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Leading volunteers recognized at 2016 Be More Awards ceremony

March 30, 2016

For more information, please contact:

Bet Savich, Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, 812.349.3472,

Lucy Schaich, Assistant Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, 812.349.3433,

Leading Volunteers Recognized at Be More Awards Ceremony

Bloomington, Ind. - The Be More Awards, which honor local volunteers for outstanding community service, were presented Tuesday, April 28 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

Fifty-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, Community and Family Resources Department of the City and WTIU Public Television. In addition, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County presented a check for $500 to each of the ten Be More Award recipients, made out to the primary organization where each volunteers.

"I love the Be More Awards because I believe in the power of the individual to make a difference." Volunteer Network Director Bet Savich said. "The awards focus on people who make positive change and give us a glimpse of the good work they've been doing."

Award recipients in 10 categories were selected by an independent panel of judges. Mayor Mark Kruzan presented the Be More Dedicated award to Jack Harlow, with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana, saying "for the 43 years he has built and served Big Brothers Big Sisters, he has not only been a pillar of the organization -- serving on its Board of Directors the entire time -- but a pillar of the Bloomington community. His commitment and devotion to our youth and their families, through these many years, is worthy of our praise, our honor and our thanks."

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 Bloomington Safe and Civil City Director Rafi Hasan, IU Credit Union President Bryan Price, IU Director of Residential Life Jacque Bollinger, United Way of Monroe County Executive Director Barry Lessow, Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department Director Beverly Calender-Anderson, WTIU Program Manager Brent Molnar, active volunteer Karla Kamstra, and Bloomington Sustainability Coordinator Jacqui Bauer.

Recipient Summaries:

Be More Knowledgeable Award (Education/Literacy)
Presenter: Bryan Price, President and CEO, IU Credit Union

Recipient: Blacks In Government - Crane Chapter

Blacks In Government (B.I.G.) likes to step up wherever there is need. Among other activities, B.I.G. supports small community organizations such as Cry of the Children and the student group Where is the Love? In addition to community work, B.I.G. is committed to encouraging students to excel in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. B.I.G. engages volunteers from the Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center to serve as mentors in the schools and to teach a free ACT/SAT math preparation class. B.I.G. also provides annual scholarships to local high school students. Although it is a small and relatively unknown organization, B.I.G. has a large impact in the community and especially in the lives of the students it serves.

Be More Phenomenal Award (Board Member)

Presenter: Beverly Calender-Anderson, Director, Community and Family Resources Dept., City of Bloomington

Recipient: Wain Martin, with New Leaf New Life

Wain Martin is the President of the New Leaf New Life Board of Directors and a faithful volunteer who works without fanfare. As President, Wain oversees rehabilitative activities provided to incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals. He is deeply interested in helping prisoners re-enter society in a positive way. Wain leads volunteers from St. Mark's to provide a weekly evening of Bingo for prisoners in the Monroe County Jail. He is involved in an educational program within the jail that brings prisoners and IU students together for a common learning experience. He also volunteers with Thriving Connections at the South Central Community Action Program, supporting people in their transition out of poverty. And he delivers Meals on Wheels! He has touched countless lives in our community!

Be More Healthy Award (Health and Wellness)

Presenter: Barry Lessow, Executive Director, United Way of Monroe County

Recipient: David Meyer, with Cover Monroe

In response to health care reform, David Meyer mobilized dedicated volunteers to set up a new organization, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Volunteers of Monroe County, which later became Cover Monroe. He organized numerous health education and enrollment fairs, navigator enrollment events, health plan forums, volunteer trainings, and conducted print, broadcast and social media outreach. David educates countless members of the public about the ACA and most recently the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0. David's passion for promoting health helps him overcome the types of obstacles that make others wring their hands in frustration. David inspires those he works with and we are incredibly fortunate to have someone with this level of enthusiasm, expertise, and commitment working on this issue.

Be More Creative Award (Arts/Culture)

Presenter: Brent Molnar, WTIU Program Manager

Recipient: Audrey Jo Williams, with Bloomington Symphony Orchestra

Audrey Jo Williams runs the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra's Children's Instrument Recovery Program (ChIRP), which repairs donated, used musical instruments, then loans them to local children who might otherwise be unable to afford to study music. Audrey also serves on the Board of Directors, its Education Committee, teaches violin and is leader of the String Bass section. Audrey's work with ChIRP gives kids something that allows them to feel important, special and valued, and enhances their personal growth. From learning to work as part of a group, to the rewards of perseverance and practice, these kids learn important life skills! Audrey approaches this work with enthusiasm, a sense of fun, and the firm belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to express themselves through music.

