The following are recepients of the 2012 Governor's Volunteer Service Awards.
Southern Illinois Award Recipients
Kim Lingafelter is a native of Albion, Illinois. She is married to Todd Lingafelter and they have 2 children ages 27 and 21, Jennifer Rickard of Albion, Joshua Lingafelter of Mt Carmel and 1 granddaughter Kylah Lingafelter of Mt Carmel.
Kim has been with The Hope Center, a Christian resource center, in Albion for 7 years and been the Assistant Director for 5 years. Along with office duties Kim works with clients needs for food, clothing, household items, GED information, and works as a volunteer patient services liaison with The American Cancer Society. As a licensed cosmetologist she also leads Look Good Feel Better classes with The American Cancer Society.
The Hope Center is a non-profit organization that is staffed 100% by volunteers to help meet the spiritual, emotional and physical needs in Southern Illinois.
For her service to the Hope Center, Kim received the Adult Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Nathan Elwood was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Drury University in 2007. After his graduation he worked for Burrell Behavioral Health and Drury University before attending law school at Saint Louis University School of Law.
As a law school student, Nathan participated in a variety of volunteer activities, including serving as Vice President of the Public Interest Law Group and Student Chair of the Light the Night Walk for the Cure. He was a three year participant in Stand Down for Homeless Veterans. He also interned with Citizens for Missouri’s Children, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Inc., and the St. Clair County Public Defender’s Office. In May of 2011, Nathan Elwood graduated from law school. He then took the July 2011 Illinois bar and was admitted to practice law in November of 2011.
As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Nathan Elwood created and developed Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Initiative, The Right Path. The Right Path provides both legal and non-legal education advocacy to youth involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the St. Clair County Juvenile Justice System to prevent future juvenile or adult involvement with the justice system.
For his service to Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Nathan received the AmeriCorps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Elmer Ragland was born on April 7, 1937 in Pinckneyville, IL. Elmer married his wife, Luanne, of 54 years on September 7, 1957. They have three daughters and six grandchildren. Mr. Ragland worked for the Todd Uniform Company, which later became Armark Uniform, from 1960 to 2002: 42 years without taking one sick day.
Elmer joined the Morton, IL Lions Club in 1991 and then transferred his membership in 2002 to the Waterloo, IL Lions Club Chapter. As a current Lion, he has maintained 22 years of membership with perfect attendance. During this time, Elmer has had the honor of being a Club President, Vice-President, Tailtwister, Board Director, and Chairman of numerous committees. He is now serving as the Zone 3 Chairman for the Northwest Region, a member of the Open Area Committee, Chairman of Sight & Sound Sweepstakes Sales and was recently named as a Lion of Illinois Trustee.
Elmer’s childhood bout with Scarlet Fever that left him hearing impaired has undoubtedly given him the drive for so many of his volunteer activities with the Lions Club. Elmer has served the underprivileged in need of eyeglasses and hearing aids by working tirelessly in countless fund-raising events and projects. Among the many accolades Elmer has received are the Lions of Illinois Foundation Fellow Award, Presidents’ Appreciation Award, Lion of the Year Award and Melvin Jones Fellow Award. As a very involved and truly devoted Lions Club member, Mr. Ragland is a shining example of a gentleman committed to helping the less fortunate and making sure those opportunities are available for future generations.
For his service to the Lion’s Club, Elmer Ragland received the Senior Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
As a child, Lee was very active in the church, and he has always wanted to help where he could. Lee believes this is where his desire to volunteer began.
Lee was in the Air Force and served in the Vietnam War, making him an Air Force and Southeast Asia Veteran.
Through the One Hope United Foster Grandparent Lee volunteers year round. During the school year, he volunteers his time to serve the children in the 4th grade classroom at Bethel Grade School in Mt. Vernon. He assists those children who need extra help with their school work. He also is a strong, positive mentor for the children he comes in contact with. During the summer months, Lee volunteers his time at Logan St. Day Care and Pre School in the school age classroom providing again the unconditional love and attention so many of the children need.
