Tony Washington, a graduate of Frostburg State University, was accepted as an AmeriCorps *VISTA member in V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteer Opportunities in the Community Environment). His year of service focused on the rebuilding and expansion of a volunteer clearinghouse providing service-learning and volunteer opportunities for students, area youth and community members. As Allen HallSTARS! Program manager, he grew the program while he continued to be student focused serving as a mentor and role model for his 90 AmeriCorps members. At the same time, he led the Allen HallSTARS! Advisory Board, instituting procedures for his AmeriCorps members that were well-thought out and consistent and recruiting community partners.
Mr. Washington gained the respect of his colleagues, students, faculty, staff and community members through efforts such as:
- Collaborating with more than 60 non-profit agencies in Western Maryland to facilitate volunteer and service-learning opportunities.
- Managing and designing the V.O.I.C.E. Clearinghouse a web-based volunteer reporting system.
- Founding of the Faulty Vs HallSTARS! National Volunteer Week Service Challenge
- Organizing more than 50 service projects for clubs and organizations, which led to more than 9,000 hours of service in Western Maryland communities.
- Organizing and leading the first Frostburg State Univerist5y’s first Relay for Life raising over $8,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Although it is evident that Mr. Washington supervised and coordinated many programs, his volunteer effort of note is the Frostburg State University Sponsor-A-Family for Thanksgiving program. Mr. Washington created and designed the program, in partnership with the Western Maryland Food Bank Director, which recruits FSU departments to join together to donate items for a Thanksgiving dinner for a needy family in the tri-state region (western Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). In the first year, 8 baskets were delivered. This year, in its fifth year, 21 baskets were delivered. The number of baskets delivered has grown in proportion to the enormous generosity of FSU staff, which continues to increase. Many times the baskets are filled with a weeks worth of food, many included cash donations, cards, hats, mittens and homemade cards. A total of 108 baskets have been delivered in the past five years.
Mr. Washington now travels back to western Maryland from Baltimore each year, which is 2 ½ hour drive, to deliver the baskets to the families.