Be More Sustainable Award (Environmental Sustainability)

Presenter: Jacqui Bauer, Sustainability Coordinator, Economic & Sustainable Development Dept., City of Bloomington

Recipient: Dan Withered, with WFHB Community Radio

Dan Withered makes extensive contributions to many programs and events at WFHB Community Radio, most significantly the environmental news show, EcoReport. His genuine love of and concern for the environment is evident. Dan's behind-the-scenes tasks, such as editing interviews, proofreading scripts, and running the radio board during broadcasts, are both difficult and incredibly important. EcoReport consistently reports on controversial, complex issues that few other media cover, helping turn the show's thousands of listeners into better-informed citizens and voters. Dan is a genuine character who does what he thinks is right, and does it well. Dan brings a positive, energetic spirit to his work, which makes WFHB a better radio station and an excellent place to volunteer!

Be More Involved Award(College Student)
Presenter: Jacque Bollinger, Director of Residential Life, Indiana University

Recipient: Eigenmann Hall Residents for their work with South Central Community Action Program

IU's Eigenmann Hall residents have implemented programming with the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) for seven years! SCCAP provides opportunities for low-income citizens to move toward personal and economic independence. In the past year, Eigenmann Hall has engaged more than 50 Thriving Connections (formerly Circles Initiative) and Head Start families. Activities include the annual Halloween "Walk of Fang", the Angel Tree program, an international fashion show, and a Dr. Seuss birthday celebration during Read Across America. Meeting Eigenmann students demystifies college and inspires participating children to consider college as a goal. SCCAP families truly develop positive relationships with the hardworking and creative students at Eigenmann. The partnership's tremendous success is the result of the enthusiastic participation of a large number of Eigenmann Hall residents.

Be More Energized Award (Youth)
Presenter: Tina Peterson, President and CEO, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County

Recipient: Youth Engaged in Service (Y.E.S.) Club at Tri-North Middle School, for their work with Monroe County United Ministries

The Y.E.S. Club (Youth Engaged in Service), a Tri-North Middle School club, teaches kids about the need for their service in the community and gives them an opportunity to give back. Y.E.S. club members cheerfully complete service projects monthly. In addition, club members develop and execute multiple service projects for Global Youth Service Day. Y.E.S. students are particularly dedicated to serving the Monroe County United Ministries food pantry. In one month, the work they did at the pantry assisted 85 families in need! Last year, 14 members of the Y.E.S. Club completed at least 50 hours of service, thereby earning the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Y.E.S. Club members are hardworking, smart and enthusiastic; they are also excellent role models for their fellow students.

Be More Compassionate Award (Animal Welfare)
Presenter: Karla Kamstra

Recipient: The Nest

The Nest is a group of dedicated volunteers who rescue and foster unwanted, abandoned, neglected, and abused dogs and cats. The group helps area shelters when they are overflowing with unwanted pets, or receive animals that are in need of special medical care. Nest members ensure that these animals get the veterinarian care, love, and attention they need to be healthy and happy. The volunteers of the Nest are the silent elves doing the work no one sees or thinks about. They have saved and helped dozens of cats and dogs. The impact is huge for the shelters, the animals, and the lucky families who are able to provide a forever home to a special cat or dog.

Be More Collaborative Award (Group or Family)
Presenter: Rafi Hasan, Safe and Civil City Program Director, Community and Family Resources Dept., City of Bloomington

Recipient: Monroe County 4-H Volunteers

The Monroe County's 4-H Youth Development Program is entirely volunteer-led. Volunteers act as club leaders, camp volunteers and project superintendents. 4-H club leaders provide youth with positive relationships with caring adults, with opportunities to master skills and with the chance to be actively engaged in their own learning through community service, workshops, and educational trips. 4-H camp volunteers help youth learn teamwork, creativity, and problem solving and encourage them to be physically active outdoors. Project superintendents host educational workshops that encourage critical thinking to explore topics of interest throughout the year. Over 900 youth in Monroe County participate in 4-H programs where they learn skills to be successful, contributing adults. Monroe County 4-H volunteers display creativity, dedication, altruism, and passion every day!

Be More Dedicated Award (Lifetime of Service)
Presenter: Mark Kruzan, Mayor, City of Bloomington

Recipient: Jack Harlow, with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana

Jack Harlow is one of the founders of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana and has been instrumental in the organization's success. Because of Jack, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served over 11,000 kids. Jack currently serves on the Board of Directors and continues to be a steadfast source of wisdom and compassion to the people Big Brothers Big Sisters serves. He is always willing to lend a helping hand when needed, especially when it comes to Bowl for Kids Sake, the organization's annual fundraiser. Jack Harlow truly does it all. He epitomizes the ideal volunteer, a person who is always willing to go the extra mile for the organization. He, and people like him, make Bloomington an extraordinary community.

For more information about the awards, contact Savich at 812.349.3472 or