Governor Snyder Honors Michigan Volunteers at Celebration in Detroit

Governor Rick Snyder presented the Governor's Service Awards to individuals, organizations, and a business for their exemplary volunteer service at the 2011 Governor's Service Awards ceremony. The event, entitled, "An Evening with the Stars," was held Monday night at the Gem Theatre in Detroit.


"Michigan is blessed to have so many volunteers who are working together to make a difference in their communities," said Governor Snyder. "Though we can never truly thank them enough for their service and for the profound impact they make in their communities, the Governors Service Awards are a way that we can recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Michigan's dedicated volunteers."


Serieux, one of the state's most high-energy performing groups, joined the Governor in honoring the nominees. The Governor's Service Awards were made possible only through the generous contributions of corporate sponsors. The 2011 major contributors included the Ford Motor Company Fund as the Presenting Sponsor, in addition to: Acheson Ventures, Ms. Diana Algra, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Comcast, Comerica Bank, Consumers Energy, the Council of Michigan Foundations, DTE Energy, Lear and Comer Holdings, the MASCO Corporation Foundation, the Mawby Family Fund, Meijer, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Oakwood Healthcare, Quicken Loans, State Farm Insurance, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


In addition to the awards, Olivet College, a private liberal arts institution in south central Michigan, presented all five finalists for the Youth Volunteer of the Year category with a Community Responsibility Scholarship valued at $6,000 per year renewable for four years. This unique scholarship program is designed to reward students for responsibility, community service, civic engagement, and volunteerism.


The Governor's Service Awards recipients were selected from finalists in eight award categories.  Friends, relatives, and colleagues submitted more than 100 nominations to pay tribute to individuals, organizations, and businesses who exemplify the spirit of volunteer service. An objective peer review panel and the board of the Michigan Community Service Commission selected the finalists and winners, with final approval of the selections from Governor Snyder.


The Governor's Service Awards are presented annually to individuals, businesses, and organizations to acknowledge their commitment to solving community issues through volunteerism. Eight awards were presented in the following categories:


The Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism, which is the most prestigious of the Governor's Service Awards, was presented to Jacklyn Skinner of Schoolcraft.

The award honors an individual who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to community involvement and volunteer service. Jacklyn has been volunteering to support our country's veterans since 1979. As both her husband and father are veterans, Jacklyn does many things as a volunteer to ensure their service to our country is never forgotten. As a result, she has given time to the Daughters of the American Revolution and American Legion Auxiliary for the past 31 years. Jacklyn's activities - which equal more than 2,400 hours of service - have ranged from educating others about homeless veterans, supporting activities at the Community Living Center, obtaining much-needed donations and funds for various veterans initiatives, developing community partnerships, serving meals, coordinating events, and much more. Jacklyn has been honored many times before, including receiving the Michigan 2011 Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services to Veterans and the National Outstanding Daughter of American Revolution Service for Veterans Award.


The Corporate Community Leader Award was presented to Monroe Bank and Trust of southeast Michigan.

This award honors businesses that demonstrate excellent corporate citizenship by giving back to their community through corporate volunteer programs, monetary contributions, in-kind gifts, and employee-driven volunteer service. Monroe Bank & Trust is one of the oldest and most respected independent community banks in southeast Michigan. Founded in 1858, Monroe Bank & Trust (MBT) now operates 25 branch locations and has approximately 360 employees. MBT has been active in the communities they serve for more than 153 years and prides itself on developing unique, formal, sustainable, effective, and impactful employee volunteer programs. These programs include ENLIST (Employees Now Linked in Service Together); MBTeach, their volunteer financial literacy program; Partnership in Education, their elementary school banking program; the Monroe County Learning Bank Network, their public/private educational partnership; and their Corporate Contributions program. On top of these formal programs, MBT employees also serve as active members and board officers of local organizations and the company contributes $300,000 annually in sponsorship and corporate contributions.


The Mentor of the Year award was presented to Kimle Mitchell of Detroit. 

This award honors an individual who has made a significant difference in a child's life over time through mentoring. Kimle has been a mentor for youth throughout the metropolitan area since the mid-nineties. In 2010, she formally joined Winning Futures, a Metro-Detroit based organization whose main purpose is to work with young people to develop a strategic five-year plan, leadership skills, character education, and self-esteem. Through this program, Kimle mentored three high school girls who graduated in June 2011, two of which had plans to attend college this fall. Kimle receives much joy and fulfillment from witnessing the continued success and growth of her mentees as they redefine themselves and uncover hope to pursue their dreams and inner potential. In addition to her formal mentoring, Kimle founded Positive S.I.S.T.E.R.S. - an organization designed to empower women through sisterhood and to help women and girls discover their inner beauty, strengths, and talents.


The Outstanding National Service Program Award was presented to Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) - Arab American Resource Corps in Dearborn. 

