This post is by Tracy Hoover, Points of Light's president.
The second annual Points of Light Awards – held at the Italian Embassy, with Greta Van Susteren and Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis as emcees – brought a bipartisan crowd together to honor extraordinary people and organizations that bring leadership, innovation and the passion of the volunteer spirit to bear on some of the toughest challenges we face today. (See photos from the evening here.)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – an honoree for his support of tens of thousands of volunteers who came to help in the wake of Superstorm Sandy – accepted his award by expressing gratitude to all volunteers. (Watch video.)
“Thank you all for what you do every day,” he said. “People around this entire country never know when we’re going to need you. But when we do, it’s an extraordinary relief to know that you’ll be there to help people in need.”
The evening’s Tribute Award winners included Amy Paterson, a young mom and cancer survivor who co-founded the nation’s first drop-in hospital child care center, in Portland, Ore. (watch video); AmpleHarvest.org, a nonprofit that connects people with excess food in their gardens to local food pantries that serve the hungry (watch video); and Citi, which mobilizes its corporate resources and human capital to strengthen communities, expand financial inclusion and advance environmental sustainability (watch video).
After another disappointing week in Washington, it was profoundly inspiring to be among patriots and changemakers who cross aisles, overcome obstacles and work hard every day to tackle tough community problems and lift up their neighbors. They are points of light – and we're all better for their service. May they never have a shutdown!
P.S. To help volunteers change the world, check out the Points of Light online auction. You could win a 2014 Fiat 500L, four one-day Park Hopper Passes to Disney Parks and Resorts, designer accessories, a football signed by Joe Theismann, a private Skype session with American Idol finalist Pia Toscano, and much more!