment in court. They gathered a few men and women to monitor civil and criminal domestic violence hearings in Montgomery County district and circuit courts every day through the year. Volunteers are trained to collect data, impartially and respectfully, on how each case is handled. They meet at private homes, coffee bars, or places of worship to discuss what they hear, enhance their data collection, and discuss strategies. In 2016, volunteers devoted 8,600 hours to domestic violence solutions, monitoring over 1,000 cases in the county. Court Watch Montgomery’s data and reporting on domestic violence gun violence prompted the formation of the Governor’s Family Violence Council’s Gun Removal Implementation Work Group. As a result, new legislation and updated procedures are on track to ensure convicted domestic violence criminals are dispossessed of firearms.
Gary Cahn is a renaissance man with a big heart and who loves to teach, say his colleagues at the Washington Metropolitan Oasis. After retiring from the corporate world, Gary began volunteering for a number of organizations and returned to his first love – teaching. He conducts classes on topics he is passionate about, such as bridge, ice skating, photography, master gardening, and savvy investing. And he creates his own comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand, curricula. In a quest to help adults learn to use computers, Gary founded Recycle My Computer, a program that donates refurbished, used computers to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. In 2016 alone, Gary volunteered 416 hours for Recycle My Computer, refurbishing and giving away computers to approximately 118 low-income seniors.
Miriam Zadek was born the only hearing child in a family of three sisters. Four generations of her family have congenital severe to profound hearing loss. Her father became hard of hearing in his 20’s. For Miriam, her family background fostered a passion for the facilitation of effective communication. Upon earning a bachelor and master’s degree, she became certified by Gallaudet University to help the hard of hearing cope with their communication needs. She joined The Hearing and Speech Agency (HASA) in 1975, serving in roles, including social worker and interim executive director. In 1986, she founded HASA’s Centralized Interpreter Referral Service, the first American Sign Language interpreting agency in Baltimore. It remains the only nonprofit, interpreting organization in Maryland. After retiring, she joined the board in 1994. When asked about her more than 40 year history with HASA, she said: “From the moment I arrived, it was like coming home … I owe so much to the families who shared their lives with me. We learned together. As a board member, I take delight in the many ways in which HASA serves the community. It is a glorious world.”
Following federal retirement after 34 years of service, Debra Prohaska has been extremely involved in her community. For the past five years, following her brother’s death due to alcoholism, she has served as member and president of the board for The Jude House, Inc. The Jude House opened in 1972 as an effort to help one man. Today, it is operated by both professional staff and volunteers who provide alcohol and narcotics addiction treatment to 57 clients a month. Debra has taken The Jude House from a State Closure List to a Governor’s Top 10 facility. Under her leadership, The Jude House has received recognition from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), acknowledging its commitment to pursuing excellence in health, human services, and quality improvement. She also led the opening of the St. Mary’s Outpatient Program, a coordination of tri-county services to provide a needed recovery program in St. Mary’s County and the first footprint of services provided by The Jude House outside of Charles County.
Gabrielle Caddell began her service as an AmeriCorps member with Volunteer Maryland in 2016. She was placed at The SEED School of Maryland in southwest Baltimore and tasked with revitalizing their volunteer program. Established in 2008, The SEED School is a public, college-preparatory boarding school that prepares underserved students from across Maryland for success in college and beyond. Prior to Gabrielle’s service, the school developed a volunteer program to provide tutoring and mentoring to the lowest-performing students with the help of volunteers, but was not successful. After Gabrielle joined, the program was elevated. She fostered relationships with individuals, nonprofits, and private organizations. With her help, the school was able to engage 20 volunteers who have provided academic tutoring to 27 sixth graders. Thanks to the program, students have acquired soft skills, including respect for professional spaces, having positive interactions with adults, proper notetaking, being punctual, and organization.
