The President’s Volunteer Service award is the recognition given to Volunteers who have surpassed expectations of traditional society and contributed over 100+ hours of service to the community during a year. Roger Sam Kurian, unbeknownst to him, qualified for the Bronze Presidents Volunteer Service Award and received recognition for his contributions to the Houston Food Bank in 2021. We sat down with Roger Kurian to learn more about his experience volunteering with the Houston Food Bank.
The Presidents Service Award was created in 2003 by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. This award allows regular American Citizens to be recognized for their positive impact on their surrounding communities in the hopes that it will inspire further people to volunteer their time. The program is run by Americorps, Points of Light, and individual charitable organizations that award the certificate to outstanding volunteers.
Roger Kurian began his volunteering journey a few years ago when he hoped to contribute more of his time to the community. “Over the past few years, there has been an urgent need in me to do something for society. I wanted to do whatever I could to contribute. So I applied to the Houston Food Bank, which accepted my application and started providing my services to them.” says Roger Kurian.
When looking back at his time with the Houston Food Bank, what stood out to Roger Kurian, was the experience he had on his first day. Roger Kurian says, “I noticed an older lady on the lines, packing food in boxes with me, and she was so enthusiastic and happy about her contributions to society. She started to tell me about the sense of thankfulness that she had for an organization like the Houston Food Bank, where she could come and volunteer.”
This moment helped Roger Kurian change his perspective on volunteering and gave him the drive and enthusiasm to focus on other people’s needs. Through this interaction, Roger Kurian decided to increase his time at the Houston Food Bank, with the space beginning to feel like a second home.
“Because it was my first day, it just gave me a whole new appreciation towards a person like this who was willing to give her time and energy to a cause like this. So, because of her enthusiasm, and how fast-paced she was, she gave me the drive and enthusiasm to be doing the work for the community,” says Roger Kurian.
Roger Kurian accumulated many hours by volunteering with the Houston Food Bank, qualifying for the Bronze Presidents Service Award. Roger Kurian would spend his time considering volunteering as a getaway. A place for him to be able to contribute to the society he loves.
Roger Kurian says, “I ended up going to the Houston Food Bank more and taking multiple shifts. I always wanted to go there because I enjoyed going there. And I didn’t even know that there was any sort of award that people who had worked an X number of hours would receive. So it’s something that I did purely because I started enjoying it.”
The beauty of volunteering is that it does not end with an award but becomes a part of your life. Roger Kurian continues to support his community in various ways, from making donations, volunteering his IT and consulting services, and even working towards becoming a Pastor in his local Church.
“I think volunteering was kind of like therapy for me. It gave me peace, made me more considerate, and was instrumental in molding me into the person I am today,” says Roger Kurian.