TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida Chief Executive Officer Vivian Myrtetus awarded Zakary, Gracyn, and Ari Smith with the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award, Florida’s official statewide volunteer recognition.
Governor Scott said, “I am proud to recognize Zakary, Gracyn and Ari with the Champion of Service Award today. Their commitment and compassion to help fellow children in need is admirable and sets an example of outstanding service for every Floridian, especially during this holiday season.”
Volunteer Florida CEO Vivian Myrtetus said, “Zakary, Gracyn, and Ari illustrate that it’s never too early to start volunteering. Volunteer Florida is honored to recognize them for creating Smith Smiles Toy Donation. We are grateful for the opportunity to recognize Zakary, Gracyn, and Ari, and their work to serve children in hospitals.”
About the Champion of Service Awardees:
Zakary, Gracyn, and Ari Smith (Boynton Beach, FL)
In 2011, Zakary (age 11), Gracyn (age 9), and Ari (age 6), created Smith Smiles Toy Donation, a nonprofit organization in Boynton Beach that donates items to children in hospitals. Smith Smiles Toy Donation, Zakary, Gracyn, and Ari host donation drives throughout their community in order to collect items such as toys, books, puzzles, games, and craft supplies for children and young adults who are in hospitals.
To date, Smith Smiles has donated over 4,000 items to hospitals throughout Florida and has recently donated to hospitals in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Tennessee. Smith Smiles Toy Donation also recently made donations to hospitals in Florida that were damaged by Hurricane Irma.
Volunteer Florida is the Governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida, administering more than $32 million in federal, state, and local funding to deliver high-impact national service and volunteer programs in Florida. Volunteer Florida promotes and encourages volunteerism to meet critical needs across the state. Volunteer Florida also serves as Florida’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during, and after disasters. For more information, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.