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OWU Student Receives National Humanitarian Award

June 14, 2001

DELAWARE, OHIO -- "I started the Latino Outreach program because I saw families in need of help. It seemed like they needed someone to reach out to them, to listen, and to help them overcome some of the barriers that many people don't even see." These are the words of OWU sophomore Jose Daniel Estrada, one of six recipients of the 2001 Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award for a community outreach program that provides English language tutoring -- and friendship -- for Hispanics living in the Delaware area.

The Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award was initiated in 1987 by Campus Compact coalition which consists of more than 675 colleges and universities committed to community service and to developing students' citizenship skills and values. The award recognizes six students each year for their outstanding public service, and provides the recipients with awards of $1,500 to support service programs of their design.

Daniel's idea came to life when he received a call from OWU Director of Community Service Learning, Sue Pasters, about a tutoring need of Spanish speaking children at a nearby elementary school. Soon Daniel started tutoring the children, their parents, whom he came to know, and began recruiting 10 native Spanish speaking OWU students to have regular sessions with 12-14 adults and their children.

Daniel furthered his involvement by personally calling employers to set up interviews when he could be there to translate; sought legal aid services with Spanish speaking lawyers; and made contacts with the Adult Basic Literacy Education program in Delaware for GED classes.

"What a great honor this award is for Daniel," says Pasters. "While he richly deserves the accolades, it was never his motivation. He was motivated solely to reach out to the Latino community. He did it because he cared."

The other five winners come from Harvard University, New York University, California State University-Sacramento, Oberlin College, and Community College of Philadelphia. The award winners will be presented at the Points of Light Foundation's National Conference on Community Volunteering and National Service in Minneapolis on June 29.

"It was my great pleasure both to nominate Daniel for this award, and to hear that he was selected as a recipient, " says OWU President Tom Courtice. "Serving as a role model for others, Daniel has built a bridge between the campus and the Hispanic community, proving that one person can make a significant difference within a community."