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Leading Volunteers Recognized At Be More Awards Ceremony
Updated April 3, 2014 6:30 AM | Filed under: Event
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The Be More Awards, which honor local volunteers for outstanding community service, were presented Tuesday, April 1 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

Seventy-seven individuals and groups, all of whom had been nominated by community members, were recognized for their generous commitment to improving the community. The awards program is sponsored by the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, with support from the IU Credit Union, United Way of Monroe County, the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District's Buskirk-Chumley Theater grant program, and WTIU Public Television. In addition, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County presents a check for $500 to each of the ten Be More Award recipients, made out to the primary organization where each volunteers.

"The Be More Awards are very special to me," Volunteer Network Director Bet Savich said. "Although I'm not on the Selection Committee, I read all of the nominations. The day I read them is always my most fun and inspiring day of the year. I love seeing the good work - the important work - that you're doing out there!"

Award recipients in 10 categories were selected by an independent panel of judges. Mayor Mark Kruzan presented the Be More Dedicated award to Helen Freeman, saying "her volunteer activity is extraordinary based on her age alone. It's extraordinary because of her loyal years of service. It's extraordinary because of the number of lives she has touched. Quite simply, she is a unique role model for people of any age. She's active and engaged, and clearly younger than her years!"

Kruzan also presented each honoree with a commemorative plaque and Community Foundation President Tina Peterson presented each with a check for $500 for their organizations.

Additional presenters included IU Credit Union President Bryan Price, IU Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith, United Way of Monroe County Executive Director Barry Lessow, Executive Director of Shalom Community Center Forrest Gilmore, Retired judge Viola Taliaferro, WTIU Station Manager Phil Meyer, and the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow Award, Gabriel Jones.

Recipient Summaries...

Be More Knowledgeable Award (Education/Literacy):
Presented by: Bet Savich
Recipient: Susan Welsand
Susan Welsand has been a volunteer for VITAL for 30 years, starting when she graduated from college. Over the years she has tutored people from Russia, Congo, Japan, Korea, and other countries. She introduces her learners to all facets of Bloomington, helping them function in their day-to-day lives. She helps them with visa issues, job and college applications, starting their own businesses and volunteering on their own. With her assistance, they progress from being isolated because of reading or language barriers to becoming engaged members of the community. Susan has impacted the lives of many and has met many fascinating people and formed lifetime friendships in return.

Be More Phenomenal Award (Board Member):
Presented by: Forrest Gilmore, Executive Director, Shalom Community Center
Recipient: Patty Andrews
Across organizations and over more than a decade, Patty Andrews has been a leader in the critical work of sheltering, providing hunger relief, and seeking solutions to the overwhelming problems associated with extreme poverty. Patty has been a strong leader within the First United Methodist Church, where the Shalom Center has its roots, and which is a current site of the Interfaith Winter Shelter. Patty has volunteered for the Area 10 Agency on Aging, Interfaith Winter Shelter and Habitat for Humanity. She has been a Job Links counselor and is a Shalom Center Board Member. Her work addresses the continuum of poverty, empowering the working poor with decent affordable housing and offering sustenance and hope to those in extreme poverty.

Be More Healthy Award (Health and Wellness):
Presented by: Bryan Price, President and CEO, IU Credit Union
Recipient: Centerstone Recovery Engagement Center Volunteers
The volunteer program of the Centerstone Recovery Engagement Center is an integral aspect of their model for recovery from addiction. They use a tier system, based on number of months of sobriety, to facilitate a progressive and rewarding volunteer experience. Those with a minimum of six months have more responsibility while those who have not yet met this minimum assist with more modest tasks and primes them to be friends to those most in need. In 2013, Centerstone volunteers provided almost 3000 hours of operational, advocacy, and educational volunteer time to the 4,000 plus people who went there seeking services.

Be More Creative Award (Arts/Culture):
Presented by: Phil Meyer, WTIU Station Manager
Recipient: Janice Clevenger
Janice Clevenger was a founding member of Monroe County Civic Theater and appeared in the organization's first production in the fall of 1986. In many productions, Janice has served as director, set designer, publicity manager, and costume designer, often fulfilling more than just one of those roles. During her time, the theater produced nearly 200 shows. Dozens of actors, designers and stage managers have had the opportunity to hone their skills by working with Janice in a welcoming and positive environment. Others have had the exhilarating experience of performing onstage for the very first time, and countless audience members have had the chance to enjoy a wide range of theatrical entertainment at little or no cost.

