The selfless service and generous efforts of 150 local students were recognized during the annual National President’s Volunteer Service Award ceremony Wednesday made possible in partnership with Georgia College GIVE Center, Hands on Milledgeville and Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County.
“Volunteering to me is the best way to make a massive impact in someone’s life. Giving back to the community and those in need and knowing I am making a difference is such an amazing feeling ... I just love helping people; it is as simple as that,” said Barrett Roell, a senior marketing and management major at Georgia College. “Winning the Presidential Service Award and being recognized for my volunteer efforts is awesome, and I am very proud to get to be acknowledged for what I do, but winning a medal isn’t the true award — it’s knowing I’ve made a difference.”
The students from Georgia College, Baldwin High School, Georgia Military College Prep School and John Milledge Academy tracked a minimum of 100 volunteer hours within 12 months, providing 15,000 hours with their helping hands.
“If volunteer time is worth $20, that’s $300,000 these youth have saved the community, so that definitely impacts our community greatly,” said Kendall Stiles, director of the GIVE Center. “The number is only part of the story. I think the other side of it is the lives they’ve touched and the difference they’ve made in the recipients life as well.”
Stiles kicked off the evening with a welcome before Mayor Richard Bentley, Georgia College Student Government Association President Cody Allen and Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman provided congratulatory remarks. The keynote speaker was Georgia College senior Alexa “Lexi” Kraft. Several local nonprofit organizations were also represented, along with families and friends to commend the students.
Georgia College senior Michele McGuire’s legacy was distinguished with the Giving Tree Award in addition to her second National President’s Volunteer Service Award. Her experience with Gamma Sigma Sigma since freshman year has allowed her to play a leadership role in various events, including the Life Enrichment Center’s Black and White Gallery, Survivors in Pink and the Great Pantry Cleanout.