Community Engagement Director, HandsOn Jacksonville
Jenny O’Donnell has dedicated the majority of her professional life to working with non-profit organizations both domestically and internationally, with a large portion of her work focusing on youth.
Between 2001 and 2006, Jenny lived and worked in Bali where she established and directed the VIBE Foundation, which placed long-term international volunteers in rural villages to teach English, art, and environmental awareness to youth. Throughout her five years of work in Indonesia, Jenny placed over 150 international volunteers, touching the lives of more than 30,000 Balinese children and young adults.
In 2008, Jenny began working at HandsOn Jacksonville, where she established the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). Each year, 20 to 35 diverse high school students spend nine months engaged in activities to explore issues within their communities and design real, youth-accessible solutions to address such problems.
In addition to her work with youth, Jenny also works closely with Volunteer Project Leaders and is an advocate for school and community garden. Jenny has influenced and directed many HandsOn Jacksonville projects to established raised-bed gardens at schools, childcare centers, and senior facilities.
With over 11 years of experience in volunteer management, Jenny embodies the true spirit of service in all that she does and has served as an example and mentor to many people, locally and around the world.
It is with pleasure that we present the 2012 Betty Tribble Excellence in Volunteer Management Award to Jenny O’Donnell.
Operation Youth Mock Deployment: “Walk a Day in a Soldiers Boots”
Accepting Award: Jeri Bush, Director, VolunteerLEON
On September 8, 2012, Leon County’s VolunteerLEON hosted “Operation Youth Mock Deployment – Walk a Day in a Soldiers’ Boots” for local youth who had a parent deployed to Afghanistan.
Through a BEST Neighborhood Grant, VolunteerLEON was able to simulate a soldier’s deployment process from beginning to end. During the program, 31 children ages 6 - 18 experienced first-hand the step-by-step process including being established in platoons, team-building exercises, mock obstacle courses and a hero’s welcome home. Each participant received military orders, a check-off list to complete each step of deployment and a hero pack. VolunteerLEON enlisted the help of Florida State University’s Reservation to help provide team-building experiences for participants. FSU’s trained staff created an obstacle course and conducted team exercises especially designed for Operation Mock Youth Deployment participants. Through a partnership with Military Kids, Inc., VounteerLEON was also able to locate military families in Leon County to participate in the activities.
Through their innovative approach to creating awareness of a day in a soldier’s boots, Operation Mock Youth Deployment was able to unite a community to honor and lift up those families who sacrifice so very much. For VolunteerLEON, it wasn’t enough to tell them that they are appreciated, they showed them.
For this, FAVRM is proud to present Jeri Bush, Director of VolunteerLEON with the 2012 Innovative Program Award.
Volunteer Manager, Growing Hope Initiative
Patrick Garvey is in his early 30’s and has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for grassroots organizations like Earth Learning, an organization with a mission to be a catalyst in the transition toward a life-sustaining culture in the Greater Everglades Bioregion. In addition to that, Patrick manages volunteers through his work as Director of the Growing Hope Initiative; an organization that transforms South Florida communities through the development of local, just, and sustainable food systems. And if all that weren’t enough, Patrick also works tirelessly as a volunteer for Carrfour Supportive Housing. In May of 2011, Carrfour opened Verde Gardens, a permanent housing community for previously homeless families with disabilities. Through his work on the Verde Gardens Program, Patrick has engaged Carrfour’s residents by finding their needs and helping them to create common goals regarding community solutions. His work helps to empower residents to share their talents and skills to better the program.
Patrick Garvey has established himself as the “go to” person in the Florida Keys for all things “volunteer”. Local government officials, agency representatives, and residents all adore him and respect him for bringing them together for the common good of the community at large. It is because of his tireless dedication to volunteer engagement that has been selected as the 2012 Outstanding New Volunteer Administrator.