Two women who are passionate about helping young people, communities in need and arts organizations received the 2010 John A Yankey Student Community Service Award from the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations.
Janet Coquillette and Melissa Johnson were recognized for their community outreach efforts with the Yankey award and a $1,000 prize.
The award is presented to Mandel Center students who have been actively engaged as a volunteer in one or more successful community services activities or projects while a student at the center. The spirit of the award is designed to recognize students who exemplify Emeritus Professor John A. Yankey's dedication to community service and the nonprofit sector.
Coquillette and Johnson have both since graduated and continue to work on their community outreach efforts. Learn more about this year’s recipients:
Janet Coquillette is a former attorney who found a second calling in the nonprofit sector. She helped the Rainey Institute, which provides art education programs for children in Cleveland, secure additional funding. Her efforts helped to achieve a 50 percent increase in the organization’s budget within two years. According to the Rainey Institute, the agency was able to increase the number of children served from 425 to 650. She also serves as a Rainey trustee.
Coquillette also is involved with the Womens Council at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She chaired the organization from 2003-2005. She led a 650-member organization that supports the museum through volunteerism, education and fundraising. As part of her responsibilities, she coordinated the contribution of more than 27,000 volunteer hours valued at more than $460,000, as well as a subscriptions/capital campaign that raised more than $250,000. Coquillette also was an ex officio member of the museum’s Board of Trustees.
“She has a very strong commitment to the community and always makes it her goal to serve and make her surroundings a better and more effective, efficient place,” said one of her nominators. Coquillette also serves as a trustee of the Cleveland Music School Settlement and the Painting and Drawing Society of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Melissa Johnson co-founded and directed the Commissioner’s Camp: Summers of Success program for middle school children in Washington, D.C. The program allowed 35 children from low-income neighborhoods an opportunity to receive academic enrichment and tennis lessons for seven weeks. Students also participated in other sports to reinforce healthy habits, and received visits from professionals who talked about their careers.
The program combined activities to reinforce educational standards in the Washington, D.C. schools, and exposed participants to new concepts they’d encounter during the upcoming academic year. Several students also went on to join youth sports organizations based on their introduction to programs at the camp.
Johnson sought funding, recruited and trained staff, and provided marketing materials. “Without her the program would not have happened and many youth would have been without constructive activity and caring mentors,” her nominator wrote.
The program concluded with an awards program where participants outlined all of their accomplishments. “Parents and community members were astounded by the proud students’ displays of various subjects learned in a single summer,” Johnson’s nominator wrote.
In addition to the summer project, Johnson has done fundraising and planning for the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning’s annual cleanup trip to New Orleans.
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