In a (literally) heart-filled ceremony on Thursday, May 14, HISD honored the district’s top volunteers from the longstanding Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) program. VIPS, which was first launched in 1970, now has more than 30,000 volunteers districtwide who have dedicated countless hours to schools, programs, and events across Houston.
During the ceremony, awards were presented to four individuals to recognize their outstanding efforts as volunteers in HISD schools.
This year’s award recipients are:
- Jean Davis Myers Award: Jim Wilson (Benavidez ES, Askew ES)
- Parent Partner Award: Cara Davis (Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan)
- Youth Volunteer Award: Hava Schultz (Bellaire HS)
- Charles Harding Senior Award: Joaquin Alejandro (Robinson ES)
- Click here for the complete list of finalists.
Recipient of the highest recognition, the Jean Davis Myers Award, Jim Wilson has developed numerous programs and activities that promote student academic achievement in HISD. Aside from recruiting more than 100 engineers from Jacobs Engineering to help tutor students at two elementary schools, Wilson tirelessly works to identify needs within the school and coordinates other volunteers to fill those needs.
Joaquin Alejandro, winner of the Charles Harding Senior Award, has put in 10 years of volunteer service at two HISD elementary schools (which ones?). Since retiring, Alejandro arrives daily to Robinsons ES to read to students and tutor them on developmental concepts. He also donates his time to chaperoning field trips, assisting in the cafeteria, and monitoring students during work-station time so that teachers can prepare for testing.
This year’s Parent Partner Award recipient, Cara Davis, has shown her commitment to student success through countless hours of creating, editing, and designing the school’s monthly newsletter. Because Davis volunteers through an ExxonMobil program, the school receives matching funds from that company for her volunteer activities. Saturdays and several afternoons during the week, Davis can be found tutoring students in math, and actively recruits other parents to join her.
As the Youth Volunteer Award recipient, Hava Schultz is no stranger to volunteer work. A senior at Bellaire High School, any time she has left from her own studies is spent helping others. Schultz has logged more than 200 hours of volunteer time in the Bellaire College Center so far, and almost 300 hours at Condit Elementary School tutoring students in math, science, and writing. Aside from her volunteer work with community organizations such as Loaves of Love, Ms. Schultz also tutors National Honors Society students during her lunch breaks and started the Kindness Club at Bellaire HS.
Members of HISD’s VIPS program serve as tutors, mentors, teacher partners, speakers, security patrols, chaperones, interpreters, and cafeteria monitors and help in libraries, media centers, clinics, and offices. HISD encourages every Houstonian to become involved in making our schools the best in the nation. For more information about VIPS, please contact Tina Thompson at 713-556-7206.