Spirit of N.H. honors Tucker Foundation

by Julia Hecht | 11/14/06 6:00am

Dartmouth Community Services, the local service outreach and education arm of Dartmouth's Tucker Foundation, received the 2006 Spirit of New Hampshire Award from New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch Monday evening at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, N.H.

"[The Spirit of New Hampshire Award] is a way of recognizing the long legacy of volunteers from DCS who continue to cultivate the ethic of service in the Dartmouth community," Tucker Dean Stuart Lord said.

Spirit of New Hampshire Awards are part of an annual recognition program administered by Volunteer NH! in collaboration with the Office of the Governor, and are presented in two major groups: Volunteer Service Awards, which recognize individuals and groups who provide volunteer services, and Volunteer Champion Awards, which recognize entities that provide the infrastructure that assists volunteers.

DCS received a Volunteer Champion Award.

According to Volunteer NH!, the Volunteer Champion Award recognizes "excellent volunteer management (recruitment, orientation and training, on-going support and recognition of volunteers), fund-development efforts that sustain volunteer programs, and commitment of time/resources to engage employees in community volunteer roles."

The annual awards event brings together interested citizens, volunteers and representatives from business, nonprofit, education, government, faith communities and national service initiatives to commend exemplars of New Hampshire's strong tradition of service.

DCS was nominated for the Volunteer Champion Award by the Rev. Dr. Nancy A.G. Vogele '85, rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in White River Junction, Vt.

Vogele said she was "blown away" by how much DCS has grown since her days as the first volunteer coordinator for DCS from 1985-87.

"I am so impressed by the overall growth and increase number of programs," Vogele said. "Dartmouth Community Services now offers a much more organized way for students to learn from their volunteer experience and making a bigger impact through so many opportunities to become more deeply involved," she said.

Vogele cited community service groups at The Haven homeless shelter in White River Junction and Friday night dinners at Edgerton House Student Center as examples of DCS projects that are highly visible in the Upper Valley community.

Nomination letters recommending DCS for the award were also submitted by Barbara Mason, who works in the guidance department within the Mascoma School District in Enfield and Canaan, N.H., where students operate the Outdoor Leadership Experience Project; by Merilynn Bourne, executive director at LISTEN Community Services, with which the Dartmouth program is associated for the Big Brother, Big Sister mentoring project; and for food and clothing drives and the provision of a weekly community dinner in Hanover through the Students Fighting Hunger project.

Bourne said that she believes nominating Dartmouth Community Services for the Spirit award highlights the importance of volunteering in the community.

"People always talk about the 'Hanover bubble' that exists on the Dartmouth campus, but there's a bubble for the community as well," Vogele said. "One of the reasons I nominated DCS for the award is that they provide a way for the community to interact with the College in such a positive and constructive way."

Jan Tarjan, associate dean and director of Community Services at the Tucker Foundation, said she believes that the motivated student volunteers are the ones who truly deserve the Volunteer Champion award.

"None of the accomplishments of Dartmouth Community Services now and over the years would have happened without fantastic, caring, intelligent Dartmouth student leaders in the projects and without wonderful staff advisors," Tarjan said. "They, together with the Community Partners, are what really makes it happen."

OLE co-chair Rosie Hughes '07 said the infrastructure that DCS provides has influenced her program's success.

"The 75 students that we work with and their families are directly benefiting by having a confident, weekly interaction with good role models from Dartmouth who are bringing them into the outdoors and getting them to do things that they have never done before," Hughes said. "I think that the Tucker Foundation is very deserving of the award because they do reach a lot of people, both students and community members."

Community Programs Advisor Kyle Polite, along with Lord, Tarjan, Vogele and student members of the Dartmouth Community Service Executive team Courtney Andree '07 and Rachel Bloch '07 accepted the award on behalf of DCS.