2020 Volunteer Award Winners

2020 Volunteer Award Winners

You can view the 2020 Volunteer Recognition Awards here!

The AFS Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service honors AFS Volunteers whose longtime commitment, dedication, and exceptional journey with the organization have advanced the mission and goals of AFS and created an impact in the AFS Community.

The National Council Volunteer Recognition Committee is pleased to announce that the 2020 AFS-USA Galatti Award was awarded to Mary Ann Offer of the World Class Area Team in Wisconsin! Mary Ann was nominated by Ann Weeden.

Mary Ann’s nominator wrote, “Mary Ann has thrived as the chair of her local Oshkosh chapter.  She was also a leader on the Orientation Advisory Group with the National Council, and a Trainer of Trainers.  Mary Ann is a trailblazer with Sponsored Programs, as the first cluster coordinator in our team. She implements diversity and inclusion into her volunteer role, reaching out to diverse communities to volunteer, study abroad, or host a student.  She also works with our YES partner ambassadors to come to schools and community events in World Class. What she has learned at a national level she brings back to her area team, and local community.  One of her favorite places to meet new people, share information about AFS and bring her students to is the local Farmer’s Market, a thriving culture in the Oshkosh area.  Mary Ann works closely with her schools, building meaningful and diverse relationships

As the winner of the AFS-USA domestic Galatti Award, Mary Ann’s nomination will also be submitted to AFS-International as the AFS-USA candidate for the International Galatti Award. Congratulations, Mary Ann!


The AFS-USA Mission Award recognizes an outstanding volunteer who has made a significant impact in promoting the core values and mission of AFS through their leadership at the local or national level.

The 2020 AFS-USA Mission Award was awarded to Nancy Bridges of the Heartland Area Team in Kansas. Nancy was nominated by Mary Porterfield, In Mary’s nomination, she describes Nancy this way:

Nancy Bridges embodies the AFS-Mission’s words: “empowers people”; “globally engaged citizens”; “meaningful intercultural experiences”; “knowledge and skills”; and “to create a more just and peaceful world”. Nancy lives and breathes AFS. She is always the one who is either stepping in to fill a void or seeking out new ways to engage the students in learning opportunities/social activities for the entire team of 50-60 students.

Nancy co-chaired the Argentinian student exchange pilot projects in January of 2017 & 2018 into the Heartland Area Team. For the past two years, she has been diligently engaged in a project to strengthen two of our weaker chapters using her local chapter, Manhattan, as a model. This project resulted in what was known as the “Kansas Road Trip” when Nancy traveled to personally visit the chapters for the purpose of recognition of volunteers and energization of the local chapters.

“Humility” might be Nancy’s middle name. She never seeks the limelight. She quietly works to find new approaches to team building and student/volunteer engagement. Congratulations, Nancy!


The AFS-USA Emerging Leader Award recognizes a volunteer who shows the potential to be a future leader in an AFS-USA chapter, team, or on the national level. An Emerging Leader has demonstrated leadership in an AFS-USA chapter or team by playing a key role in initiating, steering, or fully participating in a specific task/project to a successful completion.

The 2020 Emerging Leader Award was awarded to David Ubogy of the Greater Chicago Area Team in Illinois. David was nominated by Christina Kowalski.

David’s nominator had the following words to say about him:

He can always be counted on to open his door to students for temporary or emergency placements. Overall, he has welcomed 11 students to his home. In 2018 David’s son Alec participated in the year program to Argentina with AFS. He has quickly developed strong school relationships with many of his local schools. For NH20 he not only filled his schools but negotiated an increase in the school spots for AFS students. This was no easy task as the school has had a firm policy of the number of students.

David has a can-do attitude and can always be counted on to step up to the plate to not only complete a task but motivate and engage other volunteers too! During the COVID-19 pandemic David emerged as a true leader. When the Thai kids needed a “Fit to Fly” from a doctor, David immediately volunteered to complete the evaluations. In his true can-do attitude, he completed them not only for the Greater Chicago Thai students, but for the entire Western Lakes Region

David Ubogy is a shining star on the Greater Chicago Area Team. He has proven that he is a true leader. Congratulations, David!


The AFS- USA Dream Team Award recognizes AFS-USA Teams for exceptional and outstanding service that benefits AFS-USA volunteers in more than one area of volunteer development and recognition.  Teams were considered for this award on their achievements in the areas of local volunteer recognition and appreciation