Congratulations to George and Kim Melnyk, Jr. – winner of the 2021 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer Family! For low income students in Hampton Roads, the pandemic created a whole new set of challenges, from scarcity of school supplies to wi-fi accessibility. Even having a desk for virtual classes and homework was a major issue for many families. For George and Kim Melnyk, Jr., owners of Premier Millwork, this particular need turned out to be a perfect fit for the family.
As soon as they were contacted by CHIP (Children’s Health Investment Program) of South Hampton Roads, they jumped at the chance to serve – something they’ve been doing their whole lives. Premier Millwork began producing collapsible desks for kids in need immediately and the Desk for Success program was born!
George initially committed to making 220 desks and offered to assist with raising funds to cover the materials. After some local media coverage, requests for desks skyrocketed and Kim jumped into action and recruited fellow members of the Virginia Beach School Board and many others to volunteer on Saturdays to help sand and wrap desks. The project was also featured on the Mike Rowe program “Returning the Favor,” which today has 2.5+ million views.
The impact of the Desk for Success program could be seen in the eyes of the children receiving their desks. They saw that they were not forgotten, that they were valued and even in the most difficult of circumstances, their education was a priority. Over 2,100 children were shown the dignity and support that they deserve and local teachers have expressed their sincere gratitude saying it was reassuring to know that the community was behind them.
The Melnyks, who volunteer in a variety of ways in the community, have shown what can be accomplished with hard work and ingenuity. When others see an unsurmountable task, George and Kim simply get started and get it done.
Backpacks of Love Cumberland Elementary School Coordinators
Story of Service: Backpacks of Love Cumberland Elementary School Coordinators
Congratulations to Backpacks of Love Cumberland Elementary School Coordinators of Cumberland County -- winner of the 2017 Virginia Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Educational Institution! Backpacks of Love, Inc., was born out of a personal mission from its founder Bobby Fulcher, who personally struggled with food scarcity while growing up. Backpacks of Love provides wholesome food to school children in the counties of Powhatan, Cumberland, and Buckingham, so that they don’t go hungry over the weekend. Backpacks of Love’s highly engaged board members collect all donations, distribute food items to schools, and solicit community and corporate sponsors....
VCU Richmond Alumni Chapter
Story of Service: VCU Richmond Alumni Chapter
Congratulations to VCU Richmond Alumni Chapter of Richmond - winner of the 2018 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Education Organization! From leading the charge against hunger in Virginia to supporting veterans, the VCU Richmond Alumni Chapter is continuing to make an impact on the community every single day. The Richmond Chapter, comprised of more than 65,000 alums of Virginia Commonwealth University who currently live in Richmond, continues to make volunteering a key priority in their initiatives to help make Richmond a better place to live. Every year, hundreds of VCU Alums volunteer – from collecting enormous amounts of canned...
Story of Service: Denise Bland
The Virginia Community Healthcare Association recently named Denise Bland Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. Denise's efforts helped to expand primary care to eight locations offering a wide range of services including primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health services, pharmacy assistance services, pediatrics, and a robust school dental program. She has served Eastern Shore Rural Health as board president for 17 years through June 25, 2019. When Eastern Shore Rural Health first began in 1976, the organization’s focus was to make primary care more accessible to people living on...
Story of Service: Wallace Green
Congratulations to Wallace Green of Virginia Beach -- winner of the 2017 Virginia Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Senior Volunteer! When Wallace Green realized that the main causes for his kidney failure were a lack of knowledge, his choices in diet, and the type of medications prescribed -- he became a one-man champion for the cause of prevention. Wallace coordinates, plans, and participates in health fairs; offers free presentations; and organizes fundraising events. If there is a health event in the community, you can be assured Wallace is there. Last year, he single-handedly provided health education to...
Story of Service: Rachel Haines
Story of Service: TJ Kim
Congratulations to TJ Kim of McLean - winner of the 2021 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer! Becoming a Navy pilot has been one of TJ Kim's greatest childhood dreams. To make his dream a reality, he began taking flying lessons as a teen. When TJ’s school and lacrosse season were shut down due to COVID-19, his flight training became one of the only activities he could still enjoy. The high school senior decided to combine his passion for flight with helping others as a way to help serve his community during this challenging time, he...