In celebration of Presidents’ Day, the Long Island Volunteer Center hosted a President’s Volunteer Service Award ceremony at the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island in Garden City on Feb. 19, 2023. Eight Long Island students received awards for their volunteer efforts at nonprofit organizations and community/civic groups.
Among the recipients was a volunteer named Aryan Shah, a student of North Shore High School, and Zhaotang (Rebecca) Wang, a volunteer at the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay.
Leading by example, these students used their time and talents to help build community, advance the human condition, and expand the reach and impact of the myriad nonprofits they served:
-Quanyou (Lisa) Chen received the Gold Award, attends The Wheatley School, Old Westbury
-Eunice Lim received the Gold Award, attends Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School
-Angel Karbanda received the Gold Award, attends Hicksville High School
-Ethan Klenofsky received the Bronze Award, attended Five Towns College
-Aryan Shah received the Gold Award, attends Syosset High School
-Khushie Shelat received the Gold Award, attends Jericho High School
-Gus Vasilakis received the Gold Award, attends North Shore High School, Glen Head
-Zhaotang (Rebecca) Wang received the Gold Award, attends Syosset High School
The President’s Volunteer Service Award is the most prestigious volunteer award associated with the White House. In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the President’s Volunteer Service Award to recognize the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action, too. The PVSA has continued under each administration, honoring the volunteers who are using their time and talents to solve some of the toughest challenges facing our nation. Led by the AmeriCorps and managed in partnership with Points of Light, this program allows Certifying Organizations to recognize their most exceptional volunteers. Different levels of earned awards are bestowed based on hours volunteered at nonprofit organizations. Each of the award winners at the event received a pin, an engraved certificate and a congratulatory letter from U.S. President Joseph Biden.
Also on hand to present citations on behalf of US Congressman Anthony D’Esposito was Garden City resident and Town of Hempstead Councilman Thomas Muscarella, who gave profound remarks invoking President Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom about personal responsibility for the written word. NYS Senator Kevin Thomas also provided citations which added another level of appreciation for youth contributions to societal good.
Mineola Cub Scout Troop 246 kicked off the program with ceremonial color guard duties to the delight of the 49 event attendees. Exceptional speakers from the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay, Executive Director Judy Palumbo and Volunteer supervisor Katherine Gibson, shared some inspiring words about the importance of volunteerism and the positive effect on seniors. Wang, who volunteers at the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay, also expertly played a Chopin piano selection.
Established in 1992, the Long Island Volunteer Center, an affiliate of Points of Light, is the regional center for volunteerism and community service initiatives throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. It provides a central hub for individuals and groups looking for ways to serve their communities by connecting them directly with nonprofit organizations through a volunteer matching platform. It also works to raise the profile of volunteerism in the region and increase the number of new volunteers to meet community needs. In 2011, the LIVC was designated by New York State as the Regional Volunteer Center for Long Island. It is an independent nonprofit organization registered with the IRS and a certifying organization for PVSA awards.
As certifying officer for PVSA, Long Island Volunteer Center Board Chair Patricia Force, who coordinated the awards and determined eligibility, emceed the event with welcoming remarks from Executive Director and Garden City resident Diana O’Neill. The event sponsor was LIVC Board Member Steve Santa Barbara of Haus Labs. LIVC management team members Meg Imhof Callinan, Pat Moynihan, and Teri Resca were also integral to the planning and execution of the awards ceremony. Cayleigh McDonough, Garden City Middle School, was on hand to help with event setup as a great example of upcoming local youth leadership.
—Submitted by the Long Island Volunteer Center