NONPROFIT VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Building Families for Children – Safe Families for Children Program
Safe Families for Children, a program of Building Families for Children, was launched in 2011 to meet the needs of children and families in crisis in Central Maryland. Safe Families was created to help children avoid state foster care programs, prevent child abuse and neglect, and help provide family support and stability. The program provides screened and approved host homes to care for children, so that parents can achieve stability. Entire families volunteer together to serve as a host home for children. Safe Families continues to provide support even after a hosting has ended through family-friend relationships – just like an extended family. In 2016, Safe Families had 19 hostings, 26 family-friend relationships, and served 19 children and 17 families, resulting in more than 20,000 hours of service. All of the children served in 2016 were reunited with their families due to the support provided by the Safe Families program.
William “Billy” Berg
William “Billy” Berg has been employed as a fire fighter with the State of Maryland at the BWI Fire and Rescue Department for more than 15 years, protecting airport employees, the travelling public, and the surrounding businesses and communities. Outside of his work, Billy is the head event organizer for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Havre De Grace Head Shaving Fundraiser. Billy was inspired to volunteer after attending an event hosted by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, where he heard stories of children who survived cancer thanks to the research funded by the organization. This had a profound effect on Billy who believed he could do more. He got in touch with the foundation and today, the Havre De Grace Head Shaving Fundraiser is in its 4th year. Billy works tirelessly in his limited-off time to organize the event and reaches out to business, volunteer, and professional organizations to participate or donate. In 2016, the event raised $80,000. And since its inception, has raised more than $300K.
David Duitscher, a local retiree and veteran who served in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years, is the lead volunteer in the We Honor Veterans program of Coastal Hospice. David leads veteran volunteers and also personally makes home visits where he presents patients with a personalized award certificate and a patriot lap blanket, many of which he has personally donated. The veteran-to-veteran connection is what makes his visits special. He listens and understands their stories, and salutes their service. In 2016, David volunteered 273 hours and made 215 patient visits with Coastal Hospice. Since he began volunteering with the organization in 2001, David has contributed nearly 3,000 hours to the organization and its patients.
Meghan Quinn joined Glen Echo Fire Department when she reached the minimum age of membership at 16. She has been an active part of the department through her different life stages – as a high school student, an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, and currently as a medical student and naval ensign at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda. Meghan is motivated by a desire to stay involved in her community. While others volunteer as an extracurricular to help get into college or medical school, Meghan has made volunteering a part of her life. Despite being required to attend clinical rotations for 44 weeks during 2016, Meghan found time to staff the apparatus for 642 hours, responding to over 50 emergencies, putting her among the department’s most active volunteers.
Grace E. G. Callwood
Grace E. G. Callwood, age 13, is the seventh grade, visionary leader of The We Cancerve Movement, Inc. – a nonprofit she founded in 2012 to bring swift solutions to homeless, sick, and foster children. At age seven, Grace was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer. Confused and scared, she started to blame herself for her situation, but later realized that she did nothing wrong to deserve the diagnosis and wanted to let other children know that too. Since it was established, Grace’s nonprofit has helped more than 4,000 children through cash and in-kind donations. In 2016 alone, Grace oversaw donations including 405 Eggstra Special Easter baskets and 271 goodie bags for several homeless shelters, hospitals, and a group home. In addition, Grace gave $5,000 of the $25,000 prize she won as a 2015 Peace First Fellow to the We Cancerve Patient Assistance Fund at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.
GOVERNOR’S CHAMPION OF SERVICE AWARD
J. W. Marriott, Jr.
J. W. Marriott, Jr., is the executive chairman and chairman of the board of Marriott International, Inc., the largest lodging company in the world. After graduating from college in 1954, Mr. Marriott went on to serve as an officer in the United States Navy, where he learned a few important principles that have guided him throughout his life – first is respect for all members of your organization and second is the value in asking good questions. Mr. Marriott is proud that his associates use words like values, respect, and determination to describe their experience at Marriott International. Even more important is that his company is a place people from all backgrounds, including military service, feel like they belong. Mr. Marriott has worked to develop a culture of service at Marriott International, ensuring that their properties engage the communities they serve by participating in community service activities. He also has spent countless hours serving communities through the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations that provide resources for health, workforce development, and education.