CVC co-directors recognized for efforts
Julia Bruss ‘11 and John Perkins ‘11, co-directors of the Colby Volunteer Center (CVC), will receive the Maine Philanthropy Award at the annual award banquet this Thursday, April 6.
In conjunction with the Goldfarb Center for Civic Affairs and the Maine Association of Nonprofits, the Maine Philanthropy Award recognizes outstanding philanthropic efforts made by individuals in four categories: the state of Maine, Central Maine, an area high school and the Hill.
Siblings Bryan Solar ‘08 and Stefanie Solar ‘11 created the Maine Philanthropy Award in 2008. “My brother and I started it my freshman year when he was a senior,” Stefanie said. “We grew up in a family that really pushed us to be active citizens and do our part to improve the world around us.”
When they realized that no major philanthropy award existed that specifically recognized individuals from the state of Maine, the Solar siblings set out to establish the award themselves. Students nominate their peers for the award each year, and a student selection committee considers the nominations and makes a final decision.
The Maine Philanthropy Award has a dual purpose. It is at once “a way to recognize some of our community’s unsung heroes, while also serving to inspire people to become more active and engaged citizens,” Solar said. “I think it is easy to get labeled at Colby and a lot of people undermine the depth of their peers, failing to recognize a lot of the great things people are doing.”
Bruss and Perkins are “great role models,” Solar said. “They have really worked to engage Colby students in the community and improve the presence and effectiveness of the CVC.”
Both Bruss and Perkins have also demonstrated their personal commitment to philanthropy in ways that extend beyond their jobs at CVC. Bruss, a psychology and English double major, has spent time mentoring Waterville kids through Colby Cares About Kids (CCAK), acting as a program leader in an after-school team-building project, volunteering at two different pre-schools and running a girls’ group for the nonprofit organization Hardy Girls Healthy Women downtown. Perkins’ extensive volunteer experience includes serving meals at the MidMaine Homeless Shelter, helping medical staff at the Maine General Hospital and volunteering at local Barrels Community Market. He also spent time abroad in Malawi, Kenya and Uganda working towards completing his anthropology major with a focus on international development and human rights.
“There’s a lot to be said for learning through experience,” Perkins said. “At a time in our lives when we’re hitting the books hard, volunteering can ground us and gives us something tangible. It’s also just enjoyable. It keeps everything in perspective.”
“It’s weird to get recognized like this,” Bruss said. “I’m honored, but just really surprised. John and I meet so many amazing people doing what we do, and I just kind of wish they could all get the kind of recognition they deserve.”