This year’s Northern California wildfires burned more than 600,000 acres – the largest wildfire in California history. The fires were devastating, resulting in the destruction of numerous structures, the displacement of thousands of residents, and several fatalities. While first responders met the wildfires head-on, volunteers also played an important role, providing comfort and counsel for those at risk of losing everything. CSAA Insurance Group’s award-winning corporate volunteer program, AAA Volunteers, empowers and motivates employees to address diverse community needs through volunteer service. In response to the wildfires, employees volunteered to take time from their normal job duties and daily routines to contact impacted customers.
Lucretia Doyle is living proof that society’s expectations of you should never dictate what you choose to become. The daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, Lucretia overcame the obstacles she faced at a young age and became passionate about empowering youth with the knowledge that they are capable of doing extraordinary things despite their backgrounds. She currently serves as senior program manager for recognition at Points of Light, overseeing the administration of the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, a national volunteer recognition program that encourages citizens to live a life of service. Lucretia’s passion for youth empowerment led her to create the Patricia A. Doyle Foundation, in memory of her mother, to provide book scholarships and care packages to students who have a current or formally incarcerated parent.
Joann and Don Tolmie first visited Tanzania in 1999 as guests of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. They soon realized there was a vast educational inequality for children with disabilities – who are often believed to be a bad omen or a hardship, and for whom educational opportunities are few. After discovering the need for disabled children to have a proper place to learn and grow, the husband and wife duo teamed up with the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania to create the Faraja Primary School. There’s no denying that this first trip ignited a spark in their hearts that was so big, it would grow to help create a culture shift in understanding disability.
Gitanjali Rao, a current seventh grader at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Denver, Colorado, was appalled after learning about the Flint Water Crisis, where dangerous levels of lead in the water affected thousands across Michigan. Upon researching more about the aftermath of the crisis and learning that it still remains a major issue in our nation, she set out to create a nanotube sensor device to equip every household to test their water.