Today, the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services released a statement announcing Governor Andy Beshear’s recognition of 28 Governor’s Service Awards. According to the release, Gov. Andy Beshear and Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Eric Friedlander recognized volunteerism and service contributions across the commonwealth at the 26th Annual Governor’s Service Awards. This year’s award ceremony – consisting of 15 individual awards and 13 group awards – was broadcast on Serve Kentucky’s Facebook page at facebook.com/ServeKY at 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, November 10. Three Sacred Heart Academy students received service awards in the ceremony and the school provided a space where the awardees, their parents, and nominators could view the virtual ceremony together.
One of four Youth Volunteer Service Awards was presented to Sacred Heart Academy senior Tara Singh. Tara was nominated by Ms. Lauren Hitron, Director of the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute at Sacred Heart Schools.
Tara is the president and chief volunteer of The Bluegrass Literacy Project, which aims to promote and improve English language literacy in Kentucky through free etymology workshops and spelling bees in 29 counties. Since 2017, the organization has raised $12,000 to support local literacy projects and served approximately 10,000 students through classroom and school spelling bees. Tara also raised more than $4,000 for “Grace’s Reading Room” – a mobile literacy initiative to make reading materials accessible to children in Louisville’s underserved areas. In addition, Tara motivated others to donate books to refugee children in the “Stop Summer Slide.”
One of the 28 awards was dedicated as a Pandemic Response Service Award and was presented to Sacred Heart Academy students junior Jacqueline Teague and her cousin, sophomore Amelie Beck. Ms. Jane Cruthirds, Service Coordinator at Sacred Heart Academy, nominated the duo.
After helping their grandparents navigate online COVID-19 vaccination registration, Sacred Heart Academy students Jacqueline Teague and Amelie Beck quickly realized many seniors would need assistance with the process. To address this need, the girls founded VaxConnect Ky in January 2021 with a mission to ensure every senior citizen in the commonwealth had a simple way to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination. As of May 2021, Jacqueline and Amelie had personally assisted more than 1,500 people in scheduling vaccine appointments.
Governor Beshear said, “Today, we celebrate the resilient and selfless contributions of volunteers across the state. These individuals and organizations are living out their values and faith by helping others with no expectation of anything in return,” said Gov. Beshear. “Congratulations to the award recipients, and thank you to all volunteers for letting your light shine throughout our commonwealth. You are such an important part of Team Kentucky.”
Serve Kentucky, an agency within CHFS, coordinates the annual awards. The Governor’s Office launched the program in 1975; however, Serve Kentucky has managed the awards program since 1995.