Congratulations to Addison Raso of Hanover County - winner of the 2018 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer! At just 16 years old, Addison Raso has a lot to teach all of us about love, compassion, and selflessness. Addison has dedicated hundreds of hours serving others since she was 9 years old and has a special passion for service to individuals with disabilities. This passion led her to propose an initiative at her church for a special needs ministry. Through God Inspire Friendships Together (GIFT) at Restoration Church in Mechanicsville, Addison leads a ministry each week -- creating the biblical lessons, modifying them, and providing adapted activities. Because of her efforts, families at her church are now able to attend services each week knowing their children are receiving the necessary accommodations to enjoy the same lessons and opportunities others take for granted. Addison also volunteers as an after-school tutor in the Mosby Court neighborhood. This enables her to maintain year-round relationships with campers she meets at Camp Hope Richmond during the summer. Additionally, last fall Addison spent a week in Haiti where she volunteered at Wings of Hope, an orphanage for youth/adults with special needs. Addison is also active with several other organizations outside of school and volunteers every day during the school week as a teaching assistant with special education students at her former middle school. This well-rounded young lady has an exceptional heart for service to others and her desire, initiative, and passion for individuals with disabilities combined with her ability to affect change in a sustainable way is unique and inspiring.
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