Recognizing Volunteers: Daily Point of Light Honorees Shine at the Points of Light Conference

Jul 10, 2024

The Daily Point of Light community was in the spotlight during the Points of Light Conference on June 11–14 at the Marriot Marquis Houston. Thanks to the generous support of UPS, The Samuels Foundation and CSAA and the Daily Point of Light Award Scholarship, a contingent of 18 honorees came together, joining the nearly 1,200 attendees for a week of learning inspiration and connection.

Hailing from nine U.S. states, Pakistan and the U.K., and spanning all ages from first year college student to retirees, these honorees spent time getting to know each other, being inspired and furthering their commitment to service. During a reception one evening, the energy in the room was palpable. They exchanged stories of their journeys and discussed innovative solutions to the challenges faced by their communities.

Growing Their Impact

Throughout the week, honorees gained invaluable insights into creating lasting social impact. As leaders of small nonprofit organizations in their communities, their conference attendance was made possible with the support of the UPS, The Samuels Foundation and CSAA Daily Point of Light Conference Scholarship. One honoree, who had left a successful career to dedicate herself fulltime to her organization’s mission, reflected, “without the support of the scholarship, I would not have been able to take advantage of this opportunity to grow my knowledge and impact.”

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recognizing volunteers, Daily Point of Light honoreesA Legacy of Leading Change

At the Closing Plenary session, all attendees heard from a panel of three honorees: Victoria Villareal (Daily Point of Light honoree #7,650) from Houston, Nikki Scott (U.K. Points of Light honoree #942) and Hamza Farrukh (Commonwealth Point of Light #129) representing the United Kingdom and Commonwealth daily Points of Light award programs. The three dove into their work and personal journeys of service, and left audience members with key take aways about leading social impact. They were joined by Points of Light board member Gregg Petersmeyer, who was the founding Director of the White House Office of National Service and supported President George H.W. Bush in the development of the Daily Point of Light award from the White House in 1989.

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recognizing volunteers, Daily Point of Light honorees

Welcoming New Honorees

Points of Light was thrilled to welcome four new honorees from the Houston area to the Daily Point of Light honoree community. We were proud to work with our co-host, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston and Volunteer Houston, to celebrate incredible volunteers in the community. Four honorees we celebrated this week were:

  • Ann Kaesermann (#7,830) who serves as board treasurer of Interfaith Ministries;
  • Dee Dee Dochen (#7,831) who volunteers with ReelAbilities and is a long-time advocate for differently abled individuals;
  • Melissa Williams Murphy (#7,832) founder of iWrite, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering children to publish their own short stories;
  • Dana Farrar (#7,834), a volunteer with Theatre Under the Stars, a differently-abled theatre company.

recognizing volunteers, Daily Point of Light honoreesBuilding Personal Connections

One of the joys of the Points of Light Conference is the opportunity to meet and grow relationships with other individuals passionate about change. In between diving into educational opportunities such as a workshop on building effective organization partnerships or a talk on leveraging AI for good, Daily Point of Light honorees made time to get to know each other – and have a little fun.

Honorees left with new knowledge, tools and relationships. In the words of one honoree, “I had so much fun and learned a lot from every single one [of my fellow honorees]. Keep up the good work!”

As we reflect on the Points of Light conference, we are reminded of the power of individuals to ignite change and the magic that happens when they come together.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.