For his service to One Hope United, Lee received the Senior Corps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19, 2012.
Madelyn McGlynn is a junior at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Illinois. When she was 8 years old she and her sisters co-founded the PAWSome Art Contest in conjunction with the Belleville Area Humane Society. Their purpose was to educate her fellow students about humane animal care in a fun manner. Madelyn has served as Chairman and co-chair for nine years creating themes, communicating with school administrators, making school presentations to improve humane animal care. To date over 7,000 students have participated in this educational art contest. “Education is the key to changing the way people think and behave. When we teach grade school children how to properly take care of their pets we educate the next generation of pet owners. That is the best way to effect change and improve our communities.”
Madelyn lives in Belleville with her family and her four rescue dogs, Snowman, Sky, Lily and Mitzi.
For her service to the Belleville Area Humane Society, Madelyn received the Youth Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
East Central Illinois Award Recipients
Teresa Haley, MPA is a longtime passionate civil rights activist, public policy advocate, and professional trainer. She is the President of the Springfield, IL Branch NAACP. Her goal is to “Educate, Empower, and Encourage” her community to make a difference. Teresa also serves as 2nd Vice President, Civil Engagement Chair and Healthcare Chair for the State Conference of the IL NAACP. She serves on Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Chicago Regional Expert Panel 2011-2012.
Teresa was the first Black Chairperson of the American Red Cross - IL Capital Area Regional Chapter. Under her leadership minority participation and government involvement in the Springfield Community has increased dramatically. She teaches CPR/AED/1st Aid and is on-call every 4-6 weeks as part of the public affairs team. Teresa also serves as the Philanthropy Chair and helped raise money for earthquake victims in Haiti.
She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves as Social Action Chair. Teresa has been a member of IAMG for over 20 years and a longtime volunteer.
For her service to the NAACP, Teresa received the Adult Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th.
Jamie Hadley is 24 years old and has lived in the Midwest for most of her life. She was born in Denver, Colorado and moved to Missouri when she was 6. She moved with her family several more times before attending the University of Missouri where she received degrees in both Biology and Psychology.
Following her graduation, she moved to Bloomington, Illinois to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the Illinois Public Health Association. She plans to serve two terms as an AmeriCorps volunteer before going to medical school to pursue her career goal in becoming a Physician.
As an AmeriCorps member for the McLean County Health Department, she is serving her term as an emergency preparedness volunteer. One of her main projects is to assist with and promote emergency preparedness in the functional needs community of McLean County. Apart from her volunteer service for IPHA AmeriCorps, she is also a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer.
For her service to the McLean County Health Department and Illinois Public Health Association, Jamie received the AmeriCorps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th.
Ellen Harms graduated from the University of Illinois in 1970 with a master’s degree in social work and a husband who’s still the love of her life. Since then she added four children, two grandchildren, and innumerable golden retrievers to the family. She worked in the field of mental health and with pregnant teenagers until her last two children were born, and then, when they were five, was ready to head back to work when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor that left her with a seizure disorder and learning disabilities.
She gave up paid employment and became a volunteer! PTA president, tennis team booster president, soccer team booster president, basketball booster president, Special Olympics Board Member, etc., etc., she did it all. But she always saved Tuesdays for the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen where she’s fed the hungry of her community for the last twenty years. Today, she serves on the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen Board, writes the newsletter, shops for food at the local food bank, cooks and washes dishes, and chairs the annual Backpack Project.
For the last three years at Christmas Daily Bread has given out filled backpacks to the guests they serve at lunch. Backpacks are filled with cold weather necessities like gloves, socks, and sweatshirts as well as toiletries and small gifts. For many of her guests the backpacks are their only Christmas gift. In the first year, they gave out 200 backpacks. In the second year they gave out 400 backpacks. This year they gave out over 800 backpacks!
Ellen says she is very touched to receive this award, but it truly belongs to everyone who has given so generously to make the Backpack Program such a success.
