The Office of Civic & Community Engagement (OCCE) has announced the winners of its 2020 Service Awards in student, faculty and staff, and community partner categories.
The OCCE Service Awards recognize students, faculty, staff, and members of the community who have successfully and effectively worked to create meaningful social change around a particular issue, either on campus or in the Winston-Salem community.
Established in honor of Chaplain Ed Christman, who retired in 2003 after 49 years of service to Wake Forest, each year the Christman Award acknowledges a senior that has gone above and beyond through both their volunteering and service to the community. This year’s award recognizes Grace Yucha and her work with the Kids Cooking Coalition (KCC).
Yucha’s journey with the KCC started as one of the program’s first student volunteers in 2018. Through her enthusiasm and dedication, she eventually became a site director in 2019 and again in 2020, providing guidance to both volunteers and elementary school students enrolled in the program. In her three years working with KCC, Yucha has exceeded expectations in volunteerism by serving a different community site each year, and by helping to develop both the volunteer recruitment program and training curriculum for Wake Forest students.
Most importantly, as noted in her nomination, Yucha captivates her audience — over a dozen elementary-age children — making learning fun and enjoyable. Through her patience, humor, and enthusiasm, Yucha has not only impacted the KCC on a programmatic level, but has impacted the lives of the children in the Kids Cooking Coalition.
The Change-Maker Award, which honors a student that has demonstrated a long-term commitment to a social issue and has worked to lead their peers in the same commitment, goes to Wake Forest senior, Alexander Holt. Since his junior year at Wake Forest, Holt has dedicated himself to galvanizing student support and leading his peers with positive action through his work with the Wake Forest Student Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC).
Through his work with ARC, Holt has worked tirelessly alongside faculty and staff to advocate for racial equity on campus. Since ARC was formed in 2019, Holt has worked tirelessly to advance its mission in combating white supremacy and anti-blackness, by speaking with faculty at their college-wide meetings, leading sessions with first-year students, and organizing speak-outs.
Recognizing a student who demonstrates exemplary service to the community and Wake Forest, Lilly Parker is the recipient of the 2020 Junior Service Excellence Award. An active member of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) service fraternity for the past three years, Parker currently serves as its President, following a year as the Service Vice President in 2018-19.
As APO President, Parker guides over 250 Wake Forest students through their service experience and helps coordinate weekly service events for the chapter. In addition to her leadership role with the fraternity and balancing her coursework as a Wake Forest undergraduate student, Parker continues to serve the community by volunteering her own time with Latino Community Services and the Ronald McDonald House on a weekly basis.
Recognizing a student who demonstrates exemplary service to the community and Wake Forest, Kate Pearson is this year’s recipient of the 2020 Sophomore Service Excellence Award for her work with the Wake Forest Student Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC).
Prior to the event’s cancellation due to COVID-19, Pearson was the lead organizer of this year’s speakout scheduled to take place in April. As a sophomore, she has been categorized as one of the most energetic activists for social justice on campus. As a testament to her accomplishments with ARC, Pearson was selected by University administration to serve as the student representative of its delegation at the 2019 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at Villanova University alongside several high-level University officials.
Recognizing a student who demonstrates exemplary service to the community and Wake Forest, Jayden Brown is this year’s recipient of the 2020 Freshman Service Excellence Award for her volunteer efforts with Petree Elementary School in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system.
A resident of Winston-Salem prior to attending Wake Forest, Brown has a history of volunteering in the community, particularly with K-12 education. Following an anonymous donation, Brown began a Uniform Closet for Petree Elementary, supplying over 500 pieces of clothing from Target. Her efforts have allowed several children at the school, who would otherwise go without the issued school uniform, to be outfitted for the year.
Following the move to remote learning this spring, the status of Wake ‘N Shake — Wake Forest’s largest student-run philanthropic event — seemed uncertain. In a matter of three weeks, an event that brings together 1,500 students in the Sutton Center each spring was made virtual. For its efforts to continue its mission and bring together the Wake Forest community in the fight against cancer — despite the circumstances — Wake ‘N Shake is the 2020 recipient of the Student Organization Service Excellence Award, recognizing an organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to both the community and University.
This year’s event marked two milestones: the 15th anniversary of Wake ‘N Shake, and the 50th anniversary of the untimely death from cancer of Brian Piccolo, a Wake Forest football legend and namesake of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund, which the event benefits. Together, Wake ‘N Shake student leaders made the event a reality in a virtual setting. In all, dancers participated for 12 hours on Saturday, April 4th through various social media channels and raised $383,550.29 for the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Given to a member of the Wake Forest faculty that represents the Pro Humanitate Teacher-Scholar ideal through their service to the broader community, this year’s Faculty Service Excellence Award goes to Dr. Dani Parker-Moore. Recipients of this award practice impactful ways to incorporate service-learning in their teaching and research, and/or advising of community-engaged students, all of which are evident through Parker-Moore’s work with the Wake Forest Freedom School.
As the Executive Director of the Wake Forest Freedom School, Parker-Moore has applied her researched best practices into life-changing programs for underserved students in Winston-Salem. Not only does she work to ensure that the children enrolled in Freedom School have access to the tools needed to succeed, she also works alongside parents of the program to increase self-efficacy, skills of advocacy, and empowerment while their children are enrolled as students.
Behind the scenes, Parker-Moore works tirelessly to bring this program to the Winston-Salem community at no cost to families. In addition, her programs give back to those employees that serve the Wake Forest community day-in and day-out (Aramark and Budd) with a free University-run program for their children throughout the summer months.
Created in honor of Mike Ford, this award not only acknowledges the many ways that he inspired leadership both on campus and in the community but recognizes a staff member who carries on the same legacy of servant leadership. This year’s recipient of the Michael G. Ford Servant Leadership Award is Dwight Lewis, Associate Athletics Director, Community & Alumni Relations.
Lewis has worked tirelessly to cultivate Wake Forest student-athletes into both civic and community leaders throughout his time with the Demon Deacons, providing endless service opportunities in the spirit of Pro Humanitate. Under his leadership, there has been an increase in both civic and community engagement from Demon Deacon student-athletes.
Lewis’ commitment to connect and develop student-athletes, integrating them into the greater mission of Wake Forest and into the Winston-Salem community, is an example of the kindness and dedication exhibited by Mike Ford.
The Community Partner Service Award recognizes a stellar community partner that contributes significantly to the vision of Pro Humanitate through their collaboration with student organizations, staff or faculty departments, courses and other community-based projects. This year’s recipient is Mia Parker, Parental Involvement Coordinator at Kimberly Park Elementary.
Always willing to collaborate with the community, Parker has shown a willingness to partner with Wake Forest and other organizations to ensure that her students have the best education and opportunities available to them. This year, after finding out that a handful of students couldn’t afford to go on their class trip to Washington, D.C., Parker organized a Bingo Night to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost, collaborating with Michelle Howard, an AmeriCorps VISTA in the OCCE. Additionally, she continually works with the Network of Educational Resources and Development (N.E.R.D.) to help set training guidelines and assist with programming for Wake Forest students. Her initiative, vision, and drive to better the school, its students, and its families does not go unnoticed. In every aspect of her work, Parker has demonstrated what both a successful and healthy partnership should exemplify.
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