Desiree Farnal, a second year CalSERVES VIP Fellow serving with the YouthSERVE program at the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center, was awarded the 2016 Governor’s Volunteering and Service Award for the Catherine Milton California AmeriCorps Member of the Year! The Governor’s Volunteering and Service Awards is an event under CaliforniaVolunteers in which they honor the following:
- California’s Business Volunteer Program of the Year
- California’s Non-Profit of the Year
- California’s Disaster Program of the Year
- California’s Governmental Agency of the Year
- Catherine Milton California AmeriCorps Member of the Year
- California’s Volunteer of the Year.
Desiree had this to say about the experience:
“Christina Thurston, my supervisor, told me I was awarded the AmeriCorps of the Year Award as I walked into the office from lunch. I had no idea she nominated me, nor did I know what the award was so it was a total surprise! In reading an email from Karen Baker, Chief Service Officer of CaliforniaVolunteers, I really understood what the award was. I felt honored that Christina saw my potential and I was ultimately recognized for my contribution to strengthening community.
I was expected to give an acceptance speech so I wanted to make sure that I was prepared. I especially wanted to thank our volunteers who consistently do impactful work in the community. It was extremely nerve wrecking waiting to be presented with the award, especially because of who was in the room: Karen Baker, Catherine Milton, CaliforniaVolunteers Commissioners, representatives from other AmeriCorps programs, etc., but once I got up there, and gave my speech, I felt comfortable. I was proud to represent the VIP program, the Volunteer Center, and our volunteers and I wanted to make sure I represented everyone appropriately. The whole experience was amazing and very humbling. I was surrounded around local heroes, and listening to their stories was so inspiring. The California’s Volunteer of the Year recipient is a volunteer firefighter, first responder, duty officer, public information officer, EMT, and so much more! To be awarded alongside the charitable and respected individuals and organizations is a testament to the caliber of our volunteers in Santa Cruz County.
I’m hoping this award and my final year of service shines a light on AmeriCorps, and specifically the VIP program in Santa Cruz County and what our volunteers do in our community. The VIP program has allowed me to explore my interests and develop professionally and I am truly grateful for this experience.”
Congratulations Desiree on this impressive accomplishment! We are so proud of you!