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Governor's Service Awards, June 30th, 2014

posted Jul 8, 2014, 9:48 AM by Annette Wells

"It was an honor to accept recognition on behalf of all the volunteer mediators for the Community Dispute Resolution Program which includes Community Mediation Services on Monday, June 20, 2014 at the 2014 Governor's Service Awards! 

Governor Snyder - 2014 Governor's Service Awards

In June, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the 40 finalists for the 2014 Governor's Service Awards. The finalists were selected from more than 160 individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations statewide for their commitment to volunteer service. The Community Dispute Resolution Program which includes Community Mediation Services was selected as a finalist!

“Michigan’s comeback relies on volunteers across the state making a difference in their communities and I’m pleased to honor those who have gone above and beyond in this effort,” said Snyder. “These 40 finalists exemplify what it means to get involved, do something and have a positive impact on our great state. I want to commend and thank them for their service.” 

The Governor’s Service Awards recipients were honored during a special ceremony titled "An Evening with the Stars" Monday, June 30 at the Gem Theatre in Detroit. During the ceremony, one overall winner in each category will be announced. The event also featured musical entertainment by Toppermost, a Beatles Tribute Band. 

The 40 outstanding volunteer finalists are being honored in one of eight different award categories that reflect the diverse nature of volunteers throughout Michigan. The award categories are: Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award; Corporate Community Leader Award; Mentor of the Year Award; Volunteer of the Year Award; Senior Volunteer of the Year Award; Youth Volunteer of the Year Award; Outstanding National Service Program Award; and Outstanding Volunteer Program Award. 

The Governor's Service Awards ceremony is an annual statewide recognition event acknowledging the contributions made by Michigan volunteers. This celebration is made possible only through the generous contributions of its sponsors. To date those sponsors include: Ford Motor Company Fund, DTE Energy Foundation, Meijer, Comcast, Comer Holdings, Lear, Acheson Ventures, Consumers Energy, Council of Michigan Foundations, Jackson National, Michigan Nonprofit Association, Greenstone Farm Credit Services, MASCO and Quicken Loans/Rock Ventures. 

The event is coordinated by the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC), the state’s lead agency on volunteerism. The MCSC strives to engage all Michigan residents in volunteerism to address critical community challenges. It is part of the Michigan Department of Human Services. 

Outstanding Volunteer Program Award
The extraordinary work volunteers accomplish in communities is often driven by an organization or club. This award acknowledges the importance this support can make in community life. The nominees in this category strive to make communities better places to live through a variety of activities or by focusing on one issue of primary importance in their community. Schools, faith-based organizations, national service programs, nonprofit organizations, and service clubs are potential nominees.

Recognized as a Finalist- The Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) has been providing conflict resolution for 25 years through dedicated and well-trained volunteers. Eighteen CDRP Centers provide a non-adversarial option for disagreeing parties for whom formal litigation may be unnecessary, inappropriate or unaffordable. The program is based on voluntary participation with an emphasis on finding solutions where nobody loses. It results in resolutions of landlord-tenant disputes, neighbor arguments, small claims and personal disagreements. Since 1998, trained volunteer mediators have guided parties through the process to find win-win solutions. Mediators do not give advice, make suggestions or decide who is right and wrong. They simply help participants express themselves and work toward a solution. In 2012, more than 800 CDRP volunteers provided 17,641 hours of service to 36,715 individuals saving a total market value of $2,477,090.

The Outstanding Volunteer Program Awarded to Forgotten Harvest Volunteer Program of Detroit. This award acknowledges the importance an organization or club makes in community life. The Forgotten Harvest Volunteer Program is one of the largest food rescue organizations in the nation. The program rescued more than 45 million pounds of nutritious food last year. The group saves food that would otherwise go to waste from 455 retail grocers, farms, wholesale distributors, entertainment venues and others. The group then re-packs and re-distributes the food to 260 emergency food providers, homeless shelters and soup kitchens. A total of 16,000 volunteers donated 92,434 hours in 2013. Forgotten Harvest serves more than 715,000 people living in poverty in Metro Detroit. Last year, volunteers harvested 850,000 pounds of vegetables on 103 acres of farmland in Fenton. Forgotten Harvest provided 134,369 sack lunches through its Summer School Feeding Program. The group also provides programs such as Holiday Meal Assembly, Food Pantry Assistance and other special events and activities.

I was delighted to attend as the President of the Michigan Dispute Resolution Program Association with Doug VanEpps, the Director of the Office of Dispute Resolution Center of the Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office, Jane Millar, Executive Director of the Charlevoix Center and Bonnie Hanes, Executive Director of the Oakland Center. The Gem Theater was amazing, the volunteers I met and organizations represented were inspiring making it a night to remember!!!