December 06, 2017
On November 18th, 2017 the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust hosted the President Barack Obama Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Service Award Ceremony, facilitated through Kenneth Gray in collaboration with Dr Lenora Wimberly-Peterson (Corporation for National and Community Service.) This historical building provided the perfect backdrop for a very inclusive ceremony honoring service, collaboration and emphasis on progress for humanity.
The Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) was launched in 2003 “to recognize the importance of volunteers to America’s strength and national identity, and furthermore, to honor the deeply invested volunteers whose service is multiplied through the inspiration they give others.” This special initiative is now managed in collaboration with Points of Light, an international nonprofit sharing the mission to “inspire, equip, and mobilize people to take action to change the world.” Receiving the Lifetime Service Award meant having served 10,000 hours as a volunteer until 2017 and the change of Presidency.
The November 18th ceremony honored 9 individuals who are committed to service as well as collaboration. More so, all recipients were surprised by the nomination and were unsure about how to react or speak on this occasion given that their service is based on their values, not on official recognition. Among the recipients were Leotha Woodson, Leader of Noah’s Ark Mins, Inc., as well as Ms. Ebony McMorris, and Councilmen Pete Smith – a Marine and now representative for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Keenan W. Ellerbe, Andrea Blackstone, Amina Whirter, and Rev. Tony Lee. Most notable was the achievement of Tyler Stallings, a 6-year old young man, who is sharing his gifts through his company Kid Time Enterprises, Inc. Speakers included Ms. Cassandra Ferguson and Dr. Kyle Randolph Bacon. All recipients, speakers and attendees emphasized that this award only strengthened their commitment to service and that they are eager to collaborate with each other and expand their combined power to reach even more people who need and deserve support.
Dr. Natalie Forest, one of the recipients, states that “I am in awe of standing with these amazing servant leaders and I honestly cannot wait to see what we will create together to be even more impactful. I am so honored that…