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35th Governor’s Service Awards

Cathryn Paul
Cathryn Paul served as an AmeriCorps member with the New Americans Opportunity Project for Maryland program, a grantee of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism from September 2016 to August 2017. As an AmeriCorps member, Cathryn helped community members improve their financial capability, prepare their income taxes, and guide eligible Lawful Permanent Residents in applying for American citizenship. Since her time as an AmeriCorps member, Cathryn has returned many times to continue to support the mission of New Americans Opportunity by volunteering as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, also known as VITA, site coordinator during tax season to assist low-income community members. Through her leadership, Cathryn has led and coordinated AmeriCorps members and volunteers, while still attending to her full-time job, in serving over 200 people. Of her service, a volunteer she recruited shared, “If you are back, I will do it again. It is a pleasure serving with you.” And a low-income tax payer stated, “Our family was better off last year thanks to Cathryn’s advice on how to spend our tax refund. It is really nice to see [her] this year again.”

Skyline Technology Solutions
Skyline Technology Solutions, headquartered in Glen Burnie, supports the information technology needs of Maryland state agencies, such as the Department of Transportation, Department of Information Technology, and Automobile Insurance Fund. Just as important to Skyline is its dedication to employee volunteerism. Each year, Skyline’s employees are provided with 40 hours of paid leave to volunteer at the nonprofits of their choice. Employees have volunteered with a variety of organizations, including the Maryland Food Bank, Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Girls and Boys Club, and in other countries, including Haiti and Ghana. Maryland Food Bank’s Chief External Affairs Officer, Meg Kimmel, sums it up well, “The Maryland Food Bank is truly appreciative of the volunteers who help us pack, harvest and distribute food across the state. Skyline Technology, however, is in a category of their own. Their corporate values of doing good and giving back have translated in donations of both time and talent that have made the Maryland Food Bank a stronger, more impactful organization. Skyline Technology is more than a provider of volunteers to the Maryland Food Bank. They are our partner.”

Yuri Chia
Yuri Chia is a senior pursuing a dual degree in economics and engineering at Goucher College and Johns Hopkins University. Yuri has dedicated himself to several service activities, including serving as an English tutor, interpreter, and president of a local chapter of the National Chinese Honor Society. Yuri’s inspiration comes from a passion for connecting people across cultures and enhancing understanding. He has done this through promoting Maryland-Taiwan Rotary Youth Exchanges, and through arranging a visit between a Chinese delegation and a Baltimore City council member. Additionally, Yuri has been instrumental in not only bringing Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan to Towson University for a visit, but also in coordinating an exchange between former Baltimore Orioles player Wei-Yin Chen and students at Towson High School and University.

Gaithersburg High School
Gaithersburg High School has a large population of underserved students, as well as many students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages and Free and Reduced Meal programs. For these students, earning student service-learning hours has been an issue of equity due to lack of time out of school to participate in activities outside of the school, working to support their household, serving as caretakers for their families, and language barriers. On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, students initially entered their school’s auditorium for the day of service not taking the service project they were about to participate in seriously, until their guest speaker began to talk. At that moment, the students began to engage actively in the service project – creating Comfort Cases, which contain supplies for foster kids, so they don’t have to carry their belongings around in a trash bag. After completing their service project, the students reflected such ideas as, “This project opened my eyes to how easy and fun it is to give back.” “I learned that I could be doing so much more.” “I learned that I am more motivated to act when I see that my actions have the potential to impact others.” “My community will look at me in a different way like someone they can count on.”

Janet Gentry
Janet Gentry began leading the holiday program at St. Margaret Church in 1993, with a focus on rallying a team of volunteers to prepare food baskets for Thanksgivings, and gifts and food for Christmas for those in need. Because of Janet’s desire to make each gift personal, she ensures that each family receives a grocery store gift certificate for perishable items to supplement the food baskets. She also coordinates volunteers to make thousands of angel tags, with wishes documented on them, to hang on trees during Christmas, making sure each child receives three gifts, and adults receive important household items. Even outside of the holiday season, Janet leads a group of parishioners throughout the year to provide dinners to those in need. Her generosity is contagious and can be witnessed in the hundreds of volunteers who want to jump in and help. She brings a sense of community to those around her and her drive to get things done for those in need motivates others to make every program a success.

Matthew N. Silverman
Mathew Silverman began his law enforcement career in 2001 and shortly after September 11, moved to New Jersey to serve on one of the first teams of Federal Air Marshals. He eventually moved to Annapolis in 2005 and quickly got involved in the community, attending events and becoming certified as a community police officer. This allowed Mathew to do what he enjoys most – helping people, giving back, and especially, building bonds between law enforcement and the community. Mathew serves as the law enforcement liaison for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and volunteer coordinator for its Badges for Baseball program. This past year, he spent over 100 hours coordinating camps for hundreds of underprivileged kids from across the county, as well as officers from over 20 law enforcement departments across the state to come to the camp and serve as mentors. In addition to this, Mathew was instrumental during the civil unrest in Baltimore, volunteering with activists to coordinator community events and rebuild bonds.

Greater Baltimore Urban League (GBUL) Volunteer Auxiliaries – Guild and Young Professionals
The Greater Baltimore Urban League (GBUL) Auxiliaries – Guild and Young Professionals serve as the professional volunteer arm of the Greater Baltimore Urban League. The Guild and Young Professionals are distinguished only by their age – the Guild consisting of members over 40 years old and the Young Professionals consisting of those 21 to 40 years old. All members are college-educated and represent diverse professions across sectors. Both groups provide fundamental support to GBUL’s flagship Saturday Leadership Program, which provides students in grades 8 through 12 with college and career readiness. Through the program, students from neighborhoods where as few as 17% of adults are college-educated and 63% go to college, are exposed to adults who can prepare them for the future. The Guild and Young Professionals provide project management for the program to refine and improve it each year, in addition to engaging parents and conducting program sessions. Quintessentially, the Guild and Young Professionals serve as the “face of the Urban League.” When asked what words come to mind when they think of the Saturday Leadership Program, these words reflect the impact of the auxiliaries: fun, amazing, life-changing, family, caring, supportive, uplifting, inspiring, trustworthy, and love.

Abdul Hai Sheikh
When Abdul Sheikh entered retirement, he took a course on writing memories at Montgomery College and was inspired to start a program for seniors to write about their unique . He convinced the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation (MCMF) to start such a group and it evolved from there. The seniors group, now consisting of 30 members from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, provides weekly trips, yoga, health and safety lectures, and computer literacy classes to its participants. In addition to leading the seniors program, Abdul serves as the volunteer refugee coordinator for MCMF having jumped at the opportunity to help Syrian refugees, seeking to help give others the opportunities that he experienced when he first emigrated to the United States. He has been able to help 80 refugee families and arrange items, such as car donations, job opportunities, and food and supplies for families. In hislast remaining minutes of free time, Abdul also has used his engineering background to serve as the volunteer construction manager for a future community center to include a senior lounge, clinic, and classrooms.

Virginia Simoneau
Ginny Simoneau has been a leader in the early childhood community in Frederick County for over 32 years. An army veteran, Ginny also was the originating director of the Children’s Center of Walkersville, which has achieved accreditation from the Maryland Department of Education and the highest level in quality rating from Maryland EXCELS. When Ginny began volunteering, early childhood issues were not at the forefront of larger conversations. In addition, she knew that investment in early childhood development was much more effective than investment in remediation later on and brought this focus to the Frederick County Local Management Board. As a result of her efforts, a program was established to fund training and coaching to over 60 child care programs and benefited more than 500 children. Ginny’s motivation is “all about the children.”

Carolyn Core
Carolyn Core is president and chief executive officer of Core Healthcare Consulting, LLC.  Carolyn has over 29 years of experience as a leader in the healthcare field. Carolyn currently chairs the board of Sagepoint Senior Living Services, leading operations and real-estate, and has also been influential in re-establishing the organization’s philanthropy program. Carolyn’s inspiration to serve stems from her experience visiting her grandfather at nursing homes as a child and recalling how some residents didn’t get to see their families and didn’t always receive the best of care. Carolyn was motivated to join Sagepoint after seeing its positive impact on its seniors and families. As chair, Carolyn has worked to improve the performance of the board, increase its diversity, orchestrated an effective relationship between the company and the local hospital to ensure high quality of care for seniors, and more. In addition, under her leadership, Sagepoint has been recognized twice as a five-star Medicare rated community, selected as the Charles County Chamber’s Nonprofit of the Year, and awarded the Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award.

Peter B. Rosenwald, II
Peter B. Rosenwald, II joined the board of directors for the Maryland Food Bank in 2012 and has served as board chairman since 2015. With his extensive experience serving on nonprofit boards, including service as past member and chairman of the board for the American Red Cross of Central Maryland and past board member of the United Way of Central Maryland, Peter realized that he could help restore financial soundness to the food bank while it underwent restructuring. As the food bank had dramatically increased the amount of food it provided, costs to the food bank also went up. Under Peter’s leadership, the food bank was able to cut operating costs and move from an annual deficit in fiscal year 2015 to a projected surplus. He also helped to navigate a leadership transition and rebuild the board of directors in the quantity and quality of its members. Further, Peter helped to maintain relationships with key funders, returning the food bank’s philanthropy program to a growth position.

Kelci Reiss
Kelci Reiss began her service as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) member through Strong City Baltimore in July 2017. She served at her placement, Charm City Clinic, with the goal of expanding the clinic to a new location to provide access to additional marginalized communities in the city. However, Kelci didn’t stop there. In addition to doing an assessment of community needs at the new clinic location, she implemented new practices into the operations at both locations. She also identified new partnerships to go beyond providing clients with a basic physical. As she also worked towards a master’s degree during her service, Kelci served more hours at Charm City Clinic than expected and often served six days a week at uncommon times to ensure there were no gaps at the site. In addition, Kelci fostered relationships with clients, recruited over 70 new volunteers, and helped to raise $25,000 to keep the clinic running.

Mezu International Foundation
Mezu International Foundation Inc (MIF) was created in 2012 by Drs. Rose and Sebastian Mezu to provide free vision screenings and a soup kitchen to low-income members in the community. To date, over 1,000 people have received free health check-ups, eyeglasses, and eye exams from volunteer licensed optometrists. With the goal of addressing disparities in vision care, reducing mortality, and preventing vision loss, MIF works with community members and partner organizations to identify people who cannot afford comprehensive eye exams and glasses. Over 70% of patients seen at its community health fairs are children living below the federal poverty level. MIF is supported by a volunteer network of over 100 individuals, including students who provide up to 40% of volunteer support for its work.

Effie Cox
Effie Cox has been a Maryland State Employee serving at the Worcester County Health Department for more than five years. Outside of work, Effie has been a leader on environmental issues and education on the Eastern Shore, in roles including board member for the Town of Ocean City’s Environmental Legislative Committee; founding member, and chairperson for scholarships and the environment with the Ocean City Surf Club; and founder and coordinator of the Adopt Your Beach program. Effie is motivated by a desire to honor military members and their families for their sacrifices, especially as three generations of her family served as doctors in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. That combined with her love for the environment and the belief that it is her duty to teach her kids by example, has led her to use education to make lasting changes. In 2017, Effie served 2,200 hours while working full-time. And through the Adopt Your Beach program, she led over 600 volunteers in collecting more than 8,000 pounds of trash along 10 miles of Maryland’s oceanfront beaches.

Charles Douglas Harris
In 2012, Charles Douglas Harris was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. As a result, he lost both of his legs and part of his right arm. However, he didn’t lose his resiliency, spirit or motivation. Charles reached out to the Maryland Hunter Education Program to become a hunter education instructor. He has excelled in this role. Since becoming an instructor, Charles has taught over 600 students and dedicated almost 350 hours of service, serving as a true asset to the program. Charles is also the founder of Operation Heroes Support, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting outdoor events for disabled veterans and now serves almost half of the country.

Christina Zhou
A senior at Atholton High School, Christina Zhou grew up surrounded by people who revered education and embraced this way of early on. At her parents’ education business, she noticed a group of students, bright but easily-distracted, and realized that group tutoring was not a good fit for students with attention learning disabilities. However, many of these students couldn’t afford private tutoring. Christina started Teach for the Future to provide free, one-on-one tutoring to differently-abled students. Through the program, 68% of students have improved their and all have mastered fundamental math. Christina also is the founder of her school club, Feed the Future. The club has worked with school administrators to make its community service drives successful. The club has successfully raised over $600 by selling baked goods and has prepared two dinners for families at the Ronald McDonald House. Christina also leads her school’s Science, Technology Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics Team, or STEAM for short. With the STEAM Team, Christina has refurbished an existing outdoor classroom and created a new one. The team has also successfully installed water bottle filters throughout the school.

Calvin G. Butler, Jr.
Calvin G. Butler, Jr. is is the chief executive officer of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), the nation’s first gas utility. Mr. Butler is responsible for ensuring BGE’s successful execution of safety, reliability, customer service, diversity and inclusion. While leading BGE, Mr. Butler has set a culture for all employees to focus on giving back to the community and embracing diversity and inclusion at work and in the communities where they serve. Under Mr. Butler’s leadership and commitment, over 1,500 BGE employees volunteered more than 22,000 hours at nonprofit organizations that celebrate arts and culture, support community development, invest in education, and champion the environment in 2017. Of those employees, more than 250 volunteered over 1,000 hours during National Volunteer Month. In addition, BGE employees raised an extraordinary $1.26 million for 400 charities through its employee giving campaign. Employees also raised $250,000 in support of BGE’s 2017 Cause Initiative – the American Diabetes Association – and over $23,000 on Giving Tuesday.

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