Texanthropy Spotlight: Marissa Vogel, 2018 Governor’s Volunteer Award Winner

November 8, 2018

This week’s Texanthropy Spotlight features the Individual Community Leadership Award Winner – Marissa Vogel. This award recognizes an individual for strengthening their community through intentional partnerships and by forging collaborative solutions to meet local needs, a much-deserved award for the founder of such a groundbreaking organization here in Central Texas: Generation SERVE (formerly Little Helping Hands).

In 2009, when her children were just 4 and 6 years old, Marissa Vogel searched for opportunities to get them involved in service. She knew it was important to their character education to develop a sense of responsibility for others. She also understood that kids learn best through action, and only by getting involved first hand in community service would they truly understand the impact they could have on others.

Unable to find opportunities that engaged children in meaningful service, Marissa started an organization called Little Helping Hands. Most nonprofits would not allow children under the age of 16 to volunteer, however, Marissa convinced local organizations, one by one, that families with children could accomplish much. She started scoping projects and overseeing family-friendly volunteer activities that consistently got the work done for nonprofit partners, and the conversation changed in time to a recognition of the impact of family engagement.

Because of her tenacity and leadership, Little Helping Hands has since evolved into Generation SERVE, a nonprofit that engages youth of all ages in service. In the last nine years, because of Marissa’s vision and leadership, Generation SERVE has engaged over 34,400 youth and their families in volunteering, contributing 78,500 volunteer hours to over 100 nonprofit organizations in the Central Texas area. 

What someone once described as “an unsustainable model” has become instead a model of civic engagement that will have an ongoing positive impact on the Austin community. Generation SERVE’s young volunteers will no doubt take their work ethic and leadership skills with them wherever they go, planting the seeds of service in schools and communities across this great land, all thanks to Marissa’s passion for volunteerism and unique ability to inspire others. 

And, if learning about Marissa inspires you and your family to become more involved in volunteerism and service, check out Generation SERVE’s 2nd annual Austin Families Give Back event on Saturday, November 17, 2018. In celebration of Family Volunteer Day, families are invited to attend this free, city-wide day of service to introduce children and families to volunteerism! Click here to learn more and register for the event.