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Florida Today Honors Brevard Volunteers at College Event

November 12, 2015 - They work tirelessly for others, shun the limelight and truly are their brothers’ keepers.

Brevard County residents who live that moral code were honored Thursday during the 24th Annual Florida Today Volunteer Recognition Awards at Eastern Florida State College.

Several hundred community leaders gathered for the event at the Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Cocoa campus.

Here are the winners with a summary of their achievements provided by Florida Today:

Organization of the Year: Daily Bread, Inc.

Open every day of the year, Daily Bread provides a hot, five-course meal to 250 men, women and children. Since the organization’s inception in 1987, it has provided more than 1.8 million meals to thousands of individuals.

Of the 850,000 pounds of food Daily Bread receives annually, only 20 percent is used in its own kitchen. The remaining 80 percent is donated to partnering agencies for redistribution to families in need of groceries.

Daily Bread is more than a food kitchen, helping its clients become self-sufficient while maintaining dignity. Its thrift shop not only helps fund the organization but also clothes those who shower at its Service and Outreach Center. Clients can also receive hygiene items and services to help them out of poverty, such as a mail stop, career training, literacy education, health and personal grooming services, and more.

On average, 500 volunteers serve the organization at least once per month in addition to the staff of 12 people.

This dedicated army of servants is not only serving meals and giving haircuts; they are improving the quality of life, self-esteem and dignity of this vulnerable population of our community, helping these individuals on their path to housing, recovery and wellness.

Business of the Year: Bright House Networks

Networks doesn’t just mean land lines and cable connections; in the case of Bright House Networks, it also means bringing the community’s people and causes together.

In perhaps its largest commitment to Brevard’s charitable causes, Bright House provides in-kind donations of public service announcements to help support events and organizations around the county.

From free production to free air time, these donated television spots help give exposure of the various fundraisers local non-profits put on, driving awareness of the causes and boosting donations.

Not just giving in-kind, the company also frequently gives time and treasure when it’s needed most.

Bright House offers its employees paid time to volunteer in the community through its Community Service Day Program, which has enabled the company’s 450 Brevard employees to give over 600 volunteer hours this past year alone.

Supporting our county’s youth through programs such as Cable in the Classroom, the Classroom Innovators Grant, and Take a Vet to School pairs with the company’s involvement in after school organizations like Club Esteem and the DOCK, thus helping lay the groundwork for success in our community’s future generations.

Volunteer of the Year: Jim Clamons

When an organization or cause needs action now, they call Jim Clamons. His consistent, focused and motivated effort to support and rally others around causes is truly inspiring to watch.

This dedicated volunteer knows time management like no other as he commits tireless hours to enriching the quality of education in our community’s youth.

Through the Brevard Schools Foundation, Central Florida STEM Education Council, advisory councils for Florida Tech and Florida State University, Harris K-12 Outreach Program and more, Jim motivates young people to build fulfilling careers by helping seek a community that provides strong educational opportunities for all its children.

Jim’s advocacy and action transcend the educational sector. For example, upon learning how in-demand paper goods such as toilet paper are at local food pantries, Jim created the Toilet Paper Challenge at his company to call attention to the critical importance of basic needs services for Brevard’s lower-income families. The event generated more than 30,000 rolls of toilet paper that were distributed through local sharing centers.

Whether influencing others in his company and personal circles to take action and get involved, or by giving his own time on boards or rolling up his sleeves, Jim Clamons is an action-oriented giver who never fails to support his community.

Citizen of the Year: Ambika Ravindran

A living legend who is always giving to others, Ambika Ravindran’s passion is to transform the lives of women and children. This continually drives her philanthropic goals as she positively impacts the organizations she touches.

Ambika is one who celebrates life and creates a sense of family for many who are without local support systems, as evidenced by the countless meals and sleepovers she has given to Florida Tech students who are far away from home.

Named in honor of her family, the Ravindran Domestic Violence Safe House in Titusville is currently serving 14 residents - 10 of them children - with a safe haven and services for the next step on their journey back to a healthy lifestyle.

With well over $100,000 personally given to the Women’s Center North Guild in its five years of existence, Ambika has taken the lead of supporting the organization from the very beginning.

Services for victims of domestic violence in North Brevard continue to increase each year thanks to her generosity and commitment to this susceptible population of women and children.

By making a haven for abused women, Ambika has given them the opportunity of a better life for themselves as well as their children. She has quietly influenced thousands of women and children with her unselfish acts and has made an indelible mark on Brevard County, her adopted community.