Student is semifinalist for national service award
Public invited to vote for winner onlineUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Feb 24, 2011
Josue E. “Sway” Nunez, a first-year graduate student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, is a national service award semifinalist for his innovative fundraising approaches in support of rehabilitation programs for individuals with mental illness.
Washington Campus Compact and Inspireum recently announced the top 50 semifinalists for the Students In Service Awards, which recognizes outstanding college students whose volunteer service positively impacts society and inspires others to serve.
Nunez is a dedicated fundraiser for the support and awareness of psychosocial rehabilitation programs for people with mental illness. He created and led a campaign, “Miles for Mental Health,” to raise money for the Hale O Honolulu Clubhouse. The nonprofit organization is one of 400 clubhouses in over 30 different countries that helps provide highly structured and supportive employment, continuing education, positive relationships and social interactions, mental and physical wellness education, and everyday life skills.
“Sway resonates with an energetic ‘can-do’ spirit that is palpable. He embodies the values and practice of social work through his service to and advocacy for those who struggle with mental disorders,” noted Mari Ono, MSW, who serves as Nunez’s graduate program academic advisor. “He is truly a change agent and leads by example.”
Nunez, a 30-year-old Wahiawa resident, said he is working on turning his project into its own nonprofit organization to help support and fund the 10 clubhouses in Hawai‘i. “I am honored to be recognized both nationally and locally for this project in helping to better the lives of the people I live and work with,” noted Nunez.
Members of the public are invited to vote for their favorite student and service project through Thursday, March 3. A national selection committee of esteemed civic leaders will select the 2011 winner and runner-up. The “fan favorite” will be determined purely by supporter vote at www.serviceawards.org.
Scholarship recipients and their service projects will be recognized at the 14th Annual Continuums of Service Conference, a nationally recognized service and civic engagement conference, in San Diego, California, on Thursday, April 28.
Scholarships and grants totaling $25,000 will be awarded to three category benefactors. The winner will receive a $5,000 academic scholarship, and a runner-up and “fan favorite” will each receive a $2,500 scholarship. In addition, the service-learning centers at the university of each winning student will receive a $2,500 grant to support civic engagement programs. Plus, $2,500 grants will be awarded to the nonprofit organizations sponsoring the winning service projects for the purpose of supporting their vital community programs.