Charlie DeBenedetto ’16 was recently awarded the “Drum Major for Service” Award for his commitment to service. DeBenedetto has been involved in a number of initiatives in support of literacy, including America Reads and Geneva Reads Book Fest. This award is bestowed on students who have a dedication and commitment to service, and was presented to DeBenedetto during the MLK Jr. Day of Service.
“There is a sense of community involved in volunteer work that I don’t find in any other aspect of my life,” says DeBenedetto. “Throughout my time at America Reads, I see the slow progress of my students, see them breeze through words that they couldn’t even begin to pronounce when we first started working together, and know that I am making a positive impact on this small child’s life.”
DeBenedetto has tutored with America Reads for four consecutive semesters, earning the Tutor of the Month Award, and has participated in two Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates Spelling Bee fundraisers. He also has taken part in Days of Service and the Geneva Reads Book Fest.
Jeremy Wattles, assistant director for the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, says, “He is incredibly responsible, enthusiastic, and dedicated to the Geneva community. For all these reasons we were glad to award him the President’s Volunteer Service Award, given by the Corporation for National and Community Service, as part of the MLK Drum Majors for Service program.”
The words Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in his “Drum Major Instinct” speech were the inspiration for this national service award, which recognizes leaders who give their time serving others but seldom seek the spotlight.
DeBenedetto explains that he felt “extremely humbled to receive the award.”
“There are hundreds of people on this campus that participate in community service, be it America Reads, Days of Service, Service Learning courses, or something else,” he says. “But out of all those people, it was decided that I ought to have the award, and that makes me feel very special, and energized to do more good work in the community.”
DeBenedetto is a double major in international relations and Asian studies with a music minor. On campus, he is a residential assistant, a clarinetist in the woodwind ensemble and a classical guitarist in the classical guitar ensemble. DeBenedetto plans to study abroad in Taiwan for the fall 2014 semester and is anxious to further his education there after two years of formally studying the language.