Students, fundraiser receive presidential honor
Two students and a volunteer group of Georgia College’s GIVE Center became recipients of a national award established by former President George H. W. Bush.
Ashley Pittman, Courtney LaHatte and Georgia College Miracle became recipients of Bush’s Daily Point of Light Award, which honors individuals or groups who have created meaningful change in their communities across America.
“Our last Daily Point of Light recipients date back to 2005, so it’s wonderful our students, programs and events are still being recognized locally and nationally,” said Kendall Stiles, GIVE Center director. “These students have gone way past volunteering and leadership development. They have taken their passions and skills to a level that will leave a legacy on campus and in our communities.”
The recipients earned recognition for the following causes during the 2012-2013 academic year:
- Alexa Kraft, senior English major. Kraft organized and led an innovative five-day service trip to address the needs of underserved populations within her own community in Atlanta. She also co-organizes a diabetes 5K walk and run on campus to help fund Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
- Ashley Pittman, senior nursing student. Pittman initiated the Wishmakers Program at Georgia College three years ago and singlehandedly raised more than $2,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for Georgia and Alabama to help children with life-threatening medical conditions;
- Courtney LaHatte, senior biology student. LaHatte led Baldwin County’s Smiley Kids Club, addressing the dental health and nutritional needs of the community. Using visual demonstrations and child-centered activities, the club educated children about health and dental hygiene; and
- Georgia College Miracle, the university’s largest fundraiser on campus. The group raises money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, specifically The Children’s Hospital at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Thus far, Georgia College Miracle has raised more than $100,000 for local children.
Bush developed the Daily Point of Light Award to challenge people to solve community problems through voluntary service. Each week day, one volunteer or volunteer effort is recognized with the award.
More than 4,500 Daily Point of Light honorees have been recognized to date for causes ranging from education initiatives and environmental protection to disaster relief and economic security.
During Bush’s presidency, he distributed 1,020 Daily Point of Light Awards, which placed volunteer service at the top of his agenda. To this day, he continues to sign all of the awards and still believes “any definition of a successful life must include serving others.”