For her service to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Ellen Harms received the Senior Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Jamie Storm is retired after having spent 17 years as a Hospice nurse in Urbana, Illinois. Looking for a meaningful volunteer experience, she found the UC Books to Prisoners program, an all-volunteer working group of the Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center. The IMC is a grassroots organization committed to using media production and distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice.
Books to Prisoners has established and operates libraries in both Champaign County Jails. Staffing jail library sessions, Jamie assists inmates with their requests, updates book stock to match patron needs and preferences and helps train new volunteers as well as maintaining a strong relationship with the jail staff.
Since 2004, hundreds of B2P volunteers have sent free of charge almost 70,000 books to almost 11,000 individual inmates housed in the Illinois prison system. It surprises some that the most frequently requested book is a dictionary. While the 28 Illinois prisons are mandated to have libraries, B2P has been told that it is the largest source of books to these libraries.
In addition to providing books to inmates, B2P’s mission also includes facilitating a quality volunteer experience, offering a venue for inmates to tell their own stories, and educating ourselves and our community about prisons. Jamie has assisted in the orientation and training of new volunteers and with community outreach projects such as the annual Martin Luther King Day work session.
Jamie believes that literacy for all is at the heart of a just and democratic society.
For her service to Books to Prisoners, Jamie received the Senior Corps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Mary Perkins is a junior at Effingham High School. She has been involved in 4-H for nine years and has shown her passion for it by participating actively in local clubs and her county ambassadors. Mary loves 4-H and shows numerous projects ranging from cooking to chickens to crops.
Mary also enjoys being active in church youth group, school, and the community. She grew up always enjoying and believing she can help other people. Along with the chief deputy, John Loy, Effingham County 4-H Ambassador’s leader, Michelle Loy, and fellow 4-H Ambassadors, Mary started up the P2D2 program for the Effingham community. P2D2 stands for Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal, which is a program that properly recycles old pharmaceuticals and drugs. By recycling them, it prevents them from being used inappropriately within the households and also from harming the environment. Mary has volunteered numerous hours to get this program running in her community.
For her service to University of Illinois Extension-Effingham County, Mary received the Youth Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
West Central Illinois Award Recipients
Lane Pfeiffer began volunteering while he was in high school as the manager of the football, basketball, and baseball teams. He also assisted with the track and the soccer teams. He actively volunteered with the Carlinville Food Pantry, the Macoupin County Democrat Party and assisted the with the Salvation Army’s Annual fundraising campaign. He was the first recipient of the Coady Hatlen Volunteerism Award for his service to his school, church and community. His work within the church included volunteering for vacation bible school and in the community of East St. Louis. He has assisted with fundraising projects, community service activities, Sunday School aide, and programs that support seniors.
After high school, Lane attended the Center for Independent Living in Carbondale. The year-long residential program strives to strengthen abilities and minimize disabilities of the clients for the goal of independent and productive living. The month marks the two month anniversary that Lane has been living independently. Lane shares his home with his two dogs. He works part-time and occasionally will dog sit for larger breed dogs.
After returning back to Carlinville for his time at the Independent Living Center, Lane quickly returned to giving his time and talents to the community. A typical week for Lane will include: visiting inmates at the County Jail with his pastor for a Bible study session with those that are incarcerated; volunteering two or three mornings at the local food pantry; and spending several afternoons tutoring students at the Macoupin County Center for the Developmentally Disabled, where he serves as a teacher helper. Occasionally, Lane will attend a court proceeding to show support for an inmate that he met during a bible study session or he might make a trip to a local nursing home to reconnect with an elderly member for his church congregation that he not seen for a while. Lane does not drive, so he relies on his bike for transportation.
For his service to Macoupin County, Lane received the Adult Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Karla Williams was born and raised in Peoria. Karla and her husband of 20 years, Patrick, have no children of their own but are helping raise two nieces and their great nephew. Her parents taught Karla and her four brothers to be leaders not followers, to think of others and to give back to their community. Karla took that valuable piece of advice to heart and has used it to guide her throughout her life.
Karla is currently serving her third AmeriCorps term with the Fostering Transitions AmeriCorps program at Children’s Home. During the first two terms, Karla provided educational groups and special recreation to youth in Residential Treatment. Karla is now serving in the Community & Donor.
Relations Department, helping recruit volunteers for the program’s monthly service projects. Karla has also helped expand the program’s impact by using her knowledge of her home town and passion for helping others to connect volunteers to those in need.
For her volunteer service to the Children’s Home Association of Illinois, Karla received the AmeriCorps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Dr. Bob Wiltz has been a practicing clinical psychologist for 40 years, and currently sees patients at the Institute for Personal Development in Morris, IL. He lives in Peoria with his wife Becci, where both have been volunteers with the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross for many years. They have two children and two grandchildren.
As one of more than 650,000 American Red Cross volunteers, and almost 100 million volunteers of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the largest volunteer work force in the world, Dr. Wiltz has provided disaster mental health services and psychological first aid to survivors of tornadoes and fires in central Illinois, hurricanes and floods in New Orleans, and earthquakes in Haiti. He is the lead volunteer for the disaster mental health team of the Central Illinois Chapter, and a national instructor for Humanity in the Midst of War, the Red Cross course on International Humanitarian Law. He represents the Red Cross on the Homeland Security Committee for Region 10, and facilitates the Red Cross Coping with Deployment course for families of service members called to active duty. He also leads workshops for veterans, active service members, and military families as a facilitator of the Reconnection Workshops developed by the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces and presented by Walmart.
For his volunteer service to the American Red Cross, Dr. Wiltz received the Senior Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Michael (Mickey) Faley was born in Ohio, IL on September 4, 1920. He graduated from Ohio Community High School in 1938. He received his diploma from Western IL State Teachers College in 1946 after a 2 ½ year leave for military service in WWII as a member of the 51st Field Hospital in Europe. He married his wife Marie in 1948 and together they had 7 children. After being married for 56 years, Marie passed away.
Mikey came to Peoria in 1946 working at Caterpillar and RG LeTourneau before obtaining an office position at TP & W Railroad where he worked for 32 years retiring in 1982. In 1984 he began volunteering at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center where he continues to push patients in wheelchairs 5 hours per week. Since 1984 he has given back over 6,460 hours! His genuine smile and friendly personality invoke a welcoming and sincere servant persona to those he assists. In addition to volunteering at the medical center, Mikey is very active in the American Legion, Post 2, the VFW, Knights of Columbus, and in his church.
For his service to OSF St. Francis Medical Center, Mikey received the Senior Corps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Northwest Illinois Award Recipients
Leann Duncan lives in Rockton, Illinois. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and recently graduated from Villanova University School of Law. She has spent the last year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Prairie State Legal Services in Rockford, where she began a veterans project to help Prairie State better address the legal needs of low-income veterans.
Many veterans are reluctant to seek assistance due to the high value that the military places on self sufficiency. Through Leann’s efforts, the availability of unique resources for vets will be able to help provide a parachute for some of our veterans; helping them to avoid legal barriers to stable housing, access to healthcare, and receiving life-changing benefits.
For her service to Prairie State Legal Services, Leann received the AmeriCorps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Carole lives in Rockford, IL where she and her late husband enjoyed productive careers and raised their family. Carole has three children and seven grandchildren. With masters’ degrees in education and social work, Carole taught school for nineteen years followed by a career as a school and family counselor. In 1982 Carole went on a trip with seventeen other people to India, Hong Kong. Thailand, and Japan. This was a working trip that included visiting refugee camps and Hiroshima, and working with Mother Teresa in her missions in Calcutta. It was truly life changing!
Upon her return home, Carole began working with the poor of Rockford, helping homeless adults find and keep work. Her dedication led to the development of a not-for-profit agency focused on employment readiness and placement for those in greatest need. Carole led the charge of raising funds, securing locations of operation, staffing and the multitude of details involved in the agency launch! Throughout the years, Carole continued to be drawn to Rockford’s poor and homeless. Shortly after Carpenter's Place opened in June 2000 to provide the tools for rebuilding the lives of homeless adults, Carole brought her gifts of time and talents to the agency. After observing the homeless women, she realized they could benefit from a weekly support group; a time for them to share their joys, sorrows, challenges and support for one another. The group is called, “Sarah’s Circle” after Sarah in the Bible who didn’t give up her dream of having a child. Carole says her hope for Sarah’s Circle is that it reminds the women of their goodness and worth and encourages each of them to reach their full potential.
For her service to Carpenter’s Place, Carole received the Senior Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Steve lives in Carbon Cliff, Illinois with Mary, his wife of 38 years. They have two children and 3 grandchildren. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. He retired in 2005 after being employed at the City of East Moline for 31 years, including 17 years as the City Administrator.
Steve has served on the Advisory Council of RSVP of Eastern Iowa and Rock Island County since 2005, including 2 years as president. His RSVP volunteer participation has included presentations on advanced medical directives at Illini Hospital, literacy assistance at Black Hawk College Small Business Center helping immigrants study to become U.S. citizens, disaster preparedness drills, liaison between RSVP staff and federal representatives for funding requests, and special events assistance for the Festival of Trees, Living Lands and Waters, and junior high science fairs.
Steve has also volunteered for many years in other community activities including his church men's group, the East Moline/Silvis Rotary Club, Boy Scout Troop leader, United Way Key Person, and coach for youth basketball, softball, and football.
For his service to RSVP of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, Steve received the Senior Corps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Alexis Ochoa is a freshman at East High School in Rockford, Illinois. She is a member of Life Church Rockford. She has been involved with Life Church and its community outreaches since 6th grade. Although she herself has endured many hardships throughout her life, for the last three years she has managed to give to the community of Southeast Rockford and the surrounding area. She volunteered at a community block party that reached out to two local elementary schools; giving the children and the community a place where they are part of a culture of giving. Alexis volunteers with skits, puppets, face painting, games for the children. She also volunteers as a team leader in Kidzcorp (children from 6-12) and extreme Kidz. Being "in need' herself, has not stopped her from giving of her time, of her talents, of her smile.
For her service, Alexis received the Youth Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Northeast Illinois Award Recipients
Luciano Rodriguez currently resides in Naperville, IL with his wife Isabel who he has been married to for 28 years.
Luciano and Isabel both share a passion for teaching and for the last 10 years he have volunteered his time to the Peoples Resource Center (PRC) as a GED and computer Instructor.
Their primary focus has been assisting the Spanish community of immigrants and low income students at the PRC-Saint Paul Church. This has been a wonderful partnership between the PRC, Saint Paul Church and the community in general. This partnership has been able to provide an effective yet multitude of services to the students & community they serve.
During this time, multiple students have been able to complete their GED, as well as enhance their computer skills to communicate with their relatives in other countries. Overall, the students have been receiving services that have helped them to improve their overall quality of their life.
For his service to the Peoples Resource Center, Luciano received the Adult Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Monica’s strong sense of volunteerism began with her mother Concepcion Cobos. Her mom would be one of the cooks at the soup kitchens. Monica grew up watching her mother who never asked for anything in return. As Monica got older she began to help at the soup kitchens beside her mother. Monica then moved on to volunteer with children with autism in high school, and even got the opportunity to travel to South America to help build the foundation of a school for children in need.
Now she is a mother to a 2 year old daughter named Natalia with a loving spouse named Marco Ocampo. Volunteering is a major part of her life. Being at Centro Sin Fronteras has helped her keep in contact with the community and available to the people. Monica is able to assist at citizenship workshops, help people with primary health screenings, which if it were not for this program at Centro Sin Fronteras these people that would not be able to get medical help. Volunteering is vital to these communities. Health is a major issue especially in the communities of low income, minorities and uninsured families. Monica will return to a University focusing in a career that will give back to the community.
For her service to Centro Sin Fronteras, Monica received the AmeriCorps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Howard Allen Jones, Jr.
