PSC Recognizes Volunteers Who Use Personal Passions to Make a Difference

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From left to right: Justin Doup, Jim White, and Donald Bartak. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– To make a difference in the lives of others, Jim White shares his love of music, Donald Bartak uses his understanding of math, and Justin Doup applies his leadership skills.

These three individuals are among the thousands of people in the Prairie State College (PSC) district and the 61 million people in the U.S. who give generously of their time and talents annually.

To recognize their commitment to community service, PSC recently awarded White and Bartak with the Michael R. Monteleone Community Service Award and Doup with the Dr. James H. Griffith Community Service Award.

The Michael R. Monteleone Community Service Award is given to a community member in the PSC district who has contributed in an extraordinary way to education through community service as either a volunteer or a community leader. The Dr. James H. Griffith Community Service Award is given to a 2009 PSC graduate who has contributed in an extraordinary way to the community. Both awards are named after former board of trustee members who generously gave their time to the college for over 20 years.

White was nominated by the Cancer Support Center for his commitment to community service both inside and outside the classroom. White, professor of biology at PSC, organized students to participate in the center’s annual Walk of Hope fundraiser, raising over $70,000 in 10 years. He also created two music CDs to raise additional funds and awareness for the center’s free programs.

“Jim leads by example—demonstrating that you can take a personal passion and share it with someone else for the greater good,” the nomination form read. “For our center, Jim has not only helped us further our mission but he has supported the Southland community by instilling core values, a sense of responsibility, volunteerism, and philanthropy in the students that graduate from PSC. You cannot put a price on that kind of education.”

According to Dora Ivory, coordinator of adult education, students often refer to Bartak as the “Amazing Math-a-Don” because he has helped them conquer the math portion of the GED test. Bartak has been an adult education tutor at Prairie State College since 2001, logging nearly 5,000 hours of assisting adult students. He primarily works with small groups of two to three students three times a week, but also works with students one-on-one.

“Don provides an environment of trust and ownership to the students that he serves,” said Ivory, who nominated Bartak. “He has high expectations of his students and his service, and his commitment to them has been crucial to the literacy project’s math tutorial success.”

Since he has been a student at PSC, Doup has been involved in multiple student clubs, earning three student leadership awards: one for best recruiter for the student newspaper, one for his work as senator for student government, and one for outstanding member for Phi Theta Kappa. In addition to his service on the PSC campus, Doup has volunteered at community events such as Earth Day, Relay for Life, United Way, Autism fundraisers, and the Walk of Hope.

“Even with all his co-curricular activities, classes, and a job, Justin maintained a 3.5 grade point average,” said Helen Manley, coordinator of student life, who nominated Doup for the award. “Justin’s passion for helping others and his desire to makes things better for others was apparent. He has inspired many, and I am sure that his winning attitude will continue.”