Katie Fields honored as Outstanding Student Volunteer of 2018

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Katie Fields, the Education Committee Chair of the SDI Young Friends and former Starkloff intern was honored on September 20th by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network as the Outstanding Student of 2018 at their annual Standing Ovations Awards. She was joined by the staff of SDI at the awards ceremony, held at Coltrane Systems.

Katie began volunteering with SDI as a Marketing Intern with Starkloff Corporate Consulting, and she created an informative video series with SDI co-founder David Newburger on common questions when interviewing and hiring a person with a disability.  Katie spent at least 20-25 hours per week outlining the videos, writing the scripts, and captioning them after filming for accessibility.  As we began the SDI Young Friends in 2017, Katie was eager to join. Although Katie is the youngest member of Young Friends, she immediately took on a leadership position as the chair of the Education Committee, finding volunteer opportunities for young friends to connect with the many life-changing programs at SDI. This year, Katie stepped up once again and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for FestAbility: A Celebration of Disabilities, a festival celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Missouri History Museum that saw about 3000 in attendance. Katie took on the tasks of reaching out to potential volunteers, fielding questions, meeting with each of them face-to-face before the festival and coordinating with about 40 volunteers the day-of the event.  Many vendors commented on the effective organization of the volunteers, the help they provided during set-up, and their attentiveness in bringing waters to everyone outside.

While we can be – and should be – astonished by the volume of work Katie performs while still a full-time student and worker, we are equally impressed by her kindheartedness. Katie’s dedication to serving the disability community is deeply personal, after seeing the treatment of a close friend with a disability worsen in school as they got older. Katie realized what a difficult time her friend faced when looking for a job, and before she has even graduated, she has set out to make the hiring community more inclusive.

We are honored to have Katie as part of our volunteer core and are thrilled to see her earn recognition in the greater St. Louis nonprofit community.

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