Established as a nonprofit in 2019, Kids Give Back grew out of an afterschool club and a realization that there were not enough opportunities for children between 6 and 12 years old to volunteer. Since then, over 300 volunteers have completed over 3,000 volunteer hours, contributing over 2,000 in-kind donations in 2022. Youth are engaged in virtual volunteer events, Family Volunteer Days, Summer Volunteer Camps and more. Every project completed meets an identified need in the community, while inspiring the next generation of volunteers. Volunteer leaders and board ensure that students are actively engaged in projects that make a difference in their community and feel relevant to young volunteers. One partner organization said, “Kids Give Back does a wonderful job connecting our local youth to service opportunities while educating them on any nonprofits doing important work in our communities. This year students provided 100 summer supply bags for our students to use in Aspire!‘s six-week summer learning camp. The supplies were a tremendous help to our organization, especially at a time we saw record enrollment and need.”
These project activities are designed to be meaningful experiences for youth to become more civically minded, even at such a young age. Nonprofit leaders are invited to come and talk to the children about the impact of the work, and help the participants see the role they play in making the world a better place. Students also engage in reflection during each project, thinking about the activity before it starts, and then sharing and journaling after the project about what they did, how they feel, and what they might do in the future. This reflection helps them process their actions and gain a better understanding of the volunteer activity.
The impact of Kids Give Back is seen not only through the number of hours committed or donations made, but also through the improved confidence and wellbeing of the students involved. Students are able to develop leadership skills, practice fine motor and basic academic skills, and cultivate a passion for helping others at the same time. Founder Denise Gavilan shares that some youth participants report never being asked to help before, and that students feel so proud of their accomplishments when they are able to share the impact of their contribution.
Story of Service: Highlands Fellowship
Respected throughout the community for their holistic and deep commitment to making a difference, the impact of Highlands Fellowship can be felt through their fierce love for those most vulnerable in Southwest Virginia. Over 2,500 individuals have been mobilized to act as catalysts throughout the community, partnering to expand the breadth and depth of available resources to serve youth and families in foster care and kinship care networks. Their continually evolving wraparound approach has made a far-reaching and long-lasting impact by building relationships, strengthening systems, and inspiring others in the community to take action. Highlands Fellowship is recognized as an...
Betty L. Robinette
Story of Service: Betty L. Robinette
Congratulations to Betty L. Robinette of Wytheville - winner of the 2021 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Senior Volunteer! For people who live in rural areas, fighting hunger is a serious issue. Communities like Southwest Virginia face a number of challenges – from scarcity of grocery stores and food pantries compounded with a lack of transportation to diminishing job opportunities and higher rates of unemployment. This is where Betty Robinette saw a growing need and did more than step into make a difference. Betty was the catalyst that started the Community Food Kitchen in 2012. When the...
Story of Service: Clyde Roberts
Clyde Roberts, Clinch Valley Community Action Agency Senior Corps – Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Volunteer of the Year - RSVP allows seniors to share their skills and talents while serving in a variety of volunteer activities. Clyde Roberts has served more than 8,600 hours of service in his 14 years as an RSVP volunteer making a tremendous impact to countless veterans in his community. As an RSVP volunteer, he assists veterans with their day-to-day activities so that they may live independently in their homes. Mr. Roberts helps these veterans and their families with necessary paperwork needed for VA benefits, organize...
Lori Schmiege & Huey Gordon
Story of Service: Lori Schmiege & Huey Gordon
National Service Alumni of the Year Huey Gordon & Lorie Schmiege, CARITAS, Richmond Both AmeriCorps Alums with CARITAS, the dynamic duo of Lori Schmiege and Huey Gordon manage the CARITAS Furniture Bank operations. Lori, who served from 2010-2011, and Huey, who served from 2011-2012, both react with empathy and a resolve to “get things done,” attitudes they developed as members. They are also both willing and happy to coach and mentor other AmeriCorps members and ultimately show these members how to be excellent employees when they move on to the workforce. Since joining CARITAS staff, they have mentored 40 AmeriCorps members...
Capital One Coders
Story of Service: Capital One Coders
Congratulations to Capital One Coders of Richmond - winner of the 2021 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Corporation! Capital One Coders grew out of an idea that was sparked in 2014 by a Capital One staff member who saw a gap in computer training in K-12 classrooms. The company created Capital One Coders to inspire students from all walks of life to consider computer science as an attainable and exciting career path. In partnership with public schools and other youth-serving nonprofits, the program helps middle school students cultivate a greater interest in computer science during a critical...
Story of Service: Rumana Chattopadhyay-Reid
“I have always been drawn to public service,” reflects Rumana Chattopadhyay-Reid, who started volunteering as a teenager in West Bengal, India. She regularly volunteered for 4-5 hours each weekend in a neonatal care facility while completing her bachelor’s degree. After moving to South India for graduate school, she met the man who would become her husband, an American student who was studying abroad. Together, they moved to the United States, where Rumana began teaching at a reservation school and the couple started a family. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and changed everything. Rumana became a stay-at-home mother, working to ensure that...