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United Way to honor locals at luncheon

Local volunteers encouraged to celebrate power of volunteerism


SAULT STE MARIE– United Way of the Eastern Upper Peninsula will honor local volunteers to begin celebrating National Volunteer Week, a time dedicated to demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.


This year, United Way will celebrate ahead of National Volunteer Week, which falls April 23 to 29. This national week of celebration is about taking action; encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change, while discovering and demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.


United Way’s annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon will take place at the Lake Superior State University Cisler Center on Tuesday, April 11. Awards will be given to EUP students who have exceeded a set number of volunteer hours for their age category as reported by their school or class advisor. A student who has volunteered consistently throughout their teen years could, potentially, take home more than one PVSA award by the time they graduate high school.

Twenty-five EUP students will be adding a Presidential Volunteer Service Award to their portfolio consisting of a pin to wear at graduation and a certificate signed by President Donald J. Trump.


Students who will receive a PVSA this year are:

Vicki Merchberger, Mackenzie Kalchik, Sydnie Dumas, Elayna Clow, Bree Vert, Regan Casey, Victoria Nagy, Mana McLean, Caitlyn Scornaiencki, Deana Lalonde, Matt  Knowles, Ryley Alaspa, Katie Marger, David Weber, Ellie Marger, Paige Cushman, Areka Foutch, and Ashlyn Bell of Sault Area Schools; Abby Westman, Shawn Olson, Hailey Jackson, Aurora Kelly, Nicholas Bourne, Anne-Marie Peer, and Derek Bouschor of Malcolm High School.


Alaspa and Merchberger will also be honored with a Michigan Student Service Award medal and a certificate signed by Governor Rick Snyder. The MSSA is awarded to students who have accumulated 400 or more service hours through the course of their 4-year high school career. Both Alaspa and Merchberger have gone above and beyond in the Sault area, and act as role models for next year’s Freshman students as they also begin their journey of volunteerism.


“United Way of the EUP believes in the importance of advancing the common good and mobilizing the caring power of communities. These students exemplify our mission through the hard work they’ve done over the course of the year, and in some cases, long before they began their high school careers,” said United Way’s Community Engagement Director, Raulaniesa Aranda. “We believe it’s important that they be recognized for their efforts, and hope they continue volunteering throughout their adult lives.”


The luncheon will also recognize EUP Individual and EUP Community Partner of the Year. Nominations and voting will be done through United Way’s social media pages and website. Annual winners will be announced at the luncheon during the awards ceremony. This year’s guest speaker will be Sandy Sawyer, Principal of Malcolm High School. Sawyer will speak about Malcom Students Offer Students, and the volunteerism role at Malcolm High School.


Tickets for the luncheon are $12 per person and can be purchased over the phone 906-632-3700 ext. 3, or by stopping in to the United Way office located at 511 Ashmun St. in Sault Ste. Marie no later than April 7. This event is sponsored by several community businesses and organizations who understand the value each volunteer has in the EUP, and we appreciate them all. Sponsors this year include Don Wilson Insurance Agency, EUP Great Start Collaborative, War Memorial Hospital, Soo Co-Op Credit Union, Leisa Mansfield – State Farm Insurance, Central Savings Bank, Sault Ste. Marie Michigan Lions International Club, and Lake Superior State University.


National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. With the seventh anniversary of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the creation of the Volunteer Generation Fund and President Obama’s resonant call to serve this year will be even more inspiring.

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