TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded three Floridians with the Champion of Service Award, Florida’s official statewide volunteer recognition.
Governor Scott said, “These Florida volunteers are true champions for their communities and our entire state. I am proud to honor each of them today for their selflessness and dedication to serving others.”
Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said, “Daniel, Thomas, and CJ have demonstrated an outstanding dedication to serving those who are in need – from at-risk students to families with loved ones in the hospital. Volunteer Florida is proud to recognize them for their service.”
Daniel Sibol – As a student at the University of Florida, Daniel volunteered as a tutor through the Alachua County Public School system and served as a weekly volunteer mentor for at-risk middle school students through the Motiv8 mentoring program. Daniel became the volunteer director of Motiv8 in 2012 and was responsible for overseeing over 100 mentors at four schools across Alachua County. During this time, Daniel also worked to recruit and encourage students on campus to devote one year to serving at-risk youth and their families. Upon graduation, Daniel served as an AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) member. Daniel now works as a math teacher for the PACE Center for Girls in Pasco County, and continues his volunteer work in various community activities.
Thomas Heimall – Thomas serves as a Foster Grandparent at Sugarmill Elementary School in Port Orange. The Foster Grandparent program helps volunteers age 55 and over to stay active by serving children and youth in their communities, including helping children learn to read and providing one-on-one tutoring. Students tutored by Thomas have successfully met benchmarks for math and reading. Though Thomas was diagnosed with cancer, he has remained committed to the students and staff at Sugarmill Elementary School, continuing to serve as a Foster Grandparent while undergoing chemotherapy. He believes strongly in the goals and objectives of the Foster Grandparent Program, and he continues to recruit new volunteers to serve.
CJ George – CJ is 14-years-old and has been serving others since he was diagnosed with Stage III cancer at age nine. While receiving chemotherapy, CJ began food drives and fundraisers at the hospital for the families he met there. CJ has partnered with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, the Make a Wish Foundation, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and the Children Battling Cancer Foundation. He dedicates a significant amount of time to support these organizations, including working to raise awareness and encouraging financial support. He has shared his story and advocated for patient support three times at Capitol Hill. CJ also recently received the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award on National Philanthropy Day in South Florida.
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.
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Volunteer Florida is the Governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida. Volunteer Florida grants funds to educational foundations, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations to administer AmeriCorps and National Service Programs. Volunteer Florida leads Florida’s national days of service, including September 11 and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. During disasters, Volunteer Florida is the lead agency for volunteers and donations. For more information, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.