Tony Washington, a Frostburg State University graduate, won a Daily Points of Light Award from the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network.
The Points of Light Foundation encourages people to volunteer, and it honors exceptional volunteers and groups with recognition on its Web site. Washington was recognized in the “Healthy Start for a Healthy Future” category, which focuses on services that provide the basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter.
“I’m really humbled by [this award],” says Washington, who graduated from FSU in 1999. His years of service have had a positive impact on his life and how he views others. “Most of us are a lot more alike than we realize. The only difference is that we come from different backgrounds.”
Post graduation, Washington worked at FSU for three years. As a member of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), he ran the V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteer Opportunities in the Community Environment) program for one year. During that time he worked to partner students with the surrounding Frostburg community in service-learning projects. He also made the program Web-based to make it easier for students to find volunteer opportunities with an agency. For the next two years, he was the program manager for the FSU Allen HallSTARS!, a residence hall dedicated to service, and began initiatives that still continue, such as helping with the Special Olympics. As program manager, Washington expanded the HallSTARS! and served as a mentor for the 90 AmeriCorps members involved.
“Tony is amazing,” says Cherie Krug, director of FSU’s Center for Volunteerism and National Service. “[He] demonstrates all the qualities that make him a role model for young adults and the community he serves. He is a true model of a service leader.”
Though Washington has participated in and organized many service projects, he received his award for founding the “FSU Sponsor-A-Family for Thanksgiving Program.” Washington worked with the Western Maryland Food Bank director to create a program that provides Thanksgiving dinners to less fortunate families in the tri-state area of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The program has operated for five years and delivered a total of 108 baskets. These baskets often include food for a week, cash, winter accessories and homemade cards. Washington has worked in the Baltimore area for two years, but he still drives two and half hours back to western Maryland to deliver the baskets to families on the day before Thanksgiving.
Washington currently works at the Baltimore Science Center as the director of volunteers.
The Daily Points of Light honors a recipient a day on its Web site www.pointsoflight.org/. Click on “Awards.” Washington will be featured on March 30.