INDIANAPOLIS (September 25, 2015) – The State of Indiana, through its volunteer service commission, Serve Indiana, has selected seven outstanding Hoosiers and organizations to be recognized for their service to the community. The Serve Indiana Awards for Excellence are Indiana’s most prestigious annual awards celebrating the accomplishments of dedicated volunteers and service members.
Nominations were submitted from around the state, and the winners selected by a panel of Serve Indiana Commissioners, community volunteers, and previous award winners.
“I join Governor Mike Pence in extending the deepest thanks to these honorees, who have given time, talent and treasure to meet the needs of Hoosiers all across our state,” says Debbie Pidgeon, executive director of Serve Indiana. “These individuals and program are exemplary models of citizens who dedicate countless hours to help their follow community members. Be inspired and volunteer.”
Winners will be celebrated with an awards ceremony on October 28th at the Indiana State Capitol. The awards ceremony is a ticketed event and is open to the public. For more information, or to buy a ticket to the ceremony, visit www.in.gov/serveindiana/awards. More than 200 guests joined in the celebration with winners last year.
The 2015 Serve Indiana Awards for Excellence winners are:
Faith-based Volunteer: Arletha Dabney, Bloomington, IN
Arletha Dabney serves with Second Baptist Church in Bloomington. She runs the food pantry, is head of the Hospitality and Nursing Ministries, and is a member of the Budget Committee. Under her leadership, the food pantry served nearly 900 people in 2014, and over 600 already this year. Thanks to Arletha, the church is on pace to increase the number of people who are fed by 37 percent.
Nonprofit Volunteer Program: Study Connection, Franklin, IN
Study Connection started in 2006 as a partnership between Franklin Education Connection, Franklin Community Schools, and Franklin College, along with community volunteers. They started with 46 students that year, and have grown to over 115 volunteers over the years. Volunteers tutor and mentor students from second through sixth grade, helping with homework and improving test scores.
Individual Volunteer: Kori Brown, Bunker Hill, IN
Kori Brown is the founder of the irok Foundation. Their mission is to help the families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer or blood diseases. Kori was diagnosed with a blood disease as a child, and saw firsthand the financial and emotional stress put on families as they sought treatment for their child. She decided to do something to help, and has raised over $150,000, sometimes one 25 cent sucker at a time. Kori has inspired other people to get involved, from her board of directors to her classmates at school.
National Service: Pamela Weiss, Columbus, IN
Pam Weiss has served with United Way of Bartholomew County’s AmeriCorps program to impact her local community. She has worked with Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus to plan and implement many varied service projects for students and faculty, and has matched almost 200 volunteers to meaningful projects for over 900 hours of service. She has also been instrumental in the development of Engage Columbus, a resource for members of the community who are new to town, or who are looking for new ways to get involved.
Youth Service: Drake Abramson, Lake Station, IN
Drake Abramson established a foundation called ThinkBrave to support Hoosiers with epilepsy. He was diagnosed with epilepsy in junior high, and has since worked tirelessly to increase awareness in his community. Drake has raised funds to provide a scholarship for a graduating senior from his school for the past two years.
Service Learning: Navari Student Outreach Clinic, South Bend, IN
The Navari Student Outreach Clinic is a free clinic created by the students at the IU School of Medicine in South Bend. It was first conceived by first year students in 2012, who worked tirelessly to get the doors opened in April of 2014. Now the clinic allows medical students to gain valuable hands-on experience, while also helping patients in the community who might not otherwise receive care.
Lifetime Achievement: George Flowers, Sr, Evansville, IN
George Flowers, Sr has been volunteering for six decades, with programs ranging from the American Red Cross, to Keep Evansville Beautiful, and Habitat for Humanity. He served as a Legislative Ambassador and Cancer Advocate for the American Cancer Society, and has spent the last seven years working with YouthBuild in Evansville. He has helped raise funds for YouthBuild, but has made an even bigger impact working directly with the youth served by the program.
Hoosiers are encouraged to join the conversation about the 2015 Serve Indiana Awards for Excellence on Twitter using the hashtag #ServeIndiana.