Philadelphia Community Volunteers Honored in Nation’s Capital as Part of National Jefferson Awards Ceremonies
Father Judge High School and Will Armstead are recognized among 90
recipients from around the country with the “Nobel Prize for Public Service”
Washington, D.C., June 19, 2013– In celebration of their extraordinary contributions to and selfless work within the community, Father Judge High School in Philadelphia and Will Armstead , Champion recipient from Aramark, were honored today at a Washington, D.C. awards ceremony. The event recognized 90 Americans with the 41st annual Jefferson Awards, regarded as one of the nation’s highest honors for community service and volunteerism.
Known as the “Nobel Prize” for public service, the awards are presented each year over two days of ceremonies in the nation’s capital. A broad array of honorees are recognized – from high-profile individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to public service to celebrated professional athletes to largely unheralded community-based volunteers. Also recognized are organizations and companies that represent the pinnacle in corporate citizenship and schools that best reflect the Jeffersonian ideals of citizen involvement.
Over 325 high schools across the country participate in the Jefferson Awards Students in Action program. Father Judge High School was selected at the 2013 Regional Competition by a panel of local judges for best showcasing the seven goals in the Students in Action program and for their philanthropic contribution to the community and their school.
Yesterday at the Youth Service Initiative Awards Ceremony Michael Patterson and William Wallace were on hand to accept the award on behalf of their team and school. During the school year, Father Judge was able to assist a variety of organizations and individuals with monetary and in-kind support. Some of the organizations they helped included the Friends of Pennypack Park, Philabundance, the Veterans Center of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the STARS organization. They tracked over 14,000 service hours this school year which reflects a financial impact of over $300,000 to the community.
Champion recipients are selected through the network of companies which honor their employees who volunteer in the community. Will Armstead was one of those chosen by his company Aramark. He learned early the value of sharing resources and giving back growing up in a large family in Brooklyn, NY. Throughout his life, Will has continued to give back to his community and to people in need. With his current employer, Aramark, Will spearheads many community building events and leads fundraisers for several nonprofit organizations including the Boys and Girls Club. Will has raised tens of thousands of dollars annually for the Boys and Girls Club. The values Will learned in his childhood have also encouraged him to work with children and he spends countless hours mentoring and tutoring children in need.
This year’s honorees at the National Ceremony also include Greatest Public Servants U.S. Senator Tom Coburn and U.S. Senator Pat Leahy, Holocaust survivor Professor Elie Wiesel, Founder and Owner of the Washington Kastles Mark Ein and community activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association Dolores Heurta.
“Our nation’s greatness is derived in large measure from its goodness – from the largely unheralded yet noble Americans whose commitment to helping others embodies the founding ideals of our democracy,” said Sam Beard, founder and president of The Jefferson Awards for Public Service. “The Jefferson Awards serve to celebrate those among us whose selflessness, altruism and generosity of spirit represent the best of America. The tireless work of individuals and schools such as Father Judge High School not only improves their own communities but serves to dignify our nation as a whole. We owe them our thanks and offer these congratulations.”
The 2013 grassroots awards celebration starts on Tuesday, June 18 in the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. National awards were presented at three events with the first one that evening hosted by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The second one this morning hosted by NFL-All Star Troy Vincent and the third event later today that was hosted by Chris Wallace at the Arena Stage. The recipients also met with Senator Casey on Capitol Hill.
* * *
About the Jefferson Awards for Public Service- Building a Culture of Service
The Jefferson Awards was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard as the “Nobel Prize for public service.” Named for one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Jefferson Awards’ central tenet is that each and every citizen shares a responsibility to work towards the betterment of their communities through economic participation, public service, volunteerism and other such efforts to improve life for all. Today, the mission of the Jefferson Awards is to “collaboratively engage the nation in public service and volunteering by providing training, inspiring and enabling action, measuring impact and celebrating the achievements of exceptional individuals.”
The Jefferson Awards has 110 local newspapers, television and radio stations that serve as Media Partners in more than 50 communities. They have 23 Champions that highlight service excellence in the
workplace – companies such as Nationwide, Aramark, Heinz, Safeway, Prudential and National Grid. In our Youth Service Initiatives, through our Deloitte Students In Action, we operate in 325 high
schools in 13 communities. We have trained more than 8,800 student leaders. The schools report 6.8 million hours of service, valued by the Independent Sector at $150 million. Through our Youth Service
Challenge, more than 170 mayors have signed on to shine a positive spotlight on student-led service projects. In year four, more than 800,000 young Americans participated in over 3,600 projects.
President John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” From the beginning in 1972, more than 50,000 grassroots “Unsung Heroes,” employees in the workplace, young Americans and non-profit volunteers have won Jefferson Awards through our Media Partners, corporate Champions and Youth Service Initiatives. For more information on the Jefferson Awards, visit www.JeffersonAwards.org.