Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Lake Charles resident Kelli Stawecki has been announced as one of nine Volunteer Louisiana Champions of Service award recipients in Baton Rouge.
The award recognizes outstanding volunteers from the seven geographic regions of Athlete’s Paradise.
“Volunteering shows the strength of character and resilient spirit of Louisianans,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “The Service Champions Awards are just one way to recognize the impact our volunteers have on their communities. »
Stawecki volunteers and inspires others to help the homeless and food insecure community in Lake Charles through Waters Edge Church. She coordinates feedings, supports those with medical needs.
She has helped hundreds of people in her community through her service through the Waters Edge Food Pantry and her personal support for the homeless in Lake Charles.
The full list of winners and their contributions can be found below:
- Brianna Cooley – North West Champion: Brianna dedicates her volunteer service to reducing teen suicide rates through her kindness is cool countryside. Two years ago, Brianna learned of military suicides in her community at Barksdale Air Force Base. She decided it was important for people to feel seen, heard and loved. She began promoting kindness initiatives, which led to a network of community service opportunities and volunteer events throughout the region. She is dedicated to encouraging everyone to show kindness through small acts of giving and service.
- Aundi Brown and the Ouachita Green Volunteer Team – North East Champion: Aundi Brown is Executive Director of Ouachita Green and leads a team of dedicated volunteers who support beautification efforts throughout the community. In 2021, Aundi and the Ouachita Volunteer Green Team engaged 2,636 volunteers, held 41 clean-up and beautification events, and picked up 106,830 pounds of litter from communities and roads in Ouachita Parish. Aundi and the Ouachita Green Team of Volunteers are dedicated to making their community the best it can be and inspiring others to serve.
- Prentiss Powell – Center Champion: Prentiss is a retired teacher with a passion for inspiring young minds. He volunteers year-round at the Centennial Cultural Center in Olla, Louisiana, where he plans and leads STEM education camps for children ages 5-15. The annual camps, called Rocket Camps, are free for children and focus on exposing young people to science and new technologies in a fun and relaxed setting. Prentiss has volunteered her expertise to the Centennial Cultural Center for the past five years and uses her services to create a unique educational opportunity for children living in this rural community.
- Bea Gyimah – Greater Capital Region Champion: In 2017, Bea formed the America My Oyster Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting multicultural awareness and understanding of the diversity of individuals, communities, and cultures across America. His volunteer service at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library led to the creation of an interactive program called “Building a Better America Today.” The program is designed for middle and high school students, college students, and lifelong learners who want to enrich their understanding of the fundamentals of diversity, cultural competence, and empathy.
- Craig Blackburn – Greater New Orleans Champion: Craig volunteers with the Down Syndrome Association of New Orleans, GiGi’s Playhouse, Louisiana Special Olympics, and many other organizations. Craig is a positive mentor to families in the Down Syndrome and Disability community. He engages with families who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome and shares his own story and accomplishments to help them see how their child can lead fulfilling and rewarding lives. He lives by his motto and inspires others to do the same: Believe in your dreams, work hard and anything is possible!
- Kelli Stawecki – Southwest Champion: Kelli volunteers and inspires others to help the homeless and food insecure community in Lake Charles through Waters Edge Church. Kelli coordinates feedings, helps with documentation, supports people with medical needs, and provides support through life transitions. She has worked diligently to encourage others to see the homeless in a different light. Kelli has helped hundreds of people in her community through her service through the Waters Edge Food Pantry and her personal support for the homeless in Lake Charles.
- David J. Mancina – Southeast Champion: David has been a volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) St. Tammany since 1999. He serves on the board of directors as the organization’s treasurer. David has twin brothers with schizophrenia. He took it upon himself to care for his brothers throughout their adult lives. David knows the difficulty of finding appropriate services and support at a time when there was less progress in the field of mental health. He was instrumental in helping NAMI St. Tammany grow from a small volunteer operation to one with over 25 staff and a $1.5 million budget.
- Shelia Revell – American Body Champion: Sheila is a U.S. Army veteran and a dedicated volunteer team leader for LaVetCorps in Shreveport, working tirelessly to serve her community on her college campus and in her wider community. Sheila helped establish and develop the Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College’s Veteran Student Center, led fundraising and volunteer cleanup efforts after Hurricane Ida, and served as a liaison with college campuses across the south. of Louisiana to provide supplies to those in need after the storm. She began working with the Vaccine Equity Project in April 2021 to educate others about the benefits of vaccinating against COVID-19. Sheila felt compelled to break down barriers to accessing health care and promote understanding in her community after losing many friends and family members.
- GBR Food Bank Volunteer Leaders – Volunteer Group Champion: GBR Food Bank Volunteer Leaders are an essential volunteer support team that help manage over 10,500 food bank volunteers each year. The 18 volunteer leaders spend an average of more than 1,000 hours a year each in the warehouse sorting and repackaging food distributed in a service area of 11 parishes. This group of dedicated volunteers not only work 4-hour shifts almost daily, but also assist the staff who oversee food bank operations. They have served tirelessly during the pandemic and Hurricane Ida and are integral to the success of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. The individual volunteers who make up this dedicated group are Bus Culotta, Paul Foretich, Mannie Henderson, Donna Patterson, Dawn Escott, Terry Cormier, Daniel Martin, Julius Mullins, Bill Gros, Michelle Louis, Darryl Louis, Wendy Parish, Jenny Ferrell, Helene Tucker , Richard Tucker, Jerry Normand, John Langlois and Charlotte Langlois.
Volunteer Louisiana, along with Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Volunteer Louisiana Foundation, will honor the winners at an awards ceremony on May 24, 2022.
Those interested in learning more about the 2022 Service Champions can visit their Facebook page.
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