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​Surekha Kulkarni named 2016 Volunteer of the Year

Since January, Freedom House mothers have been gathering together with Surekha each week to learn this new skill that is both empowering and fun.

Last week, Surekha Kulkarni of Beaded Treasures Project, was honored as Volunteers of America Mid-States 2016 Volunteer of the Year for her commitment to the people we serve and our mission. Surekha was presented with the award at the home of Drs. Bob and Kathy Cooter. The Cooters hosted our annual board and Positive Change Society donor Valentine's Day themed social. Each year, the award is presented to a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in his or her service and compassion for Volunteers of America's programs and clients.

Surekha is a social entrepreneur, jewelry designer and founder and program director of Beaded Treasures Project. Beaded Treasures Project creates community support for refugee and disadvantaged women in Louisville by teaching them the art of jewelry making as a means of self-sufficiency.

Surekha began working with Volunteers of America in 2009 through the Indian Professional Council (IPC) of Kentucky and Beaded Treasures Project. Through Surekha's role as chair of the IPC's community engagement committee, the council named Volunteers of America as the charity recipient of their annual golf scramble. Surekha also engaged IPC in the first Mayor's Week of Service and the council has returned to volunteer with Volunteers of America every year since. Additionally, IPC donated computers to the teen Learning Lab at Louisville Family Housing Services and also introduced the families we serve there to Indian culture by hosting an "Indian Day" for the familes.

In 2015, Surekha organized fundraising parties, including an event at Ramsi's Cafe on the World, to bring her unique jewelry making class to the women of Freedom House, where she works with the residents to teach them the skills needed to create their own jewelry. Freedom House is a Volunteers of America's residential addiction recovery program for pregnant and post-partum women in Louisville. Since January, Freedom House mothers have been gathering together with Surekha each week to learn this new skill that is both empowering and fun.

Because of Surekha, Volunteers of America continues to find innovative ways to create positive change in the lives of so many individuals. Thank you, Surekha, for your commitment to the women and families we serve! Visit our Facebook page to see photos of Surekha receiving her award.