2012 Governor’s Award Winners

katie-goodmanYouth Volunteer: Katherine "Katie" R. Goodman (Ashland)

For a twelve-year-old, Katie Goodman has been described as a “little dynamo.” Despite the fact that she was only ten-years-old when she started her mission, she is doing more to feed the hungry than many adults. After seeing television commercials about hunger and its consequences, Katie was inspired to take action as part of her requirements for a public speaking contest for her 4-H club. Her research led her to local service organizations and a connection with the Central Virginia Food Bank; she set a goal to feed 1,100 hungry people. When the Ashland Farmer’s Market began its 2011 season, she asked producers to drop off their surplus at the Ashland Feed and Seed store so that she could deliver it to the Central Virginia Food Bank. She met her goal of feeding 1,100 people in just six months and then surpassed her new goal of serving “2011 people in 2011” just two months later. Despite her young age, Katie is motivated to serve and make a difference for others.

ruhnkeSenior Volunteer: Dr. Edward "Ted" E. Ruhnke, Jr. (Petersburg)

In 1991, recognizing the need for safe and decent housing in the Petersburg area, Dr. Ted Ruhnke and a small group of individuals, established a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in South Central Virginia (Tri-Cities Habitat for Humanity). In the early years when volunteers were few and far between, Ted not only worked to create the affiliate within Habitat guidelines, but also met with city and county officials to obtain land and permits, increased community awareness and support, worked with family selection by guiding the first several families throughout the application and compliance process, and ran the actual construction sites. He also coordinated volunteers on-site and arranged for lunches to be provided either by other volunteers or from his own pocket and made as many trips to the building supply stores as he did to the hospital (at that time, he was a full-time OB-GYN physician). At the “Habitation” of the first house, when the keys were given to the new homeowner, Ted said, “The thrill of delivering an affordable home to a deserving family is as gratifying as delivering babies!”

heidi-abbottAdult Volunteer: Heidi W. Abbott (Richmond)

was honored for her work with another Governor’s Award winner, Richmond Outreach Center (The ROC), which among other things, aids young people at George Wythe High School and in the Creighton Court public housing community in Richmond. She also serves on the state Board for Juvenile Justice. The horrific murder of a family in her neighborhood several years ago provoked her to assess her role in finding a solution to violence in the Richmond community. While the crime could have led many to work for harsher criminal penalties, Heidi saw it as an opportunity to work for and with young people to help them choose productive paths over destructive ones

lariviereVolunteer Family: Kathleen "Khaki" and Stacey LaRiviere (Chesterfield)

These identical twins share an identical goal: to open up leadership training and opportunities to all public high school students in the Commonwealth. Their vision is backed by a deep belief that young people should have fair and equal access to leadership learning and civic engagement regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, skin tone, religious credo, physical ability, academic performance, age, or grade in school. In 2008, at the age of 15, Khaki and Stacey founded L.E.A.D Up! (Leadership, Education, Action and Development Up!), a youth leadership certificate program they developed. Today, six Chesterfield County Public high schools have L.E.A.D. Up! Programs and other schools are organizing chapters.

wmEducational Institution: The Campus Kitchen at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg)

The Campus Kitchen at The College of William and Mary (CKWM), a student run organization, uses existing food resources in the Williamsburg area to address the hunger and nutritional needs of individuals in the community. Over 150 students volunteer each academic year, making Campus Kitchen one of the most popular student volunteer opportunities. During the twice weekly cooking shifts, volunteers cook and prepare meals that are delivered the next afternoon to public housing residents of the Williamsburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority (WRHA). By developing relationships with local churches, residents and college staff, CKWM has been able to provide meals year round, including during spring and winter breaks.

senior-connectionsCommunity Organization: The Volunteer Money Management Program, Senior Connections (Richmond)

Since it started in 1993, the Volunteer Money Management Program (VMMP) at Senior Connections has resulted in 186 volunteers have contributing nearly 26,000 hours of service to seniors in the Richmond area. The current 57 active volunteers contributed 3.462 hours last year with almost 3,000 hours of these services provided in the clients’ homes. Annually, VMMP provides one-on-one bill pay service at no charge for almost 60 clients aged 60 and above. These volunteers show great courage by entering clients’ homes, doing their best to keep finances straight, sometimes correcting past mistakes, and helping build solid financial solvency while respecting client autonomy. Because of the assistance and intervention of the VMMP volunteers, they demonstrably eliminate or reduce creditor fees, bank charges, client debt, and finance charges. They have reduced or eliminated predatory practices aimed at vulnerable clients.

genworthCorporation: Genworth Financial (Richmond)

In 2011, Genworth Financial associates contributed 23,700 volunteer hours helping more than 190 nonprofit organizations across the globe. Following the acquisition of a hotel and its contents, Genworth staff donated nearly 400 rooms of furnishings and banquet items to CARITAS. This donation will help more than 450 at-risk households, and offer as many as 1,000 men, women and children in crisis a pathway out of homelessness to stable and productive lives in 2012. This generous contribution will allow the CARITAS Furniture Bank to help families and individuals for six to eight months without any additional inventory needing to be secured. Additionally, more than 1,400 hours of transitional employment opportunities have been created as CARITAS has coordinated the move of 40 tractor-trailers of furnishings. This challenging effort provided CARITAS Works employment-ready graduates a chance to learn valuable employment skills such as the safety and logistics of warehousing, on/off loading of tractor-trailers, and forklift driving.

Published on Monday, March 24, 2014

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