FLDOE Outstanding Volunteer Award Winners Named
The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) recently announced the 2019-2020 Outstanding School Volunteer Award winners. This annual award is presented to school volunteers who have exhibited an exceptional commitment to enhancing quality instruction for Florida’s K-12 students. Winners are awarded in three categories — youth, adult, and senior — in each of Florida’s five reporting districts.
Lyndsey Laborde, FWBHS, and Mary Wright, Edge ES, were named FLDOE’s 2019-2020 Outstanding School Volunteer award winners for Region I (Panhandle and Big Bend).
Awardees will receive a congratulatory letter and commemorative trophy. Award recipients are listed below and will be posted online on the FLDOE’s website.
Lyndsey Laborde, Fort Walton Beach High School, Student Volunteer
Lyndsey Laborde, a senior at Fort Walton Beach High School, saw a need to help the less fortunate students by making sure they had food. Lyndsey created ‘The Pantry’ to help students and families struggling with hunger or uncertainty by providing an opportunity to obtain food at no cost. This project opened the doors for the community to donate items for the pantry, so all stakeholders partnered to help these families. Lyndsey has 218 hours of community service, a 4.72 grade point average, and ensures that our students and their families are taken care of each week.
Lyndsey is the happiest when students come in to gather items to feed their families for the weekend. The smallest things that are donated can be the biggest gift to these students and their families. The Pantry has impacted the lives of our homeless students and inspired our community to be a part of a program that will allow children to learn because they are fed.
Mary Wright, Edge Elementary School, Senior Volunteer
Mary Wright has been actively involved in volunteering for the last 10 years. Beginning with an idea to provide benevolence through her church to school-aged children of single mothers, she initiated a tutoring program that benefits students in the primary grades. The program has since expanded to include any student in need of the service, no questions asked. The program is for students in Kindergarten, first grade, and second-grade encompassing tutoring in the area of Math and English Language Arts. They work on building core competencies, phonetic awareness, comprehension, vocabulary and sight word recognition. Helping students to achieve the required grade-level standards and maintain pace with the current curriculum.
Mary single handedly organizes, maintains, and facilitates the program insuring sufficient tutors for each child. Tutors are recruited by her through the church congregation making sure there is a “just right” fit between tutor and student. Wright will burden herself by taking on more students before allowing any student to go without service. Additionally, her program improves social skills, manners and promotes a positive connection with the student’s teacher and parents. Mary’s idea spans an inter-generational relationship benefiting not only the students but also the tutors. The work being done with these students has had an outstanding impact on both the students and the school overall. Currently, the program she manages is helping 30 students with additional students on a waiting list. Mary exemplifies the perfect example of what a volunteer should be. We are blessed beyond measure to have her as a member of our Edge Family.