Press Release for Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Three UNF Students Recognized for Their Caring Spirits

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

University of North Florida students Christopher Miller, Rory Nicolaides and Jaime Williams all have something in common: outstanding records of volunteerism. As a result, all three students have been recognized for their caring spirits.

Miller was awarded the 2008 Albert D. Ernest Jr. Caring Award, which recognizes a student who demonstrates the spirit of caring, humanitarianism and volunteerism exemplified by Albert Ernest. He received a bronze sculpture created by Frank Eliscu, designer of the Heisman Trophy, the Oval Office’s Presidential Eagle and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also received a cash award for a charity of his choice.

Nicolaides and Williams are recipients of the 2008 Bill & Angie Halamandaris Caring Internship. The students will intern at the Heart of America Foundation in Washington, D.C. this summer for eight to 10 weeks. Heart of America Foundation is a national, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, nonprofit, humanitarian organization that celebrates, honors and empowers young adults who enrich the human race with the quality of their lives.

Miller, an Intracoastal resident, is a senior majoring in finance and since entering UNF as a freshman, has accumulated more than 1400 hours of community service. His volunteer service includes the Bridge of Northeast Florida, Builders Care, Camp Boggy Creek and HabiJax.

He has also had the opportunity to serve all over the world through Chet’s Creek Church community service trips, which have taken him to such places as Beijing, China, Honduras, Nashville and New York City to provide needed services such as rebuilding orphanages, constructing churches, and working with chronically ill children.

In addition to his community work, Miller has also been active on the UNF campus. He recognized a need for an honor society that would reward high-academic success among freshman and sophomore students, so he became the founding chapter president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at the University. Through his leadership, more than 325 members have been recruited to this organization.

Nicolaides is a sophomore pursuing majors in nursing and pre-med. A native of Orlando, she has been an active member of many organizations in the area such as the Red Cross Teen Corps, the Salvation Army and the Ronald McDonald House. One organization that is close to her heart is Camp Caleb, a camp for Miccosukee Indian children who work in the fields alongside their parents. For two weeks, the camp allows them the children to play and to just be kids.

As a student in the Honors Program, Niocolaides has served as a team leader, facilitating incoming freshman and orienting them to the Honors Program. She has worked with the Heart of America’s READesign program as a team leader, helping to renovate libraries and reading to children.

Williams is a junior majoring in nutrition and has performed more than 1600 hours of service both here in Jacksonville and at her home in Pensacola. Her main focus has been helping children. Williams has spent many hours at children’s hospitals such as Baptist in Jacksonville and Sacred Heart in Pensacola. She has also taught Sunday school and mentored/tutored students
at several schools.

In addition to working with children, Williams loves animals and has volunteered over 250 hours as a foster parent at both the Jacksonville and Pensacola Humane Societies. Many other organizations have been recipients of her caring spirit, like Gulf Coast Kid’s House, Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA.