Julia Hansen ’18, center, pictured with her family and Preble Street Volunteer Manager, Tori Stenbak
On June 21, at their Annual Meeting, Preble Street presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Julia Hansen ’18. This award marked two firsts for Preble Street. It was the first time the award has been given to a youth volunteer and Julia became the first recipient of the Leon Gorman Volunteer of the Year award—an award established to honor Leon Gorman who passed earlier this year and who volunteered at Preble Street for more than a decade.
In presenting the award to Julia, Tori Stenbak (Preble Street Volunteer Manager) read the following:
“Choosing one volunteer or one group for recognition is no easy task. Preble Street has so many, many really great volunteers– hundreds of wonderful people who commit to shifts or projects weekly, monthly, or a few times a year. So how does a volunteer rise to the top of the pool of exceptionally generous and caring people who help us do our work?
What stands out about Julia Hansen is her strength of character and resolve. Julia has been volunteering in the Resource Center Soup Kitchen for two years—part of a mother/daughter team volunteering with Suzanne Fox, weekly to prepare, serve, and clean; and on her own Julia helps organize and volunteers monthly with a group of Waynflete students.
Julia first started volunteering as a freshman at Waynflete, coming once or twice a month. But her commitment grew quickly. Before she started volunteering, Julia wanted to know how she could learn more, do more and she and her mom met with me to learn more about our programs. She asked many thoughtful questions that reflected her desire to have a greater impact.
This year, Julia has clocked over 150 volunteer hours, she has worked with Waynflete faculty and students to organize volunteer groups that have donated more than 120 hours in the Soup Kitchen, and she ran clothing drives for warm winter clothing, coats, backpacks, socks, and underwear at her school. Her commitment to meeting the needs of her less fortunate neighbors has inspired others to get involved and made her parents, friends, teachers, and many of us proud of her efforts. More than all this, though, there are two very specific traits that have stood out make her stand apart.
In the face of great loss, Julia sought and found comfort in service to others. She has become an advocate for solutions and change. In Julia’s sophomore year of high school she lost two dear friends within months of each other, both teenagers, both victims to depression who took their own lives.”