LIVINGSTON, NJ — In addition to honoring longtime volunteer Joel Lightner with the prestigious Lifetime Award, which requires more than 4000 hours of community service, Livingston Youth and Community Services (LYCS) also celebrated a handful of local volunteers with the President's Volunteer Service Award, an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

According to LYCS, a certifying organization to honor those who go above and beyond for their community, the mission is to inspire more people to answer the call to service so that “together we can make a positive impact on our communities and our world.” Recipients of the award, administered by Points of Light, received a gold medal and certificate signed by the President of the United States presented at the Livingston Township Council meeting on June 12.

“I feel it is important to recognize those who give their time freely to help their community prosper,” said Susan Ridley, Program Supervisor of Community Services for the Township of Livingston. “It is vital that we come together to support each other in the many challenges we face in this age of technology, global warming, and substance abuse and the epidemic of drug overdose deaths.”

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Ridley thanked the mayor and council for their support in recognizing those who take time out of their busy schedules to help their community.

The Group Award, which requires at least 1,000 hours of community service, went to the Livingston Citizens Institute, which Ridley said has achieved more than 1000 hours over the six years of municipal volunteerism.

Twenty-five past and recent board members were presented with Volunteer Presidential Awards during the meeting in recognition of their service to the community and the institute’s six years of educational programs and citizen engagement initiatives. Ridley said past and present board members of the Livingston Citizens Institute are dedicated to building a strong community through education, citizen engagement and civic dialogue.

The following board members received Presidential Volunteer Awards: Christopher Bickel, Liliana Branquinho, Peter Bye, Nancy Dinar, Heidi Cislo, Michael Dollinger, Helen Flores, Lori Goodian, Walter Joyce, Karen Hunter, Amy Hyfler, Steve Kroll, Andrea Noel-Jeune, Arlene Johnson, Alan Karpas, Barbara Levadi, Chunyan Li, Michele Meade, Sangeetha Nayak, Komal Panjabi, Susan Ridley, Donean Rocheville, George Shen, Todd Sherman and Cindy Wang.

The Family Award was presented to Scott, Zanna, Macen and Zane Lantzman for a combined 1,000+ hours of volunteerism between family members.  According to Ridley, the family actively participates in community organizations and school programs (LYCS Leaders, Friendship Circle, Temple Beth Shalom, Boy/Cub Scouts, American Camp Association, Livingston Soccer Club, Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee, Juvenile Conference Committee, and more).

The Teen Award, which requires a minimum of 250 hours of volunteerism, was awarded to Jack Toby for his work with Shining Stars after-school programs for children with special needs. Toby began the Shining Stars school club at Livingston High School, which Ridley said has tripled the number of volunteers for the adaptive recreation programs offered by the township.

He has also donated many hours on Saturday mornings, helping to “shadow” children with special needs so that they can participate in sports programs and during township summer camp. Toby also volunteered for the Soccer Circle, which involved the Friendship Circle and Livingston Soccer Club.

LYCS, a community-based educational program that provides leadership, healthy life choices and life skills to students in Grades 1 through 12, also provides community services opportunities, family socials, expressive arts projects and co-sponsors community programs.

Registration is through the Township of Livingston: Senior, Youth and Leisure Services (SYLS) department (204 Hillside Ave) or online through CommunityPass. For more information about LYCS Leaders after-school programs, schedules and events, click HERE, email, or call 973-535-7925 x 703.

LYCS is a program of the Township of Livingston: Senior, Youth and Leisure Services, and is funded in part by the Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee (LMAC) with grant funds from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA).