Travis McClendon, a 15-year-old sophomore at Loyola High School in northwest Detroit, was honored in the “Youth Volunteer of the Year category” of the 2013 Governor’s Service Awards. He was one of five finalists in that category and one of 40 finalists overall.
The 40 finalists (five each in eight categories) were selected from more than 140 individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations from across the state who were nominated for their commitment to volunteer service.
McClendon was honored at the July 23 awards ceremony at the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.
“I recently kicked-off the Do Something, Michigan! initiative that encouraged Michiganders to take action in their communities through volunteerism,” Gov. Snyder said when he announced the finalists. “The 40 finalists who will be recognized at the 2013 Governor’s Service Awards are an extraordinary example of that Do Something! spirit. I thank them for their contribution to our state.”
McClendon is described in a biography posted on the website of the Michigan Community Service commission, which coordinated the event, as having a passion for service.
“Born with no forearms as a result of a birth defect, Travis has not let his disability stop him; he has been volunteering since the age of 8,” the biography reads.
It also states in the past year, McClendon volunteered more than 125 hours of service by, among other things, making cookies and sandwiches for the homeless; volunteering at a soup kitchen; initiating a pillow case drive for military personnel; writing letters to veterans; and repairing homes at the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Nominees in the Youth Volunteer of the Year category are 21 and younger. The other finalists in that category were:
Novi resident Ashi Arora, a sophomore at Novi High School, who has been volunteering in her community since the sixth grade. She has given more than 400 hours of her time at St. Leo’s soup kitchen helping the homeless, and served as an early literacy volunteer at local elementary schools, among other things.
Paige Daniel, 17, of Waterford, who began volunteering at Gleaners Community Food Bank when she was 8-year-old. She combines her love of volunteering with her love of American history. Her volunteer activities include serving as the 2010 president of the Michigan Society of the Children of the American Revolution. She convinced the Historic Waterford Village to add a hands-on children’s room to its new construction site and raised more than $3,000 to support the addition.
Evan Kennard of Vassar, a junior at Vassar High School, first volunteered in middle school when he offered to be a Little League umpire. At 14, he became a team captain for Saginaw Valley State University’s Relay for Life. He has continued to lead a team each year, helping to generate more than $150,000 for the cause.
Kimberly Klieber of Westland, a college sophomore at Lawrence Technological University, first volunteered in 2006 when she created the Environmental Protection and Information Club (EPIC) at her high school to help cultivate a wildlife habitat on the school grounds.
The awards ceremony was called “An Evening with the Stars” and featured performances by Michigan musical artists and performers.
For more information on the 2013 Governor’s Service Awards, visit www.michigan.gov/mcsc.