CPDC Celebrates National Volunteer Month with Multiple Milestones
Each April, volunteers and service members around the county are honored and recognized as part of National Volunteer Month. As April comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the many accomplishments and honors received by CPDC volunteers over the past month.
The recognition of CPDC volunteers started in mid-March, as Burhan Ahmed, a high school senior from the Stony Brook community in Alexandria, VA, was honored as one of 23 Fairfax County Student Peace Award recipients. The award recognizes a student’s contributions to promoting peace and to helping to remove the causes of violence, such as poverty, discrimination, and injustice. A three-time President’s Volunteer Service Award recipient, Burhan was honored for his work in the Stony Brook community. Burhan has been an integral part of youth programs at Stony Brook, creating and running a summer soccer and basketball league for youth who otherwise would not be able to afford to participate in an organized sport. He has served nearly 500 hours of service with CPDC, having been one of the earliest youth volunteers to join the Stony Brook Jr. Volunteers in 2013. Burhan was honored by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairfax County School Board, and Congressman Gerry Connolly.
On April 16, two long-time youth volunteers from the Stony Brook community presented a workshop at the National Service-Learning Conference in Philadelphia. Sponsored by the National Youth Leadership Council, these two young ladies were chosen in a competitive application process to present on the subject of “Engaging Low-Income, Minority Teens in Service.” The hour-long workshop was delivered to a packed room of over 40 teachers, students and service-learning professionals from across the globe. The session featured various methods of engagement for low-income and minority youth, much of which was based on their own personal experience. Stephanie and Racheal also created a video for the presentation featuring youth from their high school describing what service means to them. They wrapped up their presentation with real-world examples of youth from Stony Brook engaging in a variety of service projects. The presentation has been ever-developing over the last two years, in which time they presented an abridged version at the two most recent CPDC Volunteer Leadership Summits.
On April 24, seven CPDC youth volunteers were recognized at the Volunteer Fairfax Service Awards for their service in 2018. These seven young ladies – four from Stony Brook and three from Island Walk in Reston, Virginia – were presented with a “Benchmark 100 Award” for over 100 hours of service in 2018. In addition, competitive awards were handed out across various categories. For Fairfax County Youth Volunteer of the Year, Stony Brook volunteer and high school freshman Carmela Dangale was nominated, as was Island Walk volunteer and high school sophomore Zubaida Abdalla. In this highly competitive category, Carmela Dangale was named as the 2019 Fairfax County Youth Volunteer of the Year. For the Fairfax County Youth Volunteer Group of the Year, the Stony Brook Jr. Volunteers – the youth volunteers of Stony Brook – and the Island Walk Youth Volunteer Group were nominated, with the Stony Brook Jr. Volunteers honored as the 2019 Fairfax County Youth Volunteer Group of the Year. It was the fourth consecutive honor for the group, as they were previously honored in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
On April 29, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center held their annual Montgomery Serves Awards, recognizing volunteers from across the county for their outstanding service. Jacquette Frazier, a long-time resident and volunteer at Essex House, was recognized with the Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award. This annual lifetime recognition award honors two county residents 60 years old or better whose accomplishments, enthusiasm, and lifelong commitment to volunteer service make them outstanding role models for those of all ages. Jacquette’s work in the Takoma Park community is extraordinary. At Essex House, she coordinates the monthly food distribution program for seniors and individuals with disabilities. During the holiday season, she runs a turkey distribution program. She also runs back-to-school events, providing youth with backpacks and school supplies. She is a board member of the Senior Village and “What’s My Bias”, as well as the leader of the city’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Event. Most impressively, Jackie (as everyone calls her) founded a summer camp for low-income youth called “Lunch and Learn”. The free camp provides meals for youth in the summer, as well as critical educational enrichment activities. As part of the program, youth also learn how to swim, a skill that as a California native is close to Jackie’s heart. The program served 200 youth in 2018 and is one of the largest summer camps in Montgomery County.