School honors the late Debra Spencer, student advocate and volunteer with first annual student volunteer awards — and uncovers a wealth of student-lead activism
SCRANTON, PA (November 28, 2017) — Penn Foster, a leading career-focused education provider for today’s evolving workforce, will honor student volunteerism with its first-annual Debra Spencer Student Volunteer Award. Award winner Jodi Homaune, and honorable mentions Jessica Geraldo and Casey Clevenger will be recognized during Penn Foster’s “Learning to Give” Webinar, to be held tonight at 8:00 pm EST as part of its school-wide #GivingTuesday initiative.
Penn Foster launched the Debra Spencer Student Volunteer Award this year in recognition of the former Penn Foster graduate, ambassador and student advocate who passed away from brain cancer this past summer. Spencer dedicated much of her time to volunteer activities at Penn Foster, lending her personal student story to support and celebrate other students. Additionally, Spencer used her computer skills to provide repair services free of charge to those who could not afford it. Her passion for giving and volunteering spirit left an indelible mark on Penn Foster employees and students.
“We could not be more proud of the three recipients of this inaugural award that honors one of our beloved students, and also encourages our current students to make a difference in their communities,” said Dara Warn, Chief Outcomes Officer, Penn Foster. “We have long believed that the key to happiness in life is to know you are contributing through your work and your volunteerism.”
Award submissions came in over a week-long entry period in which 29 students from across the country detailed their community involvement and charitable impact. Students reported thousands of hours served to animal shelters, youth organizations, sex trafficking victim support, STEM Education, emergency relief and environmental resource assistance.
Jodi Homaune, the 2017 Debra Spencer Student Volunteer Award winner, was chosen for her personal fight to regain custody of her daughter after her then-husband absconded her daughter to Iran, leading Homaune to work tirelessly with the FBI to regain custody and ultimately to found The MotherDoughter Fund (The MD Fund). Homaune has given over 10,000 hours of volunteer efforts to the research, recovery, and reunification of missing loved ones. She has successfully helped reunite more than 60 families through her efforts.
Homaune is a mother, victim’s advocate, author, and founder. Her story has been featured in both the Washington Post and Newsweek. She is the author of a book entitled Perfidious, detailing her partnership with the FBI and personal mission to get her daughter back. In addition to aiding her own foundation, Homaune finds the time to volunteer with the National Center for Missing Exploited Children in the Team Hope division. She has completed her Private Investigation Course with Penn Foster and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with Penn Foster to become a stronger victim advocate.
Also recognized during the webinar will be two honorable mentions, Jessica Geraldo and Casey Clevenger. Geraldo, a student in the Penn Foster Veterinary Technician program, has been volunteering with the MSPCA for over four years and the Rabbit Network Medical Team for over six. She credits her volunteer work for helping to build her skills and passion as a veterinary technician. Clevenger, also a Veterinary Technician program student, co-founded her town’s first animal rescue, Second Chance Mason Animal Rescue in 2012, and has been integral to the growth of the organization and an advocate for the humane treatment of animals and stray animal control. Her organization not only focuses on providing some no-cost treatments, but also on teaching the community through after school elementary programs.
About Penn Foster
Students, employers and partner organizations rely on Penn Foster to build the skills and knowledge to power the 21st century workforce. For over 125 years, Penn Foster has been dedicated to helping people lead more meaningful and productive lives and to improving social outcomes through education. Penn Foster provides career pathways for opportunity youth and adult learners through diverse and affordable online diploma, certificate and degree programs, offered via its high school, career school and college. With more than 44,000 graduates each year, Penn Foster’s online and blended learning programs are delivered in a self-paced, competency-based model wrapped by comprehensive academic, professional and personal support and coaching. For more information, visit https://www.pennfoster.edu or https://partners.pennfoster.edu/.
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