City of Goshen awarded state volunteerism award

The Environmental Resilience Department poses with the award. Back L to R: Lee Bergey; Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley, Director of Environmental Resilience; Levi Moser. Front L to R: Theresa Sailor, Education Grant Writer; Melanie Helmuth, Urban Forestry Assistant; Acadia Imhof; Alexa Kennel; Brandi Devoe, Office Assistant; Anna Osborne.

Goshen Mayor Gina Leichty accepted the Government Entity Volunteerism Award on behalf of the City of Goshen during the 2023 Serve Indiana Awards for Excellence Ceremony on Wednesday, November 15. Mayor Leichty presented the award to the Department of Environmental Resilience on Friday, December 1.

“I want to thank the Department of Environmental Resilience and all of our AmeriCorps volunteers, past and present, for pushing Goshen forward and modeling the impact of volunteerism,” said Mayor Leichty.

The Government Entity Volunteerism Award recognizes any local or state government entity that has substantially impacted Hoosier communities through contributions of time and talent during the 2023 calendar year, demonstrating an ongoing community impact through volunteerism or philanthropy.

The City of Goshen was nominated and selected for this award largely for its successful partnership with the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) and the AmeriCorps program.

The partnership between MACOG, AmeriCorps, and the Environmental Resilience Department began in 2022 when the city hosted two AmeriCorps members, Shae Dirks and Acadia Imhof. In this federal program, individuals commit to a year of service in their community, earning a modest living allowance, health care, and an education award in exchange. The City is hosting three full-time and two part-time AmeriCorps members this year: Lee Bergey, Acadia Imhof, Alexa Kennel, Anna Osborne, and Levi Moser.

Over the two-year partnership, AmeriCorps volunteers have served over 9,800 hours on a dozen projects focused on community sustainability and public health, including organizing a women’s bike ride, designing and installing a rain garden, surveying trails to assess necessary repairs, and preparing over 700 trees to give away as part of Arbor Day.

Beyond partnering with MACOG and AmeriCorps, city staff regularly promote volunteer opportunities for the public, such as tree plantings, food events, and local clean-ups.

About Serve Indiana

Serve Indiana is a division of the Department of Workforce Development for the State of Indiana. The mission of Serve Indiana is to advance service and volunteerism by informing, connecting, and promoting opportunities and resources that enrich the lives of Hoosiers. This is accomplished through several programs and initiatives, including AmeriCorps State Funding, Day of Service Grants, and the Awards for Excellence.