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Efforts by a Mississippi State professor to encourage student volunteerism paid off for a local charity in a big way on Friday.
April Heiselt, an assistant professor in counseling and educational psychology at MSU, on Friday was named one of two Mississippi "Do-Gooders" as recognized by the Foundation for the Mid-South in Jackson.
By winning the designation, Heiselt will receive a $50,000 grant to be applied to a cause of her choice, and she has chosen Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity, which seeks to break the cycle of poverty through home ownership.
Heiselt established the Service DAWGS at MSU in response to research showing that college student retention rates rise when they become more involved in their community and school. The organization seeks to coordinate student volunteer efforts for charitable organizations.
The Service DAWGS have been active in numerous projects around the MSU campus and community, including a full day of efforts at the start of the fall semester and being involved heavily in construction of the Maroon Edition house for Habitat for Humanity.
Heiselt was one of more than 600 nominees in three states for the "Do-Gooders" recognition and was named one of 18 finalists two months ago. Through the Foundationâ€™s website, the public voted over 2 million times to determine the six organizations throughout the Mid South to receive grant awards.Â
â€śThe support that was shown online truly demonstrates how important these organizations and the work they do are in our region,â€ť says Ivye L. Allen, President of Foundation for the Mid South. â€śThrough this campaign, we saw how people and nonprofits are improving lives every day in their communities, and we are proud to honor those who are moving the region forward.â€ť
More on this story will be reported as information becomes available.