New Horizons and longtime volunteer Wendy Kephart received the Champion of Service award at the May 10 meeting of the Florida Cabinet. Presented by Volunteer Florida’s CEO Chester Spellman and Florida Governor Rick Scott, the Champion of Service Award is the only statewide volunteer recognition award. It is given to volunteers and organizations who go above and beyond in service to their community. New Horizons was nominated for the award by President and Managing Director at Northern Trust Bank, West McCann.
Wendy Kephart began tutoring and mentoring elementary-aged students in 2008. She helped to raise over $200K in support of New Horizons as head of the annual golf tournament from 2012-2015. She currently serves as Chair of the Corporate Sponsorship Committee, working with various local representatives and businesses to seek support for the New Horizons mission. “What an honor it was to represent all of the over 400 dedicated volunteer tutors of New Horizons!,” Kephart said. “This award is to be shared by all involved.”
The Champion of Service Award was established in 2013 by Volunteer Florida to honor individuals and groups for their outstanding efforts in volunteerism and service. Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said that Wendy and volunteers like her are “making a real difference in their communities and in our state.” Christine Ross, president and CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, endorsed the nomination of the organization and its efforts to reach at-risk youth in Southwest Florida. “New Horizons is dedicated to its mission and deserving of this award,” Ross said. “Their programming is the best around.”
In order to be recognized with this achievement, groups and individuals must demonstrate excellence in volunteerism, community service & national service; play a leading role in advocating for volunteerism in the local community; and provide an outstanding contribution to community service efforts. During the presentation, Governor Scott said, “Florida is home to many great volunteers like Wendy who make a positive impact in their communities. We are grateful for their service and the thousands of Floridians who dedicate their time to help others."