From the White House more than 25 years ago, President George H. W. Bush gave voice and direction to a movement that’s steadily grown ever since — changing countless lives in communities across the country and around the world. No president in American history has advanced with greater clarity and consistency this belief: that voluntary action to help others is inseparable from human freedom and America’s pursuit of what is right and good. Each year, Points of Light honors individuals who embody the vision of “a thousand points of light” that President Bush first invoked during his acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Their extraordinary contributions to volunteering and service have made their communities, and the world, a better place.
Wedding planner Kat Creech was watching the development to Hurricane Harvey closely, worried about an upcoming wedding scheduled for Labor Day weekend. With doubts about the weather, Kat and the couple, Sarah Samad and Mohsin Karedia, decided to postpone – knowing that they wouldn’t truly enjoy their wedding while so many people were suffering through the impact of the storm. And at Kat’s suggestion, Sarah and Mohsin invited members of their wedding party, family and friends to instead come together to volunteer in support of families impacted by the flood.
After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Leah Halbina reached out to friends in the Houston area to see how she could help. When she found out about Sketch City, an open, nonprofit community of technology advocates and civic hackers that used technology to organize rescue efforts, help victims locate their nearest shelter and satisfy other pressing needs, she jumped in to help. Shortly after, Leah had to use the same technology in her home state of Florida as Hurricane Irma approached and made landfall.
At age 12, she was the voice of Nala in Disney’s “The Lion King” movie. Since then, she has appeared on Broadway, in TV shows, stage plays and commercials. But Niketa Calame-Harris found that developing a chronic illness – in her case, Type 1 diabetes – came without a script.
When Ronnie Devries realized how many Houston residents were in need following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, he knew he could help. With experience as the volunteer coordinator, Ronnie helped create a makeshift command center at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center – which quickly became a shelter for thousands of residents displaced by the storm. Working overnight, he helped set up a system for volunteer coordination to ensure volunteers were matched with all aspects of shelter operations.
Coming together to make a difference is a great way to not only improve your community, but deepen ties to your neighbors and have fun working together to do good! Join tens of thousands of volunteers across the country on Saturday, Oct. 28, to unite with common mission – to improve the lives of others through community-driven service projects.
In memory of Yeardley Love, a victim of domestic abuse, Sharon and Lexie Love founded the One Love Foundation to help make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens to anybody else. The Loves hope to educate people, especially young adults, on the signs of unhealthy relationships so that they or their loved ones can get out of an abusive relationship before it’s too late.
As Hurricane Harvey moved across Texas, causing massive flooding and damage, AmeriCorps Alums partnered with the American Red Cross to mobilize skills-based volunteers from the organization's national service alumni network – specifically those who have served with FEMA Corps or NCCC, had experience with disaster response, and who could travel to Texas to assist with immediate recovery. Volunteers, like AmeriCorps alum Lindsey Earl, quickly responded and helped provide on-the-ground support in Houston.