Sofia-Alexandra Colon, an Adrian College senior majoring in Exercise Science, was one of only 50 youths aged 5-25 to be honored in Huston, Texas in July with AmeriCorps’ President’s Volunteer Service Award.
“It was a really great experience,” Colon said. “I saw little six-year-olds and they were so proud with their medal, and people my age as well. It’s a good feeling to have.”
The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the President’s Volunteer Service Award to “recognize the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity.” This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities and inspires those around them. Colon’s gold-level certificate stated the award was, “in recognition and appreciation for their commitment to strengthen our nation and communities through volunteer service.”
Colon and other young adults aged 16–25 had to log at least 250 hours of unpaid acts of volunteer service benefitting others to be eligible for the national gold medal. The silver medal required between 175-249 hours of service and the bronze, 100-174.
Colon, a Carmel, Ind., native has been volunteering with her family for as long as she can remember.
“My mom and dad are both very passionate when it comes to volunteering,” Colon said. “Because, it’s not about getting something back for yourself, it’s always about giving yourself to the community… You never know whose life you’re going to change just by a small act.”
She’s volunteered for numerous fundraisers and soup kitchen duties and has helped out her local church, the Family Career and Community Leaders of America chapter at Carmel High School, the Ice Skating Club of Indianapolis, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Mya Smith Foundation and Adrian College’s skating teams.
Colon competes on three skating teams for Adrian College, collegiate and open collegiate synchronized skating and intercollegiate figure skating.
Mya Smith-Edmonds, chair of the Smith Foundation and co-host of the Presidential Youth Award ceremony in Houston, TX, nominated Colon for the award because of her ongoing commitment in volunteering for a coat drive she does every year in Indianapolis. Smith-Edmonds flew Colon to Houston for the award ceremony.
“She knew that I’ve always been doing volunteer work, and I’ve volunteered with her foundation as well,” Colon said. “I’ve done coat drives for her every winter, and in the summer, we do a bunch of food drives.”
After graduating next spring, Colon plans on attending grad school to be an occupational therapist.
“Hopefully in the next couple of years I’ll get my doctorate,” Colon said. “I’m focusing more on geriatrics.”
For more information about the President’s Volunteer Service Award, go online to presidentialserviceawards.gov/eligibility.