DAI and IntraHealth Employees Recognized for Their Community Service

October 14, 2019

DAI is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s David H. Gunning Award for Community Service. They are Joanne Symons, who works on the Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project in Sri Lanka, and Najalynn Caraway, an administrator with DAI affiliate IntraHealth International, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but pursuing her community service through a nonprofit in the Philippines.

Joanne and Najalynn will each receive $5,000 for donation to her chosen service organization.

Joanne volunteers with a nongovernmental organization called LEADS, which provides holistic support to children who are survivors of abuse, including sexual abuse. LEADS has more than 400 children in its care; the most severely affected are provided residential care at the organization’s respite therapeutic centers.

Gunning1-aba73a.JPGJoanne Symons (second from left) is pictured here with her LEADS colleagues.

Joanne first worked with LEADS to support relief efforts after the Koslanda landslides of 2014. As an organization specializing in assisting survivors of abuse, LEADS placed itself on site at the camps for displaced people in order to provide round-the-clock support for affected children. Joanne returned to LEADS as a volunteer in 2018, working in the Resource Mobilization Department to raise funds and support the organization.

Najalynn works for and serves on the board of Project Teresa, a nonprofit that provides Filipino families with the basic necessities, education, and resources they need to become more self-sufficient. Among its activities, the group provides relief aid, groceries, and packaged goods to impoverished communities; promotes wellness by distributing vitamins, medicine, first aid supplies, and personal hygiene kits; and advocates for a clean and healthy environment.

gunning 2.jpgNajalynn Caraway received a certificate from a school that benefitted from her work.

Najalynn has worked with Project Teresa since its founding in 2017, planning and organizing projects, coordinating with relevant agencies, and delivering supplies to marginalized people. She gave “100 percent of her effort and time and her love and compassion for people is real,” said group founder Teresa Ballesteros in an email to the Gunning Award committee. “Without her, we would not be able to accomplish many of our goals because our projects are funded by her personally.”

The Gunning Award was created in 2013 to honor retiring DAI Board Director David Gunning, who sat on DAI’s Board from its inception in 1970 and served as a steady advocate of the company’s social mission. This year, the award attracted 13 applications from 10 countries—Afghanistan, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the United States—bringing the total number of applications since the awards were inaugurated to 113, from 34 countries.

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