Bowdoin Named Volunteer/Community Partner of the Year

Story posted May 12, 2005

Bowdoin College has been named Volunteer/Community Partner of the Year by Volunteers of America Northern New England. Bowdoin was presented with the award Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Bowdoin President Barry Mills accepted on behalf of the College.

At the same gathering, Bowdoin seniors Chris McCabe and Libby Nells were honored by the College for their exceptional commitment to service.

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Representatives from Bowdoin, Volunteers of America, and The Pine Tree Society gathered Tuesday for the award presentation. Susan Dorn, director of Bowdoin's Community Service Resource Center (c.), is holding the award.

Volunteer/Community Partner of the Year
The Volunteers of America award is designed to recognize an individual volunteer, group of volunteers or an organization that best represents and supports the values and mission of Volunteers of America. This commitment enriches the quality of life for their clients, uplifts the human condition and demonstrates that there truly are "No limits to caring."

"Bowdoin College and its faculty and students have set a high standard and we are truly grateful for their support and for this cherished relationship," said Jennifer Goldman, director of community engagement for Volunteers of America. "It has made an important difference in people's lives. We are also very excited about working together in the future to continue to do great things. Congratulations to everyone at Bowdoin College for being named the Volunteers of America Northern New England's Volunteer/Community Partner of the Year."

Volunteers of America recognized Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Janet Lohmann for bringing service learning into their organization. Service projects taken on by Bowdoin students in the past year included:

  • 35 sociology students participated in a semester-long research project on criminogenic risk factors and homeless youth.
  • 12 students participated in the Bayview Heights Yard Sale to help raise funds for the affordable senior housing community.
  • A very successful internship program was implemented with Libby Nells '05, who worked on a number of projects including Volunteers of America's summer camp for at risk youth.

Bowdoin was chosen to receive the award by the employees of Volunteers of America, who have commented:

"This has been a great partnership that benefits everyone involved."

"The many resources and expertise at Bowdoin allow us to enhance our current services and create new, innovative programming for our clients."

"The energy that the Bowdoin students bring to their community service projects inspires both staff and clients."

"It is clear that Bowdoin College and its students are truly committed to giving back to the community."

"This is a very crucial partnership as it helps us break down some of the barriers that exist between the Brunswick community and the campus."

"As an organization, we feel strongly that it is worth investing time and energy into Bowdoin students; they represent some of the best and brightest voices in the Bath/Brunswick community."

Two Seniors Honored
Chris McCabe '05 and Libby Nells '05 were honored at the gathering for their volunteer work through community service and service learning. Each of their awards is accompanied by a $100 donation that goes to the public service organization of the student's choice.

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Chris McCabe and Pine Tree's Linda Bonnar.

Chris McCabe was presented with the Lydia Bell Award for Initiative and Leadership in Public Service. This award is presented annually to a Bowdoin senior who exhibits the energy, enthusiasm and commitment necessary to initiate and lead opportunities for others to effect change, influencing the Bowdoin culture in the process.

McCabe participated regularly in service activities during his early years at Bowdoin, particularly with Special Friends, a service group on campus that organizes field trips for a group of adults with disabilities. As co-president of the Community Service Council, he worked to increase the effectiveness of student service groups volunteering in the community. Most recently, he was a driving force in pioneering a new program, the Common Good Grant Extension Committee. Through the efforts of this initiative $2,700 was added to the base $10,000 of the Common Good Grant, enabling the student committee to fund an additional proposal. In many ways it has been McCabe's connection with Pine Tree Society that heightened his awareness of the needs of the non-profit world while influencing his commitment to serving in that world when he leaves Bowdoin. He chose Pine Tree Society for Handicapped Children and Adults to receive his donation.

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(Left to right) Bowdoin President Barry Mills, Libby Nells, Jim Bowditch, and Volunteers of America NNE President and CEO June Koegel..

Libby Nells was presented with the Jim Bowditch Spirit of Service Award. This award is presented annually to a Bowdoin senior who embraces such a commitment to improving the lives of others through service that their life speaks strongly, while they remain humbly quiet.

Nells has been involved in a number of Bowdoin service programs and has developed a strong relationship with Volunteers of America. When collecting data in a service learning course for a criminal justice project with Volunteers of America, she demonstrated her commitment not only to the academic study of the issues, but also to the ways in which such knowledge could be put into action. As her interest in crime and justice became more firmly established, she used her Public Interest Career Fellowship to intern with Volunteers of America during the summer of 2004 addressing these issues over the course of three months. In addition, Nells has spent countless hours serving as co-chair of the Common Good Grant Committee and organizing numerous service opportunities for the residents of MacMillan House. Her unyielding spirit for serving the needs of others has been an inspiration to her peers, faculty and staff alike. Nells chose Volunteers of America to receive her donation.

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