NAVPLG Award Winners for 2018!
One of the highlights of our session during Service Unites in Atlanta was the presentation of our awards. Better yet, all three recipients were in attendance to receive their awards. The NAVPLG Awards Program is one way that we can highlight excellence in our profession.

Outstanding New Volunteer Administrator Award - Roxanne Flores-Achmad, City of Killeen, Texas:  Roxanne was nominated by Bonita Henderson with Keep Killeen Beautiful and has worked in volunteer management for two years. Roxanne also serves on the NAVPLG board of directors. Here’s part of what Bonita shared about Roxanne:  She is always willing to give 110% at each event. She never asks her volunteers to complete a task that she is not willing to do herself. Ms. Flores-Achmad works with all ages of volunteers. She however excels when she works with the volunteer who may not have a voice. Ms. Flores- Achmad noticed there were no City Wide Adaptive Events in her community and decided to create and offer them in the community. She began in April 2016 offering an Adaptive Easter Egg Hunt that was run with volunteers and no budget. Ms. Flores-Achmad led a group of volunteers who never solicited sponsorships to ask for donations. Volunteers who did not feel comfortable speaking in front of an audience she gave them the tools and encouragement they needed to step outside of their comfort zone and speak. The Adaptive Easter Egg Hunt was a success. Her next project she created Special Needs Dances for the youth. Two Special Needs Dances are held annually and with the popularity of the Adaptive Easter Egg Hunt she can offer Special Needs Dances to the community free of charge. During the past couple of years, she has exhibited commitment, loyalty, honesty and dedication as a Director and a volunteer.

Innovative Program Award – City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida:  Spanning a full city block, the former Fort Lauderdale One Stop Shop office complex was seriously water damaged during hurricane Wilma. It continued to deteriorate, becoming a blight and public nuisance to the surrounding neighborhoods. Vagrants took over the site as a homeless camp, while vandals continuously broke into the property and defaced it with trash and graffiti.

City Officials and community leaders came together to address the problem. One idea floated at City Hall was to have local artists creatively reimagine the property and create a place making, community building service project. The City’s Chief Service Officer approached ArtServe, an award-winning service non-profit, to evaluate the feasibility of artist intervention. Two key goals were to ensure the project was all inclusive and community driven. Now the once-dilapidated site has quickly turned into a place of pride, a destination for the culturally curious and a perfect complement to the new energy and development happening in the area. New opportunities for future collaborations opened up.

The collaborative spirit came “alive” with the Open Canvas Project. Art was used to re-imagine a blighted building and showcase the vital role art and culture play in building community. Art as a universal language also transcends cultural and ethnic boundaries and can unite diverse neighborhoods.

Award of Merit – City of Kettering, Ohio: The City of Kettering was recognized for their Kettering Leadership Academy (KLA).  The mission of KLA is to create an active network of informed and concerned citizen volunteers that will influence the direction of our city while serving on our boards and commissions at the city of Kettering and area non-profit organizations. A maximum of 14 people are accepted each year to participate in this 9-month program consisting of an overnight retreat and seven all day sessions (one per month). Class members are required to identify a need in our city and design and implement a project to address the need (see attached list of projects). Many of these projects have been sustained for several years. Most notably, is the Kettering Backpack Program which supplies children on the free/reduced lunch program with shelf stable food for the weekend.

In May, the fifteenth KLA class graduated; now over 200 people will have graduated from this program. Nearly 75% of our graduates are currently volunteering on boards/commissions and at area non-profits. These graduates are serving in these capacities equipped with a solid knowledge of our city, enhanced leadership skills, and a strong desire to improve the quality of life in our community. The reputation of this program is so favorable that area non-profits and city boards/commissions seek out KLA graduates to fill open positions.