Volunteer Awards

United Way of Central Indiana honored five volunteers for their contributions to nonprofits in Central Indiana over the past year. Award recipients were honored in the following categories – Diversity Advocate, Basic Needs, Education, Financial Stability and Health.
Honorees include: Shermika Duerson for Diversity Advocate Award, James Ward for Basic Needs, Lindsay Hill Stawick for Education, Harold Dungan for Financial Stability and Shirley Ward for Health. Learn more about our award recipients below.

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LIVE UNITED Diversity Advocate Award
Shermika Duerson has been a volunteer with United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) for four years. Shermika serves as the Committee Chair for the Diversity Leadership Circle Steering Committee. In this role, she leads the steering committee volunteers in the development and execution of the affinity group’s goals to include giving, education and engagement in minority communities, particularly in relation to its signature cause of financial stability. The Diversity Leadership Circle includes people of many genders, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations and strives to be a model of diversity and inclusion by reflecting the many faces, cultures and walks of life that make up the communities UWCI serves. Her nominator wrote, “Shermika has great ideas and is tireless in her efforts to advocate and tell her story and the United Way of Central Indiana story. She also serves on the board of UWCI and is active in that capacity as well. I am proud and honored to work with her.”

LIVE UNITED Basic Needs Volunteer Award
James Ward has been a volunteer with Aspire Indiana for 28 years, since it was known as the Center for Mental Health. James began his service with an appointment to the Board of Directors and has served in board and committee roles ever since. Under his leadership, Aspire's housing program has grown to over 300 housing units, the largest number of units provided by any community mental health center in the state. His nominator wrote, “Mr. Ward's leadership was influential in the growth of the organization throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. Thanks in part to his vision and leadership, the Board of Directors merged the Center for Mental Health and BehaviorCorp, Inc. in 2009 to form Aspire Indiana. Through this merger, Aspire's services have been expanded, and the organization is now serving over 12,000 individuals annually.”
Rich DeHaven accepted the Basic Needs Volunteer Award on behalf of James Ward

LIVE UNITED Education Volunteer Award
Lindsay Hill Stawick has been a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) for seven years. Lindsay became a Big Sister with BBBSCI in May 2009.  Her Little Sister, Coriana, was in the fifth grade at IPS 14 and wanted a Big Sister because she wanted a friend she could look up to.  The two easily met the requirement commitment of spending 4-6 hours per month together, and Lindsay was Coriana's biggest supporter. The two became close friends during their relationship of almost seven years.  Tragically, Coriana was murdered in October 2015 during what was her senior year in high school. Over the months that followed, Lindsay stayed in touch with the agency, visited Coriana's family, attended the funeral service, supported Coriana's family and advocated on Coriana’s behalf. Her nominator wrote, “Lindsay is a true inspiration and a great example of what it means to commit yourself to others and our community.  Lindsay spoke to a crowd of 400+ at our annual Celebrate Mentoring event and shared how Coriana changed her life, helping to spread a positive message throughout the community.”

LIVE UNITED Financial Stability Volunteer Award
Harold Dungan has been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Hancock County for four years and Hancock Senior Services for two years. Harold is an integral part of both organizations. In his capacity of delivering meals, Harold has gotten to know the clients on his route, and they look forward to seeing him. Because Harold delivers on a regular schedule, he can assess the client and will advise the staff if there is a concern that needs to be addressed. He handles repairs and upkeep projects for clients unable to keep up their homes without assistance and has participated in two intergenerational game nights bringing together teens and seniors. His nominator wrote, “Harold always participates with a smile on his face, demonstrates a clear willingness to help others, has a high level of energy and truly enjoys helping people. We consider him a cornerstone of our volunteers.”

LIVE UNITED Health Volunteer Award
Shirley Ward has been a volunteer with Heritage Place of Indianapolis for seven years. Shirley instructs the urban line dancing class at Heritage Place and prepares dances for her students to perform at Heritage Place fundraisers, including the spring fling and holiday celebration events. She has also helped with a variety of tasks including assisting with mailings in the main office, volunteering for fundraising events like the annual walk-a-thon and leading line dancing at local fairs and events. Her nominator wrote, “When Ms. Ward began teaching, she had 10 students in her class. She now has 36 students on her roster. The success of her class is a reflection of how great she is as an instructor. She makes her class senior friendly and has fun while teaching. She makes her students feel good about themselves.”
Ruth Ann Hankins accepted the Health Volunteer Award on behalf of Shirley Ward