Since 2013, the IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Awards has celebrated the inspiring efforts of volunteers who make important contributions to communities at home and abroad. It doesn’t matter whether they volunteered locally or internationally, we celebrate those who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to supporting community projects on any continent.
Meet the worthy recipients of the IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Scholarship below:
Volunteer of the Year 2016 Recipient - Lauren Jackson
After a trip to Fiji in 2012, Lauren knew that she wanted to continue helping communities in need. In 2015, Lauren traveled to Kenya with IVHQ to take part in the Maasai Teaching Program for 4 weeks. Lauren has since taken her own initiative to make a difference and has raised $4000 whilst in Kenya to go towards the education of vulnerable children.
“I decided that I could do more than just a ‘once off’ and I founded my own charity; The Children of Maasai Educational Programme (CMEP). In the past 12 months, my charity has raised over $10,000 to sponsor tuition fees, replace worn-down uniforms and care for the physical and mental health of the most vulnerable children in the Maasai community of Kajiado County, Kenya.” - Lauren Jackson
Lauren is extremely motivated to continue the work of her charity and has ambition to develop and expand the valuable work she has started, and further entrench the positive changes to education in rural Kenya. Lauren sees winning the IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Scholarship as a great opportunity to further her work. “I am excited to grow this circle of influence to further support underprivileged children throughout Kenya. Returning to these communities will give me an amazing opportunity to oversee developments from the front line, and accelerate the wave of positive change that is spreading over the nation.”
Volunteer of the Year 2015 Recipient - Nolan Moore
Currently serving in the US Army, 23-year-old Nolan was awarded with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from The Citadel University in 2014 in recognition of his leadership as a volunteer and contribution to communities locally and abroad. The History major has spent over 4 months volunteering abroad with IVHQ during his university studies, while supporting various projects in his local community. He has served as a leader intern for the Children’s Defense Fund to help improve literacy for underprivileged children, and has supported La Puerta de Esperanza in providing music classes, English teaching, and technical support.
“What motivates me to volunteer is being able to know that I am able to affect families, dreams and future generations. I want to be an example and mentor that people are able to look up to. “The feeling of knowing that I made someone’s day just by teaching them something new or making them laugh for a moment is extremely amazing.” - Nolan Moore
Nolan also mentors and coaches golf to students through the Greater Tee First Charleston program, which provides young people with character-building and life skills lessons using golf as the platform.
Volunteer of the Year 2014 Recipient - Cara Lawler
Cara first arrived in Kenya as an IVHQ volunteer in September 2013, and has since worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the children at the childcare where she worked. In 2014, Cara launched the non-profit SAWA (Someone A World Away), in an effort to continue supporting the local community and children of El Shadai.
Cara was awarded with US$5,000 from the IVHQ Fund to assist in developing a project that would bring long-term and sustainable benefits to El Shadai.
“We were able build 3 new classrooms at the El Shadai Grace Learning Centre, allowing their partnering childcare to acquire more students, and therefore support an additional teacher to improve the learning conditions for our children and all those attending our school. As the school continues to grow, it will attract new fee-paying students which in turn will aid the sustainability of the school and adjoining orphanage.” - Cara Lawler
You can follow Cara’s journey on her website.
Volunteer of the Year 2013 Recipient - Marcus Gregar-Rive
After volunteering in Kenya with IVHQ in 2009, Marcus decided to leave his life in New Zealand, taking the leap to establish Kitendo Children’s Charity (KCC) Slum Project, a grassroots NGO in Kenya, providing feeding and education programs for children living in Kenya’s slums.
As IVHQ Volunteer of the Year, Marcus was awarded with a donation to boost sustainable funding for KCC and support the local labour force and economy, through an investment in 17 acres of commercially productive farm land.
“We were delighted to put this prize into African soil. The Board, management, staff, children and community, would like to extend an outstretched thank you to every single person from all corners of the world, who supported this campaign” - Marcus Gregar-Rive