Caitlin Boyer named "Volunteer of the Year"


Caitlin BoyerBy: Brett Seekford

Caitlin Boyer, a 2008 alumna of the Geographic Science program and an administrative assistant in the Department of Engineering, has spent a significant portion of her post-graduate life finding ways to serve in Harrisonburg. The Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance (HDR), which seeks to bolster excitement and investment in the downtown section of the city, has offered Boyer numerous outlets for service. In recognition of her work, HDR recently named her their 2016 “Volunteer of the Year” at the nonprofit’s annual Celebration & Reception on February 27th.

Through her involvement with HDR, Boyer has assisted in organizing several of the Valley Fourth events, which celebrates the Fourth of July holiday in Harrisonburg. Her responsibilities include coordinating with other volunteers and planning ahead for the day. She has volunteered at many of HDR’s other events as well, such as the Skeleton Festival and the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival.

Her passion for volunteerism began at a young age. “My parents instilled in me a sense of duty,” Boyer explained. “So I knew when I came to JMU that I didn’t want to stay in the campus bubble. I made myself familiar with downtown and later learned of ways to get involved in the community while working for JMU’s Office of Community Service-Learning while a student.”

After graduating, she participated in the Harrisonburg Citizen Academy where she learned about broader swaths of the city and its government to ensure her volunteer work was making the greatest impact. Soon thereafter, she began working as an administrative assistant at her alma mater during the day and continued volunteering in various capacities after hours.

While her involvement with HDR led to her being named the organization’s “2016 Volunteer of the Year,” Boyer also volunteers weekly at The Patchwork Pantry, which provides food for local families in need,and  she fosters dogs and cats through the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA. She sees her volunteerism as essential to fostering her vision of an ideal community.

“I stayed at JMU because I fell in love with the sense of community, which encourages employees to get involved in areas outside of their normal work. As such, I just volunteer for the sake of volunteering,” she said. “I never expected to be recognized in this way. It’s such an honor.”

HDR, in announcing its selection of Boyer, stated in a press release: “Caitlin has been volunteering longer than many of the volunteers and longer than current HDR staff have been with the organization. Volunteers with her energy, enthusiasm, and commitment are what make events in downtown possible.”

The award signifies the important work many graduates pursue as a result of their time in college. Boyer, in both her educational and professional backgrounds, has never failed to realize JMU’s mission for its students to engage in meaningful change in their communities.

Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018

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