2023 GIVE Awards

Celebrating Exemplary Service

The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (Volunteer MS) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence GIVE (Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence ) Awards celebrating the exemplary service of Mississippi’s most dedicated citizens.

“As First Lady and Honorary Chair for the Commission for Volunteer Service, I look forward to partnering with Volunteer Mississippi to honor these outstanding Mississippi volunteers,” said First Lady Elee Reeves. “Mississippi is comprised of selfless individuals who are committed to bettering our communities and lending a helping hand to our neighbors in need.”

This award program presented by Volunteer Mississippi, in partnership with the Governor’s Office, recognizes and honors the valuable contributions of some of Mississippi’s extraordinary citizens while inspiring others to follow their example.

“The story of volunteerism in Mississippi is about service as a way of life,” said Monica Ritchie, Volunteer Mississippi executive director. “It’s about leadership in our schools, workplaces, and communities. It’s about results. Statewide volunteers and national service members are getting things done and making a difference for our children, our seniors, our veterans, and our military families.” 2023 GIVE Awards recipients will be honored at a special luncheon beginning at 10:45 a.m. on April 18, 2023, at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, with First Lady Elee Reeves and special guest Steve Azar, the official Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi.

Congratulations Amber!

Amber Hayes, our VISTA Outreach Specialist serving the east Mississippi region, received the National Service “Make a Difference” Award.   When we asked Amber what it meant to her to receive this award,  she said “It was such an honor to be nominated and ultimately receive the award because I really enjoy what I do.  Volunteering opens up my heart and soul and just makes me feel good.  Helping other people is a feeling like no other.”

2023 GIVE Award Recipients:

First Lady’s Youth Volunteer Rising Star Award | Isabelle Karns, Ellisville
The Marsha Meeks Kelly Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteer Service | Rosie Lee Harris, Columbus
Volunteer of the Year Award | Krisi Nash Boren, Amory
Volunteer Family of the Year Award | Pastor Michael and Arlelia Maybell, Hollandale
Volunteer Family of the Year Award with Children | Haley Caulder and Family, Ripley
Corporate Volunteering Champion Award | Horne, Ridgeland
Service-Learning Champion Award | Mannsdale Upper Elementary School Leadership Academy, Madison
Innovation in Volunteerism Award | We Will Go, Jackson
Excellence in Disaster Volunteerism Award | Ken Wetzel, Biloxi
National Service “Make a Difference” Award | Amber Willis Hayes, Quitman
Veteran “Hero in Service” Award | 5th Squad, Brandon

Honorable mentions will be acknowledged in five of the 10 GIVE Awards  categories for their service and receive a certificate of appreciation.

Volunteer of the Year Award Honorable Mentions | Ashton Hotard, Vicksburg; Deborah Clay, Columbus; Monica Bradshaw, Edwards; Aisha Erma Lenora Saffold, Durant
Marsha Meeks Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award Honorable Mention | Cole Smith, Jackson
Volunteer Family of the Year Honorable Mention | Lloyd W. Massey, Aberdeen
Innovation in Volunteerism Award Honorable Mention | Stronger Together Oxford, Oxford
Excellence in Disaster Award Honorable Mention | New Horizon International Church Ministries, Jackson

The GIVE Awards were established through the Office of the Governor and Volunteer Mississippi to recognize and honor the valuable contributions of some of Mississippi’s extraordinary individuals and organizations that have made an outstanding impact in their communities through their gifts of service, advocacy, and outreach on behalf of the citizens of Mississippi. Nominations are made by the general public, and a group of industry peers serve as judges to review the submitted information determine the award recipients. Nomination information is released by Volunteer Mississippi in January of each year

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