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The College Career Center Consortium is pleased to announce two winners of the 2019 Paul W. Gabonay Volunteer Service Award:

Leonardo Carnicelli, a 2019 winner of the Paul W. Gabonay Volunteer Service Award, is a Hanover College sophomore from Guatemala. The following is excerpted from his nomination letter:

I believe that Leo epitomizes the type of passionate and principled volunteer that the Paul W. Gabonay Volunteer Service Award seeks to honor. This fall, as a sophomore, he put forth much effort to establish a student organization at Hanover, the Red Cross Panthers. Serving as its president, he diligently organizes blood drives, trainings for Red Cross Panther members, and programming that is beneficial to the community.

He has worked over 200 hours this year for the Indianapolis non-profit organization, Second Helpings, an organization that rescues food from places such as hotels and supermarkets that is marked as waste, although in good condition, and uses it to prepare nutritious meals that are distributed to about 90 agencies around Indianapolis that care for the underprivileged. In Leo’s words, “Second Helpings has a big place in my heart because of its mission of doing food justice and to feed the hungry, also because of the great friendships I have made there.”

Leo is also involved in numerous other endeavors including volunteer positions in student organizations that serve to help educate the Hanover campus and community about the diversity of Latin American culture. For example, he founded Hanover’s Latino Student Union, which strives to promote a sense of unity between the Latino population on campus through student involvement in social, academic, philanthropic, and political activities. 

Leo is motivated by how peoples’ lives are touched by his giving, from pounds of food saved from the garbage and transformed into nutritious meals for hungry kids, to knowing that his blood donations are literally saving lives. As he says, “There is no feeling in the world that I could compare to what I feel when I am volunteering my time for a good cause, so I encourage everyone to do it.”

After graduation, Leo hopes to attend medical school and someday to work for Doctors Without Borders.

Katherine Timmerman, a 2019 winner of the Paul W. Gabonay Volunteer Service Award, is a senior at Marian University. She is engaged in service both on- and off-campus, and is motivated by a desire to tackle persistent social concerns.  The following is paraphrased from her nomination letter:

Katherine’s involvement with the Food Access Committee in the Northwest Area of Indianapolis is one example of a willingness to serve because she recognizes a need and wants to learn from those who are directly confronting urgent issues. She serves actively on a Food Access Committee that was formed as a citizen response to address severe issues caused by the local urban food desert. She even maintained her role within the committee over her most recent summer break, driving nearly 3 hours each from her home in Illinois to stay involved. She states, “I’ve learned that service should also be a mindset and a willingness to learn. I now know that it’s not about telling someone else what to do or thinking I have the answer. It’s about listening. It means being fully present and empathetic.”

Further, her leadership in a course that included a community-engagement project in Northwest Indianapolis encouraged other students to remain engaged with the Northwest Area well after the class ended. Many students are still actively serving in a variety of capacities within the community.

Beyond the local area, Katherine’s was active in an Alternative Spring Break trip in the Appalachian area of Campton, KY, through which students assisted with infrastructure and ecological revitalization. Ms. Timmerman recalled the significance of the event as one that allowed her to “focus on listening to people and the ministry of presence. We go there for service, but we end up making relationships.”

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