U.S. presidential award recognizes volunteers

Members of the Mississippi State and Starkville communities have the opportunity to help others and receive recognition for it through the President's Volunteer Service Award.

Created in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration, the national challenge seeks to recognize the valuable contributions of volunteers who have answered the call to serve others through current activities or lifetime service.

The university's student-driven Maroon Volunteer Center is encouraging and supporting community involvement and volunteer service. As a certifying organization, the MVC identifies eligible recipients and verifies their service hours.

The center also will recognize top volunteers during an April 24 banquet, with Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr., as keynote speaker. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hunter Henry Center.

"The awards stand not just as a personal record, but also as a testament to the culture of service in the Starkville and Mississippi State communities," said Meggan Franks, program coordinator for student leadership and community engagement.

Franks said there are three award levels, with winners in each receiving a certificate and a pin. The categories and levels include:

Young Adults, ages 15--25: Bronze Award, 100-174 hours; Silver Award, 175-249 hours; gold Award, 250 or more hours.

Adults, ages 26 and up: Bronze Award, 100-249 hours; Silver Award, 250-499 hours; Gold Award, 500 or more hours.

Groups and Organizations, two or more people with each contributing at least 25 hours: Bronze Award, 200-499 hours; Silver Award, 500-999 hours; Gold Award, 1,000 or more hours.

To be eligible for this year's awards ceremony, records of service hours must be submitted before April 9 to www.mvc.msstate.edu. Community members also may submit their service hours to www.volunteerstarkville.org.

Also available is the President's Call to Service Award for individuals completing 4,000 or more volunteer service hours over the course of their lifetime.

Available throughout the school year, volunteer projects may be completed on individual or group bases. A list of current projects may be found at the above listed website.

Franks said eligible volunteer service hours are not limited to those performed on behalf of the MVC, or with its partner, Volunteer Starkville. They also may be accumulated through work on a variety of projects throughout the year, with participants eligible to qualify for a new award every 12 months.

For more information about the President's Volunteer Service Award challenge or the MVC, visit volunteer@saffairs.msstate.edu.

Margaret Kovar | University Relations

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