During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman recognized four champions of service from across the State of Florida.
Governor Scott said, “From individuals who have given selflessly of their own time to companies that prioritize philanthropy, Florida truly is a state of volunteers. Today we see firsthand how service changes communities and provides leadership skills to those who serve. This is an excellent way to celebrate Florida Volunteer Month and encourage service in others.”
“As we highlight Florida Volunteer Month, we are thrilled to have such a diverse group of Champions of Service today,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman. “From the company responsible for the largest single-day corporate volunteer event in the nation to those who serve students and at-risk families, these Champions embody volunteerism and service.”
“Giving back is in our company’s DNA and we are honored to receive this recognition from Governor Scott and Volunteer Florida,” said Derek Cooper, Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Investment for the Comcast Florida Region. “This award reinforces Comcast’s commitment to supporting the local communities where our customers and employees live and work.”
About the Champions of Service:
Champion of Service: Carolyn Lynn, Duval Reads
Carolyn Lynn serves as the Program Director for Duval Reads, one of Volunteer Florida’s grantees. During her tenure as a program director she has managed more than 600 AmeriCorps members, who have served a combined total of more than 100,000 hours to improve literacy rates for 5,500 students in 23 Duval County schools. Under Carolyn’s leadership, Duval Reads maximizes its impact by leveraging hundreds of volunteers each year, as well as working effectively with the private sector to gain additional resources. Carolyn has made a positive, lasting impact in the lives of Duval County students for 14 years, equipping them with the tools they need to be successful in pursuing a higher education and entering the workforce. Carolyn is also involved in Disability Mentoring Day, which provides shadowing opportunities for high school students and job seekers with unique abilities, and she is especially committed to improving educational outcomes for economically disadvantaged children. Carolyn recently received the Volunteer Florida Trailblazer Award, which recognizes AmeriCorps program directors who have served for more than ten years, make significant contributions to their communities, and ensure integrity in their AmeriCorps programs.
Champion of Service: Comcast (accepted by Derek Cooper, Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs & Community Investment – Florida Region)
In 2001, Comcast launched Comcast Cares Day. Comcast Cares Day mobilizes Comcast employees and their families and friends to work alongside community partners to revitalize neighborhood parks, improve schools’ learning environment, work at community food banks, conduct food drives, and much more. Comcast Cares Day is the largest single-day corporate volunteer event in the nation. More than 600,000 volunteers have served more than 3.7 million hours of service in local communities. Comcast has also provided more than $16 million in Comcast Foundation grants to local partner organizations. In 2014, more than 7,000 volunteers participated in Comcast Cares Day projects around Florida, and $120,000 in Comcast Cares Day foundation grants were awarded to nonprofit community partners throughout the state.
Champion of Service: Gary Montgomery, Pastor, Living Stones International; Josephine Gamboa-Montgomery, Elder, Living Stones International
Living Stones International (LSI) is a social service organization serving children of inmates and their families. As a member of the Children of Inmates’ organization, Living Stones International provides special visits between children and their incarcerated parents in Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, and Wakulla counties to encourage long-term connections between parents and children. Living Stones International also works to keep fathers present and active in their children’s lives, graduating 1,000 incarcerated men from the InsideOut Dad curriculum, to assist those men who themselves grew up without fathers. LSI also maintains a strong emphasis on high school graduation by providing mentoring to at-risk teens.
Champion of Service: Saif Ishoof
Saif Ishoof has served as Executive Director of City Year Miami for the past six years. As Executive Director, Saif managed over 1000 AmeriCorps members, working to scale City Year’s unique service model throughout Miami-Dade County. Since 2008, City Year has served more than 225,000 students, provided more than 1 million hours of service to Miami’s schools, and engaged over 12,000 community members in neighborhood projects.
The Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award honors individuals and groups for their outstanding volunteer efforts. For more information about the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Awards, click here.