Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin Holds Award Ceremony that Celebrates Local Youth Volunteers

Published Friday, April 22, 2016
by Julia Drobeck

The Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin presented Youth Alliance Awards during the 23rd Annual Youth Alliance Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 21 at Liberty Hall with Bill Jartz as Master of Ceremonies.  The Fox Cities Youth Alliance Awards seek to recognize the spirit of volunteerism as found in the future leaders of our community and to encourage young people and adults to take hold of that same spirit in their own lives. 

26 individuals and 6 groups of youth volunteers received recognition for their ability to make a difference in our community.

Each nominee was recognized and given a certificate for their service. One overall individual winner and overall group were chosen to receive the Fox Cities Youth Alliance Award.

The individual winner is Katrina Mazier of Appleton. Katrina has bravely taken her own story of being a suicide survivor to create awareness of the problem of teen suicide.  Through presentations to schools, church groups as well as at community events held by Catalpa Health and Center for Suicide Awareness, she has helped to bring to light information to help prevent suicide.  Katrina has been a key note speaker at a number of events held by both Catalpa Health and the Center for Suicide Awareness. She has also developed a Facebook page, Teens of Tomorrow - Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness which she regularly updates with information and inspiration. She coordinated an awareness day at her high school and middle school and raised $500 to donate to Catalpa Health.  She also had an awareness blanket tying event to celebrate her one year anniversary of survivorship by having friends join her in crafting and donating 17 blankets which were donated to the Adolescent Mental Health floor at St. Elizabeth Hospital, one blanket for each bed on the floor. 

All 2016 individual nominees:

Eric Anderson

Meghan Baumler

Jessica Bittner

Lizzie Blahnik

Morgan Daley

Adam Drees

Rachel Esker

Elizabeth Galoff

Randall Griesbach

Christopher Hansen

Elise Mae Henke

Claire Hitter

Mitchell Johnson

Robert Kersten

Thomas Kiesnowski II

Jillian Kohl

Michael Konz

Jack Loken

Katrina Mazier

Kathryn Pennings

Jenna Quinn

Alexsia Saldaris

Sidney Smestad

Danielle Theisen

Alexandra Williamson

Samuel Woo

The group winner is the PEER Helpers from McKinley Elementary School in Appleton. Abby, Guss, Josie and Will are volunteers that attend McKinley Elementary School.  The students volunteer for the Peer Helpers Program, along with Peer Mentors.  The students have been or are currently also involved in Student Council, Art Club, the school play, Fuel up to Play 60, etc. The students nominated donate two recesses a week to assist with kindergarten students during their physical education time. These four volunteers work at stations and help the students with their coordination, fine motor skills as well as being positive role models. They not only shine as Peer Helpers they are also involved in the Peer Mentor program at McKinley. As a mentor they are paired with a younger student with whom they have lunch and recess together twice a month.

All 2016 group nominees:

Appleton East Key Club

Appleton East PEERS

Jesus-n-Company (Good Shepard Catholic Church-Chilton)

KHS Civic Engagement (Kaukauna High School)

PEER Helpers (McKinley Elementary School-Appleton)

Senior Members of Chazoo Warriors (Holy Spirit Parish-Kimberly)

This year the Volunteer Center recognized one of the groups for above and behind service.  Change your Community – Sharing Your HEART Award to Kaukauna High School (KHS) Engagement Class.

While reading the nominations it was clear that KHS Civic Engagement class has had students working on several projects for the past four years.  “This is the second time since the awards have started that we felt we needed to present a special award that fits closely to the Volunteer Center’s mission”, said Julia Drobeck, executive director, of the Center.   

The classes devote time each semester to the Ring of Honor.  Members of a former Civic Promotions Class felt the Veteran’s Memorial Park wasn’t what it should be, so they started a plan of attack to improve the park.  Upon graduation, the dream of these students became the dream of the next years’ classes, and they chipped away at the design and fundraising every year.   This project honors veterans in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.  Throughout the four plus years, the classes have raised more than $77,000 for the project, with additional monies put into an account for other expenses associated with the park.  To date, there are more than 900 bricks that have been purchased and placed to honor loved ones who have served in the military. 

The class envisioned a monument symbolizing the strength of Kaukauna and the founding roots of the community.  They raised funds to commission a scrap metal artist from Thailand to create the Lion of the Fox (a life-size lion sculpture).  The City’s heritage of industry is also reflected in the piece that includes metal and machinery pieces.  The class raised the money (more than $6,000) to purchase and ship the sculpture.  After three years of planning, the piece was unveiled at the March 1, 2016, Council meeting.  The statue will be placed in Hydro Park along the hydroelectric power canal.  A plaque will be placed by the piece explaining its significant.  

The class raised and donated $17,000 for the Kaukauna Police Department K-9 Unit, has raised money for the Snow Drop Foundation and adopted several families in need during the holiday season. 

The students of the Civic Engagement class have supported families, helped to improve schools, support youth and beautify their community.   These students have made and continue to make a difference in our schools and our community!  

The Youth Alliance Awards are presented by The Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin and sponsored by Capital Credit Union, Cellcom, and The BOLDT Company.


The Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin provides connections to volunteer opportunities throughout the Fox Valley Region. 2016 marks the 20th year for the Volunteer Center.  Please visit www.VolunteerCenter.net for more information. If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Julia Drobeck, please call the Volunteer Center of East Central WI at 920-832-9360 or e-mail jdrobeck@volunteercenter.net


To reach individual winners and their nominators contact information is:


Katrina Mazier   Parents names are Karen and Christine Mazier Phone number 920-858-8544

Katrina’s nominator is Kelly Wilda from Xavier High School and can be reached at 920-882-6909


McKinley Elementary Peer Helpers nominated by Lisa Armstrong can be reached at 920-832-6285


Kaukauna High School Civic Engagement Class nominated by Mayor Gene Rosin can be reached at 920-766-6310.

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