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Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Staff Community Service Award! See below for how you can nominate someone today!

The John Carroll University Staff Community Service Award is to recognize individuals for outstanding service to the greater Cleveland community in representing a “faith that does justice.”

Nominees should be John Carroll employees who have made a consistently positive impact on the community through voluntary service and have a demonstrated commitment to the community, to social justice, and to the values of Jesuit education. The nominee must be a current, full-time employee who has been with the University for at least 2 years. Members of the faculty are not eligible for this award; a separate award, the Curtis W. Miles Faculty Award for Community Service is available.

The award will be given annually to one staff member. Recipients will receive a $1,000 award stipend and acknowledgement on the CSSA website.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Staff Community Service Award! Please complete a nomination form by Monday, December 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

Recipient of the Staff Community Service Award:

2019 | Kyle O'Dell, Student Engagement

Picture of Kyle O'Dell

Kyle serves as the Senior Director of Student Engagement where his colleagues describe him as an easygoing boundary spanner – he builds connections between leadership and service, between the academic and co-curricular, between faith and action. His is known as a problem solver. Kyle coordinates the Leadership Scholars Programs and runs the Orientation program for the University.  Off campus, Kyle can be found most Saturday mornings volunteering at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.  Whether it is labeling thousands of pounds of beef, or sorting other food items, he is on the floor of the warehouse willing to help with any task. He also uses his ‘hands-on’ leadership approach by guiding, assigning jobs to the returning volunteers, or by mentoring the new volunteers who are at the foodbank for the first time. Kyle stresses the importance of the service and fields questions from volunteers.  One of his strengths is making sure everyone feels welcome and that their help is truly needed and appreciated. In addition to volunteering at the Food Bank, Kyle regularly offers his time at his children’s schools as well as his parish, St. Joseph.  At St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, he serves on the board, raises funds for the school band, provides leadership workshops for the students, and facilitates the Freshman Day of Service.  In his spare time, he is very active in his parish, cantoring, volunteering, and leading a Cub Scout pack. We congratulate Kyle on being named the 2019 recipient of the John Carroll University Staff Community Service Award.


  • 2018 | Mike Roedner, Athletics
  • 2017 | Nancy Coyne, Athletics
  • 2016 | Peter Bernardo, Development
  • 2015 | James Burrows, Mail Center
  • 2014 | Cheri Slattery, Integrated Marketing & Communications
  • 2013 | Chris Wenzler, Sports Information
  • 2012 | Tom Reilley, Purchasing
  • 2011 | Louise Barmann, Sociology & Criminology
Sample Nomination Letter

** This is a sample letter only. Information in this letter is not guaranteed to be factual. **

John Carroll University
1 John Carroll Blvd.
University Heights, Ohio 44118

November 1, 2015

Dear Evaluation Committee:

It is with great pleasure to nominate Ms. Mary Nominee for consideration for the 2016 John Carroll University Staff Service Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about issues of hunger in our community.

The numbers are staggering. In 2014, the Cleveland Food Bank provided 32.9 million pounds of food to 618 hunger programs in six Northeast Ohio counties. Nearly 35% of recipients were children under eighteen years of age and 15% were the elderly. For many recipients, 79% of whom live below the poverty line, every month can bring with it challenging decisions about whether to pay the rent or seek needed medical care, to put gas in the car or healthy food on the table, to purchase warm gloves or school supplies for a child.

But what is also staggering is how the efforts of one person, one particular person, can truly make a difference in addressing this problem. Mary Nominee has volunteered at the Cleveland Food Bank since moving to the area in 2005, where she has just completed her 800th hour of volunteer service. At the Food Bank, Mary has provided support in multiple ways, from sorting and repacking donations and preparing hot meals to making deliveries, distributing literature, and even recruiting other volunteers to assist. In the spring of 2013, Mary headed the Volunteer Committee for Feeding America, a comprehensive nationwide study conducted every four years to analyze hunger in our communities. In this capacity, Mary managed the coordination and scheduling of volunteers at food pantries and soup kitchens across the area, who surveyed hundreds of clients and collected valuable information for the study.

In addition to this work, Mary has been deeply committed to and involved in the local foods initiative in the Cleveland area. She sits on the board of Local Food Cleveland and serves as advisor to the Central Community Cooperative Project, an effort to start a food cooperative in Cleveland’s Central community (where there is such a dearth of grocery stores that it is actually easier for residents to buy a Big Mac than an apple). At JCU, Mary has been an annual participant in the Center for Service and Social Action’s Jesuit Day of Service event, as well as being a regular presence in JCU’s own community garden, where she could often be seen spending her lunch hour in weeding, watering, and tending the garden.

Mary strives to utilize every available “pulpit” in her efforts to raise awareness about this issue. She has presented programs about hunger in Cleveland at her church and to various social groups and clubs. She has organized letter-writing campaigns on behalf of funding for food banks targeting state and federal government officials. She has walked in JCU’s Footprints for Fatima 5K and advertised and volunteered with JCU’s summer lunch program partnership with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. In addition, somehow, Mary also finds time to serve as an active member of her church and to tutor children in reading at the Intergenerational School in Cleveland.

Because of these efforts, Mary has earned not only the award for “2013 Volunteer of the Year” at the Cleveland Foodbank, but also the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom she serves, her church family, her neighborhood residents, and her peers here at JCU. As one of those peers whom Mary has inspired and motivated to service, I strongly urge you to award her the 2016 John Carroll University Staff Service Award.


Susan B. Recommender