New College Students Receive National Award for Volunteer Service to Community

A New College of Florida student group received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, national recognition of their ongoing service to Manatee County Habitat For Humanity.

About 15 students regularly participate in the “neighborhood build” at Hope Landing in Palmetto, as well as ReHabitat renovation projects and A Brush With Kindness painting projects throughout Manatee County. The students have logged more than 500 hours of work so far this year, qualifying them for the award’s Silver level.

Manatee County Habitat nominated the students for the award, which is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered by the Points of Light Institute. Manatee County Habitat presented the award in a March 22 ceremony at Emerson Point Preserve.

“We wanted to give a big ‘thank you’ to the New College Club for being such a huge part of our successes this year,” says Ogden Clark, volunteer coordinator at Manatee County Habitat. “The partnership of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and New College has been a major reason that we have been able to touch so many homeowners and make a difference in their lives.”

“This is the kind of community relationship that we strive for,” says Nicholas Manting Brewer, a Florida Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA and Volunteer Coordinator in Student Affairs at New College of Florida. “We want something that motivates students to inquire further into community needs, and when it takes off and becomes self-sustained– then it really becomes something to behold.”

New College students have been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity since August 2012, and the work spawned a student-run Habitat For Humanity club on campus, as well as a group independent study project in January.

Students say their community work is far from over. “We’re aiming for 1,000 hours by the end of this year,” says club president Kristine Totanes, a second-year student at New College.

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