Government & Politics

Gov. Announces Youth Volunteer Service Awards

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Staff Report

Governor Jack Markell will present the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards to eight individuals and seven groups of young people on Thursday, May 19 at Polytech Adult Education Conference Center in Woodside. More than 200 people are expected to join the Governor in honoring the young volunteers for their outstanding service.

Gov. Markell and his wife, Carla, have been champions for volunteerism and service, creating and participating in the annual Delaware Week of Service every year since 2009. Since 2010, the number of Delawareans who volunteer has increased 30 percent, with the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) reporting more than 192,000 Delawareans volunteering in 2014, contributing 21.4 million hours of service to nonprofit and community organizations. CNCS found that about one in four young people in Delaware volunteer.

“Across the state, I am impressed by the level of commitment our young people have to volunteerism and to serving vulnerable populations,” Gov. Markell said. “Every day, they demonstrate that one person can make a difference in the lives of others. For Carla and me, drawing attention to volunteerism in Delaware and celebrating it has been one of our greatest honors.”

The 2016 award recipients participated in such diverse activities as assisting people with disabilities, educating peers, leading nature and agriculture programs, supporting a fire company, coordinating blood drives and organizing fundraisers. They are representative of Delaware’s young people who are making a positive contribution to society, and inspiring others to do the same.

“Our young people demonstrate that by helping others, especially those in vulnerable populations, it brings us all closer together and enhances our collective sense of community,” said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the State Office of Volunteerism. “From one generation to the next, that level of compassion and commitment shows how we are building a stronger and healthier Delaware.”

The awards honor the volunteer efforts of young Delawareans in the areas of arts and culture, community service, education, environment, health, human needs, public service and social justice/advocacy. Volunteer efforts must have been performed during 2015, although prior volunteer activity can be highlighted to show long-term commitment. To be eligible, individuals must have been enrolled as secondary school students for the 2014-2015 academic year and be 18 or younger. Several local individuals and groups will be honored at this year’s awards ceremony.

Weston B. Williams, of Felton, will be honored for his service in education. Weston does a variety of volunteer work and each year selects one large service project. Last year, he organized a book drive in February throughout the Lake Forest School District and collected more than 4,500 books. Weston and his family made deliveries throughout Kent County and into Sussex County. The recipients of his book drive included Mom’s House, People’s Place, Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital (Pediatrics), Bayhealth-Milford Memorial Hospital, Harrington Library, Greenwood Library, a local veteran’s group, Kent County Library and The Shepherd Place.

Cody Outten, of Harrington, will be honored for his service in Public Safety. As an active member of the Harrington Volunteer Fire Company, Cody has volunteered more than 100 hours responding to a multitude of emergency incidents and another 50 or more working at hall functions that support the financial needs of the Volunteer Fire Company. As a direct result of Cody’s volunteer service, a particular truck may have another person on it to cover a task more quickly and a truck may get out of the station faster for a situation in which every second matters.

The Milford Scouts, Boy Scouts Troop 116 and Girl Scout Troop 1233, will be honored for their service in Public Safety. Scouts by their nature are committed to service; it’s in their oath. Milford Scouts, Boy Scouts Troop 116 and Girl Scout Troop 1233 have demonstrated their commitment to Scouting and their commitment to the community by initiating and completing 10 service projects resulting in almost 1,100 hours of community service. Through their community service, the Milford Scouts have enriched the lives of the citizens in Kent County, enhanced the safety of visitors to the Air Mobility Command Museum, provided care to discarded and abused pets, cleaned and evaluated the health of the environment and provided data to environmental managers to change policy. It is safe to say they have touched the lives of thousands, not just today, but into the future.

The Lake Forest High School Principles of Leadership Class, of Felton, will be honored for their service in Health and Special Needs. The Lake Forest High School Principles in Leadership Class consists of 29 students who performed almost 2,500 hours of service that touch all parts of their community. The positive impact on the community is as varied and far-reaching as the 19 different service projects for which the members of the Principles in Leadership Class volunteered. These 29 students serve as role models for younger students and their peers and show adults that the next generation is ready and able to take on the challenges of today’s world in a positive manner.

The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor and are coordinated by the State Office of Volunteerism and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. To learn more about volunteer opportunities in Delaware, individuals can visit The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards will be held on Thursday, May 19 at Polytech Adult Education Conference Center in Woodside. The event will begin with a reception at 5 pm, followed by dinner at 6 pm and the ceremony starting at 7 pm Tickets are $25 per person and are available online at

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