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Page last updated on May 2, 2022 at 5:01 pm

For more information, please contact

Lucy Schaich, Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network or 812-349-3433


Andrew Krebbs, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor or 812-349-3406




Be More Awards Recognize Volunteers for Service to the Community

Bloomington, Ind. – Seven Bloomington community members will be honored in an invitation-only presentation of the Be More Awards from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.  Recipients will be presented with their award by Mayor John Hamilton and with a $1000 cash award for their host organization from Tina Peterson of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (except for the Organization and Business Category that receive no cash award). 

The nominees and recipients of this year’s awards honoring local volunteers, organizations, and community-minded businesses will also be recognized with a public, interactive display from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, May 6 in the lower gallery of the John Waldron Arts Center at 122 S Walnut Street. This event will coincide with the May Gallery Walk in Downtown Bloomington and is free and open to the public. Recipient posters will include QR code links to read, listen, and learn more about each awardee. There will also be a virtual version of this exhibit available online at    

“Every year, the Be More Awards recognize people in Bloomington and Monroe County who found ways to engage with and improve their community through service,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “This year, we are honoring folks that continued to volunteer and create connections during a time when volunteer numbers dropped and making connections was a challenge. These folks still rose up to meet needs, creating safe spaces, feeding the community, bringing wonder and wisdom to the curious minds of Bloomington, and otherwise innovating and inspiring.” 


“The resilience and passion that has been demonstrated by volunteers in our community during the last few years is inspiring,” said Volunteer Network Director Lucy Schaich. “The Be More Awards are a treasured annual tradition and an opportunity to celebrate all of the ways that people build community through service and engagement. It is a joy to be able to help publicly celebrate these seven outstanding recipients and all of the honored nominees. The stories of service that are shared each year through these nominations never fail to inspire each of us to see the good in our community and rise to join them in that endeavor.”  


The Be More Awards event is sponsored by the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, a program of the Community and Family Resources Department, with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, IU Credit Union, United Way of Monroe County, and WTIU Public Television serving as co-sponsors. Award recipients in seven categories were chosen by an independent selection committee, which included representatives from each of the sponsors along with community members.


2022 Be More Award Recipients (Award & $1000 cash award provided by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County)

Descriptions provided by the Bloomington Volunteer Network


Be More... Dedicated

Lifetime of Service Award

Recipient: Nancy White

Organization: WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, & Technology

Summary: Nancy White joined the WonderLab volunteer team in 2001 as a retired teacher but has been volunteering in the Bloomington community for more than 50 years in many capacities - including serving on the boards of Master Gardeners, Singing Hoosiers, IU School of Music, and IU Retired Teachers and Faculty. In addition to working in the museum and WonderGarden, Nancy has helped at outreach events where interactive science activities were taken to schools, the fairgrounds, scout groups, and more.  Her can-do attitude, sense of humor, and ability to quickly adapt to an activity have contributed immensely to WonderLab. Nancy White is a marvelous ambassador for service in the City of Bloomington.


Be More... Impactful

Volunteer of the Year

Recipient: Ben Wendell 

Organization: Community Justice and Mediation Center

Summary: Dr. Ben Wendell began volunteering with CJAM in the fall of 2015. Within months, he had established an effective client referral process, refined their client intake process, and established a file system. Over his seven years of service, Ben has donated over 6,000 hours, served 2,925 clients, maintained ongoing communication with multiple Monroe County probation officers and court personnel, filed thousands of pages of court paperwork, uploaded thousands of case documents, and provided office support services for mediators and management staff. From greeting and comforting clients to helping mediators do their jobs more effectively and efficiently, to completing office drudge work, Ben does everything with a smile, curiosity, and patience. Dr.  Wendell is the kind of volunteer every organization hopes for.


Be More... Enlightened

Judge’s Choice Award

Recipient: Doug Storm

Organization: WFHB Community Radio

Summary: Doug Storm produced WFHB’s longest-running public affairs show Interchange, which shared conversations with hundreds of scholars and other experts on politics, religion, metaphysics, economics, history, evolution, ecology, and climate change. Throughout his role as producer of this program, he has provided education, truth-to-power, and a much-needed voice in our community.  Doug has brought education to the local airwaves that has stood the test of time as vital resources for our community. Although he recently announced his retirement from Interchange, Doug is a one-of-a-kind volunteer who embodies diligence, understanding, and truth.


Be More... Bloomington

Community Collaboration Award

Recipient: People’s Market Volunteers

Organization: The People’s Market

Summary: The People’s Market provides an equitable platform to sell quality local products while practicing anti-racism with other vendors, volunteers, and neighbors. The People’s Market CSA store opened during the pandemic lockdown, providing contactless pickup and delivery options, and has grown into an on-the-ground market as Covid precautions allowed, while still continuing the online store. With cultivating a sense of belonging for all who share these values as the main objective, the People’s Market strives to work towards intersectional anti-racism, create space for food justice work, create meaningful collaborations, build equity, cultivate liberation, and ensure access to local food, art, and education.


Be More... Energized

Youth Volunteer of the Year

Recipient: Alexandra’s Army

Organization: Alexandra’s Army

Summary:  Alexandra's Army, led by Alexandra Daley, is composed of a group of children ages 4 to 18, dedicated to raising awareness in the community concerning the great need food banks have had during the pandemic, and collecting food goods to have a positive impact. With parents in tow, these children put on a smile, walk down drives and through yards, and knock on dozens of doors to spread awareness and collect as many items as possible. Alexandra’s Army has collected over 4,000 pounds of food for the Hoosier Hills Foodbank, which depends on groups like Alexandra's Army to continue to thrive.


Be More... Extraordinary

Volunteer Program of the Year

Recipient: WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, & Technology Volunteer Program - Jeanne Gunning and Diane David, volunteer specialists 

Summary: The volunteer program at WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology has long been respected in the volunteer management community as innovative, thoughtful, responsive, and respectful of their volunteer’s needs. Jeanne Gunning and Diane David have worked diligently to professionalize the program and make each volunteer’s experience and impact on the organization at the heart of their program. Their focus on accessibility, equity, recognition, support, and mentorship has inspired pride and loyalty in their volunteer corps. Nominator and long-time WonderLab volunteer Ann Edmonds says, "My life has been enriched by interacting with visitors to WonderLab and participants in its programs. Jeanne and Diane communicate with volunteers with warmth, respect, and genuine interest.” Jeanne and Diane are both retiring in 2022 and should be proud of what they have built at WonderLab. WonderLab should also be commended for its investment in volunteer engagement and professionalizing its engagement program to support staff in these endeavors.


Be More... Committed (no cash award)

Community-Minded Business of the Year

Recipient: Cardinal Spirits

Summary: Cardinal Spirits is a true example of a business that cares and gives back to its community. The Bloomington business community is a giving community. In that context, Cardinal Spirits stands out. They rarely say no when asked to help local nonprofits. Co-owner Jeff Wuslich reflected on the focus that Cardinal Spirits was founded on, “We wanted to live and work and have the opportunity to grow this community and be a part of it.” Cardinal Spirits responded to the urgent community need for sanitizer at the beginning of the pandemic. “It wasn’t even really a decision; It was just what we were doing,” Jeff Wuslich said. “It was something that we felt good about to support our community at a time of need and also keep our staff employed and working. We really felt fortunate to be able to contribute to the community in that way.”


For more information about the awards, or photographs of the honorees, please go to or contact Lucy Schaich at 812-349-3433 or