Howard Allen Jones, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, PA and attended grade school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia before graduating from Parkway Program High School and attending Millersville University of Pennsylvania. During his undergraduate years, he studied in the University Honors College and majored in psychology while declaring a minor in African American Studies.
As a freshman in college, Howard began his transformation in community service leadership by becoming president for his college chapter of the NAACP and joining Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Through developing educational and cultural enrichment programs to bridge gaps between school aged-children, the university community and impoverished youth in Africa, he has become a mentor for young men and women throughout the world.
Howard is a Learn and Serve Leadership Fellow at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. His Learn and Serve project involves partnering with the National Alliance for Mental Illness and the Mental Health Summit of Illinois to encourage students to become advocates for mental health laws, policies, and practices. In pursuit of a master’s of arts degree in psychology, Mr. Jones anticipates graduating in the class of 2012. He hopes to become an international human rights and mental health advocate after continuing his education in law and psychology.
For his service, Alexis received the Learn and Serve Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Lou Ann Johnson
Lou Ann was born and raised in Mobil, Alabama. Since 2009, she served as the President for the Joliet Chapter of National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW), Inc and the National Budget and Finance Chairperson. A member NHBW since 2000, she currently coordinates two youth programs (Junior Hook-Up and Passport to Success). Under her leadership the Junior Hook-Up program was given the Will County Youth Providers Board Promise Practice Award.
For twenty one (21) years NHBW has provided programs for domestic violence awareness, literacy (more than 12,000 books distributed), parenting workshops, youth mentoring, scholarships, Thanksgiving food baskets, and health awareness programs for flu awareness, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, prostate, HIV/AIDS, etc.
For her service to National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc., Lou Ann received the Senior Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
After retiring in 2006 from her critical care nursing position at a local hospital, Linda Kielas started to volunteer with the Palatine Emergency Management Agency. Before long, Linda began to teach the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training classes to other new volunteers. In 2008 Linda was also asked to take on the Lead responsibility for the newly formed Palatine Fire Rehab Team, a group of volunteers who provide rehab services to fire fighters actively engaged in training or in an emergency event. This team was recognized in 2010 by the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) with its Innovator Award. Linda has also Led the Palatine Medical Reserve Corps and continues to teach frequent CPR classes for the Palatine Emergency Management Agency. She has also served as Boss for the Bravo Emergency Response Team and is the former Secretary to the Palatine CERT Council. In 2010, Linda was awarded the Illinois Professional Emergency Manager Certification and named the Volunteer of the Year by the Palatine Emergency Management Agency.
Linda is also a member of the Illinois Medical Response Team and serves on its Management Support Team. She is also a member of the Federal Deployment Cadre, a group of specially trained MRC volunteers ready for deployment alongside the Public Health Service during a large national disaster.
For her service to the Palatine Emergency Management Agency, Linda received the Senior Corps Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.
Isha Jog is a junior at Hoffman Estates High School. She is the founder of “Holiday Heroes”, a teen volunteer group that performs community service projects on various holidays throughout the year. In the past year alone Isha has organized a canned goods drive benefitting the local food pantry on Halloween, served Christmas Day dinner to at-risk children at a youth center, led a successful Valentine’s Day card collection for the senior citizens at Friendship Village, and led reading activities at several elementary schools on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. “Holiday Heroes” has grown from just Isha and her younger brother into a full-fledged organization whose members all actively participate in their communities. As the recently crowned Miss Northern Suburbs’ Outstanding Teen 2012 and a competitive dancer at Indian Dance School, Isha has performed at over 150 venues in the United States, and at numerous fund-raisers and charity dinners. As the Illinois Representative on the D.A.R.E. America Youth Advisory Board, Isha has spoken to hundreds of Illinois elementary school students about the importance of living a drug and alcohol free lifestyle and she encourages them to take the pledge to say no.
At Hoffman Estates High School Isha is on the varsity dance team, Forensics, S.A.D.D. Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Student Council, and is a regional champion of the Business Professionals of America team.
For her volunteer service with D.A.R.E. America and “Holiday Heroes”, Isha received the Youth Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 19th, 2012.