This award honors an extraordinary organization that provides a high-quality national service program which yields a significant impact in their Michigan community.
 ACCESS - Arab American Resource Corps has been utilizing AmeriCorps members since 2003 to serve the Dearborn, Hamtramck, and Flint communities with addressing the social, economic, health, and cultural needs of the Arab American community. They are the first and only national AmeriCorps program serving Arab American organizations and currently have 36 members serving in three categories: social services, youth development and education, and cultural outreach. In 2011, members have already served more than 15,000 clients and more than 4,000 youth in gaining access to emergency food, housing, and health services; participating in English as a Second Language, citizenship, and employment courses; and engaging in youth development and educational after-school programs, tutoring and mentoring. ACCESS - Arab American Resource Corps members also work hard to generate civic participation among the local community through volunteerism and encouraging involvement in National Days of Service.


The Outstanding Volunteer Program Award was presented to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County in Ann Arbor.

This award acknowledges the importance an organization or club makes in community life. For the past 20 years,
 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County has been making a positive impact in the lives of local children through mentoring. This program has, on average, served 409 children annually and hopes to match 475 youth by the end of 2011. The program's volunteer mentors, both school and community-based, dedicate themselves to helping a young person in need for at least one hour each week and together devote more than 20,000 hours of service each year. As a result of their efforts, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County is helping area youth grow academically, socially, and emotionally, and to develop the necessary life skills (such as communication, critical thinking, and problem solving) to see a brighter future. In addition to their time and talents, volunteers are also critical to the financial security of the organization, helping Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County to raise more than $327,000 to support their efforts every year.


The Senior Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Joseph McCadden of Ann Arbor.

This award honors a senior citizen who has taken action to make her or his community a better place to live. Though retired for many years, Joseph (Joe) has been helping senior citizens and people with disabilities get their taxes completed through Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County since 1992. He took over as the volunteer program director of the Tax Aid Program of the Older Adult Services unit in 1998 and has been contributing many hours each week ever since. The program Joe directs serves more than 1,000 Michigan households every year and helps to bring those households more than $600,000 annually in tax refunds and credits. On an annual basis, Joe devotes approximately 1,500 hours of service to the program and works hard to recruit additional volunteers to help with his efforts. In addition to his service with the Tax Aid Program, Joe has engaged in other volunteer opportunities including those through the University of Michigan, with community orchestras and choirs, and in a fundraising capacity for Michigan Public Radio. 

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Cameron Waites of Mount Morris.

This award honors an individual who strives to improve the lives of neighbors, friends, community, or congregation. Cameron has dedicated himself to serving others, and that dedication has positively affected thousands of Michigan residents. An avid volunteer since childhood, Cameron found a higher purpose during his military deployment in Iraq and knew he wanted to help resolve conflicts through volunteerism once he left his service with the Army. Upon his return, Cameron served one year as a Michigan AmeriCorps member with the Michigan Service Scholars AmeriCorps program in 2009 - 2010. Since then he has continued to serve and has volunteered more than 2,000 hours in the past three years through various efforts; including the Critical Issues Forum at the University of Michigan - Flint, the Diversity Council in Flint, as a Freedom Team Salute Ambassador, a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and as a tutor through In2Books. Cameron has worked tirelessly on issues most important to him, such as improving race relations, stimulating the local economy, honoring military veterans, and creating supportive programs for student veterans.


The Youth Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Walid Azam of Caledonia.

This award honors individuals age 21 or younger who have already begun making a significant difference in their community by volunteering. Walid is a 19-year-old student at Grand Rapids Community College who turned to volunteerism because he believes in doing the right thing. Walid immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan when he was only nine, and immediately jumped into service by helping to keep the streets clean in his St. Louis, Missouri neighborhood. Following his family's move to Michigan, Walid continued to engage in volunteerism in a variety of ways. He coordinated a mentoring program at Townline Elementary in Kentwood where he gave more than 3,000 hours, chaired four Michigan Blood Drives at hi high school to collect more than 80 units of blood, engaged in the Care Bag Project that yielded 500 care bags, conducted a coat drive for De'Gage Ministries to provide 180 coats, served as a Grand Rapids Youth Commissioner, and much more. His efforts have benefited hundreds of people and made critical differences in West Michigan.

The Community Foundation Philanthropy Award was presented to David Donavan of Lansing.


This special award is presented by the Council of Michigan Foundations to honor an individual or couple for service as both a volunteer trustee and donor to one or more community foundations. This year, the award went to David Donavan of Lansing, who has helped to helped to grow community philanthropy in the greater Lansing area with his service and contributions to the Capital Region Community Foundation.





The Michigan Community Service Commission builds a culture of service by providing vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism. In 2010-11, the MCSC granted more than $9.5 million in federal funds to local communities for volunteer programs and activities. The MCSC engaged more than 65,000 participants and volunteers through Michigan's AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve - Michigan and Volunteer Michigan programs. The Governor's Service Awards and Mentor Michigan are also premier programs of the MCSC. The MCSC is housed in the Michigan Department of Human Services, whose mission is to assist children, families, and vulnerable adults to be safe, stable, and self-supporting. The Corporation for National and Community Service grants the federal funding administered by the MCSC.