HHS Student Nominated for 2019 Spirit of Volunteerism Award

Sioux Falls, S.D., May 9, 2019 – A sold out crowd of more than 600 people, including local community leaders, non-profit agency representatives and business executives, turned out Thursday, May 9, for the 2019 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards. The Helpline Center hosted the luncheon at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. A total of 84 nominees, all of whom are local volunteers, were recognized at the 36th annual awards luncheon. Luke Morris was nominated by Sanford USD Medical Center for the Spirit of Volunteerism Youth Award. Photos from the event can be found online at: http://helplinecenter.org/SESVA 

Winners of the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards were announced in the following categories: Youth, Group, Adult (Up and Coming, Shining Bright, Lifetime), and Corporate Humanitarian. In addition, 12 Volunteer of the Month award winners were recognized during the program and three local high school students received a Youth Leadership Award scholarship.  The banquet featured inspiring stories about unsung heroes going above and beyond to volunteer in our community.

The Spirit of Volunteerism Awards luncheon is held annually by the Helpline Center to honor outstanding volunteers in the Sioux Falls area. Sponsors of the event include Midco, Avera, The First National Bank in Sioux Falls, Independent Insurance Agents of Sioux Falls, High Point Networks, Children’s Dental Center and Parkway Orthodontics, First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, MetaBank and Citi.

The 2019 Spirit of Volunteerism Award winners are:

  • Youth Volunteer Award: Grace Bowar, for her involvement in the Best Buddy program in Brandon Valley High School. Her interest in helping individuals with a disability stems from having a brother with Down Syndrome. Grace identifies with how important inclusion is, that everyone needs a friend and we are all more alike than different.
  • Up and Coming Volunteer Award: Sharon Jorde, for volunteering her time as a foster mom. She has remained at the youngest child's bedside during an unexpected viral illness, which kept the child hospitalized for over 40 days. Sharon has been this child’s daily champion, care giver and constant encourager.  By volunteering to become a Foster Mom, Sharon provided extra love and devotion this child needed for recovery.
  • Shining Bright Volunteer Award: Dawn Stephens, for volunteering 272 hours in 2018, giving back $10,000 to nonprofit organizations in the Sioux Empire via the Wellmark Blues Care Giving program, which financially matches the hours employees volunteer. Dawn has served the homeless and those who have food insecurities. She has coordinated distribution of art supplies and assists at Cleveland Elementary School. Dawn has a passion for giving back and works to make each situation or opportunity she is given a positive one.
  • Lifetime Volunteer Award: Linda Schulte, for her service with Road to Recovery program as a volunteer driver through the American Cancer Society. Linda lost her husband to Pancreatic Cancer and after going through that with her husband she said, “I couldn’t save him but maybe I can help others who are going through cancer treatments.”  She also volunteers weekly at Avera, in the NICU rocking babies, Prairie Center Cancer Institute Lab registering patients, and at the Avera Family Health Center.
  • Group Category: Call to Freedom Volunteer Administrative Team, for providing invaluable day to day support in assisting staff with various projects and supporting the efforts made daily to serve their clients. The administrative volunteer team fills the organizational gaps so funding can go towards serving survivors of human trafficking. The Call to Freedom Volunteer Administrative Team works as administrative support, assisting with social media and marketing and organizing their annual fundraiser to bringing more awareness to the issue of human trafficking.
  • Corporate Humanitarian Category: Celebrate Community Church, for launching a bold vision to assist the students and families at Terry Redlin Elementary. Celebrate members and staff give 150 hours each month impacting lives as they serve as consistent, kind, compassionate mentors. They also volunteer time in classrooms, helping with school events and providing additional resources for a school who needs a little extra support and help.

Citi also presented the Youth Leadership Awards at the event.  Six high school students received $2,000 scholarships in recognition for their community involvement:

  • Darby Hurd, Bridgewater-Emery High School
  • Abby Maloney, New Technology High School
  • Lauren Heethuis, Sioux Falls Christian High School

 The following Volunteers of the Month were also recognized:

The Helpline Center Volunteer Connections program provides the critical link between those who want to volunteer and the agencies that need them. The Volunteer Connections program manages an online database of hundreds of volunteer opportunities in the Sioux Empire. The volunteer database can be accessed at volunteer.helplinecenter.org. Helpline Center Volunteer Connections also recruits volunteers through weekly emails and texts, provides volunteer manager trainings, organizes the Volunteer Sioux Falls events and coordinates volunteer recognition events such as Spirit of Volunteerism Awards and Volunteer of the Month.

About the Helpline Center

The Helpline Center began serving the Sioux Empire community in 1974. Through the years, the agency grew to 24 hour/7 days a week service, and now serves multiple communities across South Dakota. The Helpline Center serves thousands of people every year by connecting individuals to resources and support, providing referrals, connecting people with volunteer opportunities, offering hope to individuals with thoughts of suicide and supporting families bereaved by a suicide loss. The mission of the Helpline Center is making lives better by giving support, offering hope and creating connections all day, every day. We fulfill our mission through the following core service areas: 21