Tiffany Hursh recognized as 2019 Youth Governor’s Volunteer Star for Blount County

Tiffany Hursh recognized as 2019 Youth Governor’s Volunteer Star for Blount County

Feb. 22, 2019 

Maryville College senior Tiffany Hursh ’19 has been named the 2019 Youth Governor's Volunteer Star for Blount County for her outstanding service with The Gate: Gateway to Independence.

Hursh, a psychology major from Maryville, Tenn., was recognized during the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards in Franklin, Tenn., on Feb. 10. She also has been invited to attend the 4th Annual East Tennessee Volunteer Recognition Awards, a regional event honoring volunteers and their contributions to our communities, on April 6 in Knoxville.

The Governor's Volunteer Stars Awards (GVSA) is an initiative from Volunteer Tennessee that seeks to recognize outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee's 95 counties.  With the program now in its 11th year, participating counties conduct a call for nominations and recognize one outstanding youth and one outstanding adult volunteer.

Hursh is a Bonner Scholar at Maryville College who has committed 10 hours per week to community service throughout her four years at the College. When she came to Maryville College, Hursh had already been volunteering at The Gate, a day center in Maryville that provides Blount County adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity for “socialization and independence without bias,” and she has continued to serve there during her time at MC.

 “Her passion to befriend and serve young adults with disabilities started in her relationship with her brother, who has autism,” wrote the Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, MC campus minister, in her nomination letter for Hursh. “That relationship has forged in Tiffany a heart full of compassion, a deep desire to build relationships across lines of difference and an eager spirit to serve where she is needed. She has built friendships, has been a steady presence at The Gate through a leadership change and simply has lit the place up with her ready smile and her willingness to be useful. She helps with special events, in addition to simply spending time with Gate participants in their daily routines, as a young adult to whom they can easily relate.”

After graduating from Maryville College in May, Hursh plans to attend graduate school in occupational therapy, where she hopes to gain greater skills and credentials to continue serving people with special needs.

“In all my years of supervising students, I have rarely seen such quiet, steady dedication – often unnoticed because she doesn't call attention to herself – but a commitment worth following, and one worth of being recognized and emulated by others,” McKee said.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.