Miami, June 21, 2016 – Miami Dade College (MDC) will honor nearly 1,000 students and faculty college-wide at its 10th Annual President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA) ceremony at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 28, at MDC Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. This year’s keynote speaker will be Trabian Shorters, BMe Community founder and an Ashoka Fellow. The awards are organized by MDC’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy.
The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the PVSA awards to recognize individuals, families and groups that have achieved a substantial amount of volunteer hours over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime. MDC has the largest number of PVSA recipients of any higher education institution in Florida.
One such student is Lina Gaviria, a nursing student who will speak at the ceremony. She has spent the past four months working to save the life of a five–year-old boy she met on a service trip to Immokalee, Fl., who has Retinoblastoma, an aggressive tumor that presents in the first years of age. In addition to working full-time as a night shift nurse and being a full-time student at MDC, she has volunteered more than 500 hours raising funds, driving the boy and his family to and from Immokolee and successfully arranging for pro-bono care that in the end saved his life. Gaviria will be recognized with a Gold award.
“It gives me great pride, and hope for the future, to see that so many MDC students have made such a significant commitment to service”, said MDC Wolfson Campus President Dr. Richard Soria. “This year our students have provided more than 100,000 hours of service to hundreds of community partners and organizations throughout South Florida addressing some of our community’s most pressing social, environmental, and civic needs.”
Each student will receive a personalized letter from President Barack Obama, a lapel pin, a certificate from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, and a letter of commendation from MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. Among the honorees, 117 will receive a gold award for 250 or more hours of service; 66 will receive a silver award for 175-249 hours and 210 students will receive a bronze award for volunteering 100-174 hours. In addition, 33 student organizations will be awarded for their collective commitment to service, completing a minimum of 200 hours as a group.
A Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to MDC Kendall Professor John Frazier in recognition of serving over 5,000 hours with the United Nations and UNICEF in East Africa, Central Africa, and Haiti over the last 20 years. Student Kimberly Hahn will also be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for serving more than 4,200 with City Year Miami.
Shorters is a retired tech entrepreneur, social innovator and a former foundation executive. He is the founder of BMe Community, a social network of all races and genders who believe in valuing all members of the human family, recognizing black men as assets, and building more caring and prosperous communities together. He is the co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Reach: 40 Black Men Speaking on Living, Leading and Succeeding. As vice president of communities for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation from 2007 to 2013, Shorters helped build communities in 26 cities and directed the Knight Community Information Challenge to experiment with funding new projects. He also directed a portfolio of $300 million in active grants and endowments.