Harrison Harward, a senior at Suncoast High School was recently announced the youth winner for the 2013-14 Outstanding School Volunteer Awards by the Florida Department of Education. Harrison has been volunteering since she was in elementary school. Her contributions include making newsletters for various schools; working on projects such as feeding the homeless; working with the American Cancer Society and with Green Day events; letter‐writing campaigns; and peer student support. At her brother’s school, H.L. Johnson Elementary, she created a news program that is shown at lunch each day. The program includes school news and various topics of interest, including astronomy pictures and facts, the “day” in history, weird science facts, and a math problem of the day. Through her ingenuity, she founded Communiteenz, a website that has brought together a close‐knit group of nearly 300 teenagers with one common goal…to volunteer. Through Communiteenz, students can find out where a volunteer is needed, sign up for events and log their hours. The program spans multiple social media sites and is connected to various schools and organizations within Palm Beach County.
For the 2013-14 Outstanding School Volunteer Awards, Palm Beach County was the only District in the state with two winners. While Harrison Harward was awarded as the youth volunteer, Lenore Hodges was awarded the adult winner. Lenore has volunteered in schools for 32 years and in 8 different Palm Beach County schools for 17 years. Lenore has tutored students in reading and created an aid that helped increase test scores. As a veteran volunteer, Lenore led a campaign to see that students ate healthy meals and helped underserved students obtain scholarships, home computers, and internet access. Her contributions include assisting in the media center, working at Fun Fairs, field days, book fairs, photo days, dances, productions, and appreciation events, to name just a few. Her fundraising skills brought in more than $40,000 to Palm Beach County schools. She has even prepared the Five Star School Award portfolio for two different schools. Last year, when Lenore had to take some time off, six people were needed to cover all her responsibilities.
One youth, adult and senior school volunteer is selected annually from the five regions of Florida for Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year honors. The criteria for selection is based on the number of service hours, years of service, type of contribution and uniqueness of services rendered.
Region V consists of Palm Beach, Broward, Dade and Monroe counties. Debi Elfen, District Volunteer Program Coordinator, said “We currently have approximately 34,000 volunteers in our schools and each one is invaluable. However, it is thrilling when I am able to provide extra recognition for those who are truly outstanding. Harrison and Lenore are super stars and we are fortunate to have them.” They will receive a plaque from the Department of Education at the Volunteer and Business Partnerships Awards Breakfast to be held on May 9, 2014 at the Kravis Center.
REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office Dec. 2013