Lo­cal stu­dent re­ceives Duke ser­vice award

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By APRIL DUDASH Duke Univer­sity Of­fice of Durham & Re­gional Af­fairs

DURHAM, NC — Af­ter both of John Bollinger’s grand­fa­thers passed away while he was in high school, one from thyroid cancer and the other from a pro­gres­sive neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­der, he de­cided to vol­un­teer in their mem­ory.

Since 2016, Bollinger has helped se­niors and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties through A Help­ing Hand, a Durham­based non­profit that helps in­di­vid­u­als main­tain their qual­ity of life and in­de­pen­dence. As part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, Bollinger spends time with clients and pro­vides trans­porta­tion to and from

ap­point­ments, makes meals, shops for gro­ceries, and cleans bath­rooms and washes dishes.

Bollinger, a Duke ju­nior dou­ble ma­jor­ing in bi­ol­ogy and global health with a mi­nor in chem­istry, is the re­cip­i­ent of the 2017 Lars Lyon Vol­un­teer Ser­vice Award, which high­lights the work of a Duke un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dent who has ex­hib­ited a strong ded­i­ca­tion to ser­vice. The un­der­grad­u­ate must be nom­i­nated by a fac­ulty or staff mem­ber, a fel­low stu­dent, or rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a Durham non­profit or pub­lic school.

“To be rec­og­nized for some­thing you like to do and be­cause you like to help peo­ple is just val­i­dat­ing and so amaz­ing,” Bollinger said. “(A Help­ing Hand) re­ally stuck out to me be­cause I was hon­estly look­ing to form some sort of re­la­tion­ship with an older adult be­cause I had lost both of my grand­fa­thers in the re­cent past. I wanted to re­build and re­cover from los­ing the both of them, es­pe­cially since they both wanted to see me get into col­lege and that both of them didn’t make it far enough to see me get into col­lege, let alone ac­cepted.”

The an­nual award is named af­ter Lars Lyon, a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent who came to Duke in 1985 and vol­un­teered with or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Cir­cle K In­ter­na­tional

and Ronald McDon­ald House as well as served as vice pres­i­dent of Play Units for the Se­verely Hand­i­capped (PUSH). Lyon died at 21 years old af­ter a bat­tle with cancer.

As part of the award, Bollinger re­ceives $12,000 to­ward the cost of his 2017-18 tuition. The fi­nan­cial aid is funded by Lars Lyon’s fam­ily and friends to con­tinue to pro­mote Lyon’s com­mit­ment to vol­un­teerism and com­mu­nity ser vice.

“Duke stu­dents are do­ing won­der­ful things in the com­mu­nity, and it feels good to rec­og­nize the work that stu­dents like John are do­ing,” said Domoniqúe Red­mond, as­sis­tant direc­tor of pro­grams for the Duke Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Cen­ter. Red­mond re­ceives and reads the Lars Lyon Vol­un­teer Ser­vice Award nom­i­na­tions ev­ery year. “Through the sup­port of the Lars Lyon Me­mo­rial En­dow­ment Fund, Duke is able to sup­port a stu­dent fi­nan­cially as he or she con­tin­ues to ma­tric­u­late through Duke.”

The most im­por­tant part of vol­un­teer­ing, Bollinger said, is to pro­vide com­pan­ion­ship, whether that means hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with clients about their fam­ily or life ex­pe­ri­ences or at­tend­ing so­cial out­ings with clients.

“One of the most dif­fi­cult things to do is to slow down and take a walk in an­other per­son’s shoes,” Bollinger shared about his ex­pe­ri­ences with A Help­ing Hand. “How­ever, (a client) looked at me one day and said, ‘My fam­ily

doesn’t visit me. You’re like my fam­ily now.’ … I know that I want noth­ing more than to de­vote my life to the health and gen­eral well­be­ing of other peo­ple.”

Af­ter he grad­u­ates from Duke in 2018, Bollinger plans to at­tend med­i­cal school.

Bollinger was nom­i­nated by St­effi Tornow, vol­un­teer and in­tern­ship co­or­di­na­tor for A Help­ing Hand. She said Bollinger be­gan at A Help­ing Hand as an un­paid ser­vice learn­ing in­tern in 2016 and con­tin­ued to vol­un­teer with the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Through the or­ga­ni­za­tion, he has worked with six Durham res­i­dents who are low-in­come, dis­abled, so­cially iso­lated and who lack trans­porta­tion.

“John is highly in­vested in the com­mu­nity and is mak­ing a pro­found dif­fer­ence in the lives of se­niors and adults with dis­abil­i­ties in Durham,” wrote Tornow in the nom­i­na­tion. “His abil­ity to build re­la­tion­ships and of­fer an un­par­al­leled level of ser­vice has im­proved many in­di­vid­u­als’ qual­ity of life.”

Bollinger and other Duke lead­er­ship and ser­vice award re­cip­i­ents were rec­og­nized at an “In the Spot­light” event on April 20 at the Duke Arts An­nex. The event is spon­sored by Duke Univer­sity Cen­ter Ac­tiv­i­ties and Events (UCAE).

Bollinger is a 2014 grad­u­ate of Kent Is­land High School. He is the son of John and Cindy Bollinger of Stevensville.

Reprinted with per­mis­sion from https://com­mu­nity.duke. edu.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

John Bollinger is the re­cip­i­ent of the 2017 Lars Lyon Vol­un­teer Ser­vice Award, which high­lights the work of a Duke un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dent who has ex­hib­ited a strong ded­i­ca­tion to ser­vice.

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