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A little human touch goes a long way

Monda Holsinger leads a round of applause for her fellow AmeriCorps comrades Oct. 22 at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. Holsinger and the AmeriCorps program received the 2007 St. Francis Humanitarian of the Year Award. - Andy Hobbs, The Mirror
Monda Holsinger leads a round of applause for her fellow AmeriCorps comrades Oct. 22 at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. Holsinger and the AmeriCorps program received the 2007 St. Francis Humanitarian of the Year Award.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs, The Mirror

Monda Holsinger and the Federal Way Public Schools’ AmeriCorps program received the 2007 St. Francis Humanitarian of the Year Award, sponsored by the Franciscan Foundation.

Holsinger and AmeriCorps were honored at a ceremony Oct. 22. The award is presented annually to community members who exemplify the spirit and compassion of St. Francis of Assisi, the namesake for Federal Way’s St. Francis Hospital. The foundation honors people in the Franciscan Health System service area who show an extraordinary commitment to community service.

Holsinger has served as director of AmeriCorps, a program similar to a localized Peace Corps, since its inception 13 years ago in Federal Way schools. Its primary goal is to improve students’ reading, writing, academic and critical thinking skills.

In addition, the Federal Way program and its nearly 50 volunteers also branch out to other endeavors.

The group raises money to benefit students in need as well as drop-in centers for the homeless. Other projects include hauling away trash in the Westway neighborhood and assisting Habitat for Humanity Seattle/King County projects.

Each volunteer under Holsinger’s watch commits to 10 and half months of service dedicated to helping disadvantaged individuals and to improving the quality of life in Federal Way.

During Monday’s award reception, Federal Way School District Superintendent Tom Murphy lauded Holsinger as well as AmeriCorps for setting a strong example of leadership and courage through community service.

“For them, giving is getting,” Murphy said of the honorees. “You have set a standard to which we all aspire.”

Holsinger described AmeriCorps volunteers as being “interrupters of hopelessness.”

“You can’t do these kinds of programs without support from the school district,” said Holsinger, whose drive stems from wanting to make the world a better place. “This award is not about Monda Holsinger. This is about a community who walks alongside each other. It’s about all of us.”

Past recipients of the Humanitarian of the Year Award include Peggy LaPorte and FUSION, a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that aims to shelter homeless women and children in one of nine transitional housing units throughout Federal Way.

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