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NMSU College of Education Service Learning Program honors volunteers with award

The New Mexico State University College of Education Service Learning Program awarded 11 volunteers with the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award, a national honor offered in recognition of volunteer service. The awards were presented at a ceremony and celebration Thursday, April 29, at the NMSU golf course.


Established in 2003, the award is available on an annual basis to individuals, groups and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering. As one of thousands of certifying organizations participating in the award program, the College of Education Service Learning Program confers the award to recognize the outstanding achievements of its volunteers.

The 11 NMSU students recognized were Jessica Williams, Madison Hill, Sabrina Herrera, Alexandra Castillo, Cassandra De La Rosa, Amanda Marcus, Lydia Sanchez, Julie Painter, Kristina Chavez, Dianna Garcia and Larisa Keeler.

The College of Education Service Learning Program's primary goal is to support student teachers enrolled in education classes to participate in service learning as public-school tutors and after-school tutors at community agencies. The Aggie Tutor Partnership fulfills community needs by maintaining and developing partnerships between the college, students and the community, as well as providing assistance to faculty who are interested in developing service-learning components in their courses. After the formal semester of academically based service learning, these students are then provided with the option to continue to work in the schools and community agencies as volunteer tutors. More than 100 volunteers perform this community service each semester on behalf of the organization.

April 21 marked the first year the program has been in place, ensuring the continued growth of service across the country and in the community of Las Cruces.

"The U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes individual NMSU students who have answered that call to service," said Denise Rodriguez-Strawn, coordinator of the College of Education Service Learning Program, "America's volunteers work to make our communities stronger and safer. As a certifying organization for the award program, the College of Education Service Learning Program is proud to be aligned with this prestigious volunteer award, and we are proud of our volunteers who have made volunteer service a central part of their lives."

To be eligible to receive the award, individuals, families and groups submit a record of their annual volunteer service hours to participating certifying organizations, such as the College of Education Service Learning Program, that will verify the service and deliver the award. Eligibility for individuals and groups is based on hour requirements varying by age.

"These recipients of the award are role models for all NMSU students, as well as the individual public schools students they tutor," Rodriguez-Strawn said, "Each volunteer hour contributed makes a difference in improving the quality of life for others, and I encourage everyone to contribute to our community by both participating in service learning and by volunteering, becoming more deeply committed to our communities bringing us closer together as families, as a community, and as a nation."

The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in communities and encourage more people to serve.

For more information about volunteering or participating in the College of Education's Service Learning Program, please contact Rodriguez-Strawn at (575) 646-3593 or at servicelearning@nmsu.edu.

For more information about how to qualify for the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award and to find out how to identify additional volunteer opportunities in this area, visit www.PresidentialServiceAwards.gov or call 1 (866) 545-5307.