Be More Bloomington Award (Overall Excellence):
Presented by: Barry Lessow, Executive Director, United Way of Monroe County
Recipient: Stone Belt Meal Delivery Volunteers
The Nutrition Program of the Area 10 Agency on Aging provides over 100 hot, home- delivered meals every weekday to seniors and people with disabilities in Bloomington. Stone Belt clients and their caregivers deliver 36% of those meals! Meals are heated at a variety of meal sites where Stone Belt drivers pick them up and distribute them, providing a much-needed visit to clients as well. Despite their own personal challenges and difficulties they are happy to help others and enjoy being part of the meal delivery team. They are cheerful and passionate about helping others, are serious about doing a great job and have concern for each individual they serve. They remind us that volunteering is for everyone!

Be More Involved Award (College Student):
Presented by: Harold 'Pete' Goldsmith, IU Dean of Students
Recipient: Best Buddies at Indiana University
The IU chapter of Best Buddies includes over 100 college students, with roughly 50 paired in one-to-one friendships with adults in the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). All paired members uphold the friendship commitment, making contact with their buddies at least weekly and hanging out in person at least twice monthly. The chapter holds regular activities, on and off campus, such as holiday parties, movie nights and volunteer service activities. In its ten plus years on the IU campus, this chapter has become an integral cog in the Bloomington community, promoting interaction, genuine friendship and leadership opportunities. IU Best Buddies is a very solid university chapter with extremely dedicated student and community leaders.

Be More Energized Award (Youth):
Presented by: Gabriel Jones, 2014 Recipient, Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow
Recipient: Yasmin Martinez
Yasmin Martinez started her volunteer service in middle school by organizing a Haiti earthquake relief fundraiser, as well as Operation Christmas Child. In high school she also became an Angel Tree volunteer, delivered food, and worked with Habitat for Humanity, Riley Dance Marathon and the Animal Shelter. She has taken on leadership roles with the Bloomington Key Club, serving as President locally and as Division Lt. Governor on the state level. Yasmin has participated in Adopt-A-Road, March of Dimes, and multiple Random Acts of Kindness projects. She has received the City's Outstanding Latino High School Student Award. She has the gifts of leadership and initiative and uses them to help people. She has helped thousands in her young life!

Be More Engaged Award (Judges Choice):
Presented by: Judge Viola Taliaferro, Retired
Recipient: Erikka Vaughn and Carl Darnell
Erikka Vaughn and Carl Darnell, both IU graduate students, are co-coordinators of the Free Homework Help housed in the Evans/Bridgewaters Fellowship Hall of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For three years, they have secured a base of 10 committed and qualified volunteers weekly to tutor students in English, math, social studies, science and foreign languages. Erikka and Carl have provided the leadership, the time, the administrative skills and the passion to create an atmosphere that encourages the pursuit of excellence. Their passion for change and commitment to empower and develop leadership in our community's youth will improve the future for us all.

Be More Collaborative Award (Group or Family):
Presented by: Tina Peterson, President and CEO, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County
Recipient: Monroe County Circles Initiative Allies
The South Central Community Action Program's Monroe County Circles® Initiative is part of a national community-building model that partners highly motivated people who live without enough resources, called 'Leaders', with people with more stable resources, called 'Allies'. Allies are a source of support and information, and also a networking connection for Leaders. Allies advocate for their Leader and learn about the barriers that keep people in poverty first-hand. During the five years of Circles® in Monroe County, 70 community members have volunteered over 8,000 hours in support of Leaders. Allies also use their expertise to advocate for people who live in poverty through their social and professional circles, thus touching hundreds of lives.

Be More Dedicated Award (Lifetime of Service):
Presented by: Mark Kruzan, Mayor, City of Bloomington
Recipient: Helen Freeman
Helen Freeman, 93, has dedicated 26 years of service to Meals on Wheels. It's estimated that Helen has delivered over 48,000 meals and visited with over 2,000 clients during that time! She always brings a friendly smile with each nourishing meal. Helen drives four routes, five times a month, volunteering about 11 hours a month. Each month, she also volunteers her time to mail birthday cards to all the clients. In 2000, the Bloomington Exchange Clubs honored Helen with the Book of Golden Deeds Award. Mayor Mark Kruzan proclaimed February 14, 2008 as "Helen Freeman Day". When asked why she volunteers she says "I always wanted to do for other people. As long as I'm able, I'm doing."

For more information about the awards, contact Bet Savich at 349-3472 or

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