Skip to Main Content

Governor’s Service Awards Recipients

The 32nd Annual Governor’s Service Awards Overview

This year marks the 32nd year a Maryland Governor has recognized volunteers from around the State at a special recognition event. The 15 recipients reflect the diversity of Maryland and demonstrate its spirit of service. Over the past year, 1.3 million Marylanders helped tackle some of the major challenges facing the state by donating their time and energy. The recipients were selected in 12 different categories including individual, organizational, and group volunteers.

The 32nd Annual Governor’s Service Awards Recipients – Service Bios

YOUTH CATEGORY

Yidong Hu
Serves Montgomery County
Yidong has contributed hundreds of hours of service in her hometown Potomac, Montgomery County. A 16-year-old rising senior at Winston Churchill High School, Yidong has contributed to her county and beyond as president and founder of the Children’s Corner Club, which supports the Children’s Inn at NIH, and as a Lieutenant Governor of her division of Key Club, an international service organization for high schoolers. As a servant leader, Yidong has planned countless fundraisers, donated thousands of dollars to charity, and set an example for other students all over the area.

Michaela Smith
Serves Baltimore City
Michaela Smith is a 14 year old girl who found her passion in life at any early age and made a commitment to help when she was faced with cancer of her mother. She took her fear and started 2 organizations since age 10. She started Hairbands for Hope where she went to flea markets, church events, etc. to sell her hair bands and donate 100 of the proceeds to The Susan G Komen of Maryland. She also educates young girls with her FEAR KNOT campaign to promote monthly Screening. Michaela then started Generations 4 Hope to honor the four immediate family members who survived breast cancer. Since her goal is to become a teacher she completed a day of service Project Start Smart providing school supplies for children whose parents are currently in treatment for any form of cancer.

INDIVIDUAL CATEGORY

Tavares Evans
Serves Baltimore City
Tavares partnered with several Baltimore City Public Schools and volunteers his time and talents with students in grades 3-8. His focus is on teaching the students the value of entrepreneurship and academic excellence. He recently dedicated the majority of his volunteer efforts with the students of Friendship Preparatory Academy at Calverton, a Pre-K-8 school in West Baltimore, where 100% of the students receive free lunch. He has reduced negative and unwanted behaviors in students and promotes positive academic competition by a rewarding system that includes, toys, games, field trips, and even nominal cash prices.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORY

Caroline Gaver
Serves Frederick and Washington Counties
Caroline is a tireless advocate for adults who suffer from the inability of not knowing how to read and write in their native English. She has contributed over 28,300 hours of service training, about 2,500 volunteer tutors for Frederick County and 500 in surrounding counties. These tutors have helped over 8,000 adults. Currently, the Council supports over 125 tutors all trained in part by Caroline. Last year they contributed over 14,000 hours and provided free, one-on-one basic literacy tutoring and life skills to over 125 adults.

NATIONAL SERVICE PARTICIPANT CATEGORY

Leigh Alvey
Serves St. Mary’s County
Ms. Alvey has demonstrated exemplary service to others since 2008, logging in 2,290 hours of service. In 2014, she served 531 hours, earning her prestigious RSVP Gold Service Award. She is a Senior Volunteer “Poster Child,” serving as a role model for other seniors, proving that advancing age does not have to limit one’s capacity to serve, meet the needs of others, or contribute to one’s community. Ms. Alvey serves as an instructor in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, where she helps many seniors improve their physical fitness as well as their quality of life.

AMERICORPS ALUM CATEGORY

Sandy Miller
Serves Garrett County
Sandy currently serves as the Alumni Coordinator for A STAR. She has completed over 500 hours of service in 2014 just with her dedication to the AmeriCorps program and her commitment to the community. She has planned and implemented Wellness trainings and seminars for AmeriCorps members. She also planned and executed volunteer opportunities for western Maryland members to serve with Frostburg Grows, Our Daily Bread in Baltimore and attend Destination AmeriCorps. Her support through AmeriCorps and through her work with Garret County Health Department has benefitted hundreds of people during her 20 years of volunteering and giving back to her community.

Chris Gleason-Smuck
Serves Baltimore County
Chris was a Maryland Conservation Corps member for two terms of service in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. He is an EMT Basic, Rescue Technician, and Firefighter. Chris volunteers with the Boonsboro Fire Department, the North Point Fire Department, The Boonsboro Ambulance Company, and the South Mountain Recreation Area complex where he also works as a full-time Park Ranger. Between the three departments and the park complex, Chris volunteered approximately 400 hours in 2014.

FAITH-BASED CATEGORY

Samaritan Women Residence Volunteers
Serves Baltimore County
The Samaritan Women is a Christian 501C3 nonprofit with a mission to provide long-term residential recovery services to adult female survivors of human trafficking (modern-day sex or labor slavery). They engage 25 dedicated women who volunteer in home renovations, farm work, and most recently survivor care and mentorship. In 2014, volunteers in the residence accounted for 20% of their overall volunteers. About 10 were in the residence as coverage supervisors donating 2,600 hours to ensuring consistent and safe environment. Their top volunteer contributed 700 hours, with a median contribution of 45 hours. They saw 9 total tutors who contributed on average 50 hours per resident earning a GED, and 28 hours per resident in Community College. Outside entities also brought in about 500 hours of programming events to residents in the comfort of their own home, such as self-defense classes, art workshops, etiquette classes, sing language classes, and “fearless female” movie nights.

