The 2021 George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards Inspiration Spotlights
Shining a Spotlight on 10 Outstanding Individuals
As part of The George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards Celebration, an Inspiration Honor Roll was created to recognize the efforts of everyday citizens from frontline to essential workers to those who are working in their neighborhoods and communities on social and economic justice and equity. As a part of the program, we recognize 10 of these individuals from across the world that are acting to create positive change. These Inspiration Spotlights are bringing hope and inspiration to others facing similar challenges in their own communities. Meet our Spotlights!
Scott is a lifelong champion for international volunteerism. Currently he is the associate director of the Peace Corps leading the agency’s global operations. Passionate about supporting leaders from diverse backgrounds in the U.S. and around the world, Scott founded and led Atlas Corps, a leadership development program for the world’s best social change professionals. Sometimes called a “reverse Peace Corps,” Atlas Corps brings leaders from around the world to serve in the U.S. Throughout his career, Scott has served in various international and governmental roles, supporting leadership and volunteerism.
Daniel is an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at St. Mary’s Food Bank with a focus on data analysis and dissemination. Using platforms like ArcGIS, his department of data intelligence works to streamline information throughout the supply chain leading to more efficiency in distribution, beginning from St. Mary’s warehouse to clients across Arizona. Daniel strives to fight food insecurity, believing our understanding often falls short of the true lived experience. As a part of his work, he has helped facilitate more than 1000 distributions to Native American communities in Northern Arizona. He continues to develop platforms and processes to improve the outreach to clients statewide.
At just 18 years old, armed with a desire to make the technical space an equitable one, Indigenous (Ojibwe) and Queer robotics inventor, Danielle, created The STEAM Connection, a nonprofit that has helped reach hundreds of thousands of children worldwide with life-changing education. Through The STEAM Connection, Danielle mentors 35 robotics teams, holds school lectures, hosts events, runs a blog and distributes hundreds of her robots and books to children. By empowering underserved youth with technical skills and free resources, Danielle is helping them take back power in their lives, paving the way for a more sustainable, diverse and innovative future.
William is not your typical 15-year-old high school honors student and track athlete. When he learned his local food banks were experiencing high demand due to COVID-19, he was inspired to help. Already having a soft spot for people experiencing food insecurity, he founded nonprofit Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow, where he is making, bottling and selling homemade vanilla extract, and donating all profits to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. He also volunteers there. Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow has currently donated $100,000 which has provided 300,000 meals to East Tennessee residents in need.
In 2010, Dion, a US Marine Veteran turned NYC executive chef, founded the Disabled Combat Veterans Youth Program (DCVYP), aiming to support both local families and youth. Families can receive delicious hot dinner via delivery or curbside pickup. DCVYP also provides mentorship programs and an after-school culinary arts program for local youth. In March 2020, partnering with worship houses and local nonprofits, Dion expanded his food insecurity initiative to meet a greater need caused by COVID-19. He created Table To Table Tuesdays, a program distributing organic produce to over 3,000 families weekly. Dion has a long-term vision to establish a sustainable agriculture program to reach even more families in need.
SreyRam was barely two when she was injured during a bombing as her family fled Cambodia. Luckily, a volunteer Red Cross surgeon saved her life and she made it safely to the U.S. Inspired by this experience, she pursued a career in medicine and eventually became the first female Cambodian refugee to work as a surgeon in the U.S. Today, she is passionate about serving vulnerable communities and proud to support the efforts of organizations serving veterans, such as Dog Tag Bakery. She volunteers tirelessly, raising funds to support her community to help wounded veterans learn business skills, fund a traumatic brain injury center for veterans, combat human trafficking of women and girls and build a rural community center. In 2017 SreyRam was recognized by L’Oréal Paris and Points of Light as a Women of Worth honoree for her extraordinary efforts in serving military veterans and their families.
Anna, a former nurse, was inspired by her friendship with June, a neighbor aged in her 80s, to connect people in her community with one another through food. In 2019 Anna launched Food Friends, an intergenerational project matching people who love cooking with a neighbor who would benefit from a home-cooked meal and doorstep chat, as a means of tackling loneliness, social isolation and food waste. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Friends volunteers have delivered over 3,500 home cooked meals and in addition, working in partnership with The Umbrella Cafe CIC, distributed over 4,000 meals to families in Whitstable facing disproportionate challenges due to the pandemic.
Alyssa’s story begins with her family’s nightly gatherings, where she learned about African-American history. She soon became aware of the contrast in her school’s history curriculum. Much of what she studied forced her to examine herself through the prism of persecution, contradictory to the stories she had learned at home that showed Black people through the prism of strength. This led her to found WE STAND, an initiative promoting inclusivity in education through diversifying curriculas’ narratives. Alyssa hopes to establish culturally relevant curricula for youth through her initiative.
Shalabh’s passion is to promote India’s social development. iVolunteer.in is the largest and most trusted volunteering service in India, engaging 20,000+ volunteers each year, partnering with a strong network of 500+ credible nonprofits on all social causes. It offers hands-on, skills-based and pro bono programs with iVolunteer Centres in seven leading Indian cities serving as regional hubs and promoting volunteering nationally. Shalabh was instrumental in founding India Fellow, a social leadership program for the youth in India. He is also credited with creating iVolunteer Awards, India’s only recognition for volunteers aimed at inspiring and establishing new benchmarks on volunteering. Shalabh also co-founded JobsForGood, a boutique consultancy on HR Advisory and Recruitment for social enterprises, NGOs and company CSR portfolios. Shalabh serves on the Global Council for Global Pro Bono Network, the CII Council for India@75 and is a visiting faculty SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai. An alumnus of Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), he was also India’s first Commonwealth Professional Fellow in 2003.
Inspired by her own upbringing in an underserved community, Dynasty founded the nonprofit Dynasty’s United Youth Association (DUYA) in 2014. Specifically tailored to the minority population, DUYA aims to help break the cycle of poverty by closing the gap in educational inequalities and ensuring access to quality programs that promote character. In partnership with the Los Angeles Public Library and The Los Angeles Unified School District, DUYA provides free tutoring, homework assistance, job-readiness workshops, college and career advisement, and social-emotional support to youth ages 5-18 in urban communities. Over the past seven years, DUYA has helped over 800 students stay in school and advance to the next grade.