Department of Physical Therapy Education Assistant Professor Dr. Janet Konecne is no stranger to being a volunteer, but in 2012, her efforts are finally being recognized.
Konecne was one of five women recognized on Thursday, April 26, 2012 with the Annie Anaheim Accolade Award, which honors volunteers for exceptional service to the city of Anaheim in the areas of civic improvement, culture, education and philanthropy.
The Women’s Division of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce has given out the award for the past 46 years.
On March 11, 2012, Konecne was honored with a gold level Presidential Volunteer Service Award for logging more than 1,000 volunteer hours in a one-year period, more than doubling the 500-hour requirement for the award.
Konecne, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, of the College of Allied Health Professions, signed up for the award through the Girl Scouts because they are a certifying agency. She’s also a leader of her 8-year-old daughter Caitlyn’s Girl Scout Troop 691- Service Unit 2, in Orange County.
The award coincided with commemorating the Girl Scouts’ 100th Birthday at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., where more than 160 people were also awarded the gold level for their volunteer efforts.
Konecne says she’s always volunteered because it’s a way to stay involved and connected to her community.
“”By volunteering, you gain more than you give,”” she said. “”I can be exposed to things I would otherwise not be exposed to and still benefit from that in a non-monetary way. I don’t have a lot of financial equity I can contribute, but I can do sweat equity.””
Most of Konecne’s hours were involved with the Girl Scouts, but she volunteers for many other programs, one of which she initiated.
Here are just a few highlighted programs:
– Hope Reads, through the Altrusa International, Inc., District Eleven, of Anaheim. Konecne came up with an idea that Altrusa has adopted. They collect used books and distribute them through a mobile library cart at Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of California, Irvine.
– Knitted blankets for Project Linus. The blankets are given to needy and sick children, and also are sent to military families.
– Knits and crochets for Stitches from the Heart, which provides angel blankets for NICU patients.
According to its website, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities, and to encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President’s Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
To date, the President’s Council has partnered with more than 80 Leadership Organizations and more than 28,000 Certifying Organizations to bestow more than 2.2 million awards to the nation’s deserving volunteers.