All three of the Shindledecker siblings recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award given on behalf of the President of the United States of America. According to the Presidential Service Awards government website, “The President’s Volunteer Service Award is the premier volunteer awards program, encouraging citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition. Presidential recognition sets you apart from your peers. It is a tremendous honor. Even though you may not seek recognition, your example can deliver a powerful message that encourages others to take action.”
The President’s Volunteer Service Award is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered by Points of Light. With a shared mission of inspiring more to answer the call to service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award celebrates the impact we can all make in our world.
Points of Light came about in response to President George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address which invoked the vision of a “thousand points of light, “ and invited the nation to take action through service to their fellow citizens. In 1990, President Bush established the Daily Point of Light Award and advocated that “points of light” demonstrated how “a neighbor can help a neighbor.” Points of Light Foundation was created to encourage and empower the spirit of service. The nonprofit extends President Bush’s vision, understanding that “what government alone can do is limited, but the potential of the American people knows no limits.”
This award is presented in either Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on the number of hours each individual has volunteered within the past year. These awards are divided into five different categories: Kids, Teens, Young Adults, Adults, and Families and Groups. There is also a special category for President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for individuals who have completed 4,000 or more hours in their lifetime.
Emma earned the Bronze Award given to Young Adults (ages 16 – 25) who have volunteered 100 – 174 hours within the past year. Sean earned the Gold Award given to Teens (ages 11 – 15) who have volunteered 100+ hours within the past year. Dean earned the Gold Award given to Kids (ages 5 – 10) who have volunteered 75+ hours within the past year. This award was given for their volunteer efforts to help feed students in their local community. Along with the ultimate honor of presidential recognition, Emma, Sean and Dean received a personalized certificate, an official medallion and a congratulatory letter from the president of the United States.
Realizing that many families were struggling during the difficult economic times, the children wanted to do something to help their classmates, friends and neighbors by “Paying It Forward.”
With the help of their parents, the siblings started a program in January of 2015 called “Panther Packs.” Panther Packs is a program designed to supply school-aged children and their family members with meals to which they may not otherwise have access. This is accomplished by providing backpacks filled with non-perishable food items to the children to take home over the weekends so they are able to share a few meals with their family and not have to worry about when or where their next meal is coming from. The Panther Packs are provided at no cost to the children or their families and relies on generous donations from individuals, organizations, and community businesses. To date, the siblings have helped over 45 local families and the number keeps growing!
In order to benefit everyone, the siblings utilized their 2015 Summer Break from school by combining their personal commitment, resources, effort and efficiency toward establishing Panther Packs into a legally recognized non-profit charitable organization. They are proud to proclaim since that time they are officially recognized within the State of Ohio and by the IRS as Panther Packs, Inc., a non profit 501(c)(3) charity. Anyone wishing to donate to the Panther Packs, Inc.’s mission may do so by dropping off a check at any Farmers & Merchants State Bank location.