Established in 1999, this award is presented to graduates for continued involvement in their community, faith community, helping organization, the College or the Alumni Association.
To Cindy Culver, community service helps more than just the recipient of it.
“I see community service as a two-way street,” she said. “Community service is an opportunity to fill a true need for someone which in turn fills my heart with goodness. Therefore, I believe that community service is a win-win situation for the receiver and the provider.”
Culver’s dedication to community service can be traced back to her parents.
After moving to the United States from Nicaragua, her parents made sacrifices so she could be the first in her family to attend college. All the while, they were never greedy and continuously shared what they had with others.
Culver graduated from UGA in 1995 with a degree in dietetics and pursued a career which would allow her to give back to her community. As Director of School Nutrition for Marietta City Schools, Culver is able to serve the food needs of the community through the National School Meals Programs.
She also acts as a preceptor to over 10 dietetic interns a year because paying it forward is very important to her.
In 2008, Culver’s daughter, Gabriela, was diagnosed with a rare genetic seizure disorder. Culver decided to give back to the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) in order to show thanks for all they had done for her family.
Along with family and friends, Culver participates in the annual Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia’s Magnolia Walk/Run as Team Gabriela’s Mitzvah.
Their first walk was shortly before Gabriela passed away in 2009, and they have continued to carry on Gabriela’s legacy by participating every year since. The team, which now has over 40 members, raises funds for research and awareness for epilepsy by participating in the walk.
In addition, Culver actively supports CHOA’s annual holiday toy drive, through both personal donations and encouraging those around her to give back as well.
Culver uses this as a teaching experience for her two older daughters, instilling in them the same passion for community service she learned from her parents.
As she works to both give back to her community and pass down a “legacy of service” to her daughters, it’s evident Culver has service ingrained in her heart.
“What community service really means to me is that it’s not a thing or something you do,” Culver said. “I believe that community service is a part of who you are.”