GROUP/TEAM CATEGORY

Out of the Box Coupon Kids
Serves Harford County
Anastasia Andrews and Daniel White have spearheaded several efforts to help their school, Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School, and the Aberdeen Community end hunger in their areas. They created donation boxes, collected spare change, and collected/clipped almost 10,000 coupons donated by teachers and staff. As a result the $237 they collected helped to purchase 8,138 items they donated to the Grove Presbyterian Church food bank near their school. They handed out the food and toiletry items every Wednesday at the food bank providing for over 2,600 people. In addition, they created emergency packs for families at Harford Family House who were unable to get to the food bank.

NONPROFIT VOLUNTEER PROGRAM CATEGORY

Court Appointed Special Advocate/Prince George’s County
Serves Prince George’s County
CASA is a volunteer-based organization that partners with the juvenile court to improve the lives of abused and neglected children living in foster care. The goal of a CASA volunteer is to promote the timely placement of the children they serve in safe, permanent homes. In 2014, 142 children were served by 141 CASA volunteers in Prince George’s County. They serve with CASA for about 24 months, averaging about 10 hours a month in. This cumulates to a total of almost 17,000 hours served by CASA in 2014. Of this time served, 40% were with children to whom they were assigned; the remaining 60% were spent in treatment team meetings, court hearings, education planning sessions or coordinating services or visitations. Of CASA’s recommendations to the court on the care of youth in foster care, 82% were adopted and made into court mandates. These help them on the road to a safe and permanent home.

CORPORATE/BUSINESS CATEGORY

Lockheed Martin
Serves Baltimore County
The STEM Ambassador Program was developed to support on-going partnerships led by Lockheed Martin volunteers at key schools in communities, many in underserved areas, where employees live and work, like Featherbed Lane Elementary School in Baltimore. Lockheed Martin’s dedication to STEM education helps to fuel innovation, boost development and productivity and generate employment opportunities. Seeing students’ eyes light up with excitement for science and math is what it is all about, and employees love inspiring the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians. During this school year in Baltimore 120 Lockheed Martin employees have reached out to about 3,300 students, 300 teachers, and 4,000 parents with STEM activities.

COMMUNITY OF SRVICE CATEGORY

Town of Berlin Ambassador Program
Serves Worcester County
The Berlin Ambassador Program currently consists of 44 volunteers stemming from Town residents, business owners and Town staff which operate out of portable kiosk handing out brochures, supplying maps and information and assisting visitors to make their visit to Berlin a “cool” experience. It has grown to 44 volunteers and amassed 760+ volunteer hours over the busiest 17 week period in 2014. Other volunteer activities account 1,100+ volunteer hours. The program has helped with the increased food traffic, therefore bringing increased sales and attendance at their town events. The volunteers give their time to promote the Town, its history, businesses, restaurants and events.

SERVICE-LEARNING TEACHER CATEGORY

Tammy Ficca
Serves Harford City
Ms. Ficca has been a language arts teacher at Edgewood Middle School for 5 years. Her exemplary service learning project provided the opportunity to her entire 8th grade team of students to apply their knowledge of post war veterans. They were first made aware of veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and Iran Wards. Then the students implemented a plan to assist veterans today. They took a tour to the VA Medical Center and communicated with veterans by writing letters, creating cards, and organizing collections of various supplies that the veterans said they needed. The supplies included their requests of stationary, stamps, envelopes, games, puzzles and other general supplies. Next 40 students went to Perry Point to meet, visit, talk, play games, and interact with veterans receiving long term care. Over 40 hours of service was provided to veterans.

EXEMPLARY SERVICE-LEARNING CATEGORY

Johns Hopkins Community Impact Intership Program (CIIP)-Class of 2014
Serves Baltimore City
The CIIP is a summer internship program under the wing of the Center for Social Concern at Johns Hopkins University that pairs selected undergraduate students with nonprofit organizations and government agencies in Baltimore City. The students learn about community issues and work with their organizations to improve social concerns. CIIP provides students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the fields of healthcare and health policy, homelessness and poverty, sustainability and food access, community art, criminal justice, education and youth advocacy, neighborhood improvements, and much more. In 2014, CIIP selected 50 students to work for 50 different community organizations in Baltimore, totaling in 14,000 hours of community work.

SPECIAL HONOREE

Michael Hebb
Serves Edgewater
Mike has coached youth basketball, soccer, football and softball for over 25 years. Over the years he has done fundraisers so kids that could not afford the registration fees were able to play. He also would go to Annapolis and pick the kids up that needed rides to games and/or practice. He has a strong belief that if kids play sports and stay involved, they will complete their high school education and stay out of trouble. When Mike started coaching the travel team, he had players from all areas of Anne Arundel County on the team. He had a few boys from Annapolis that wanted to play, but did not have the family support, so he paid their fees and let them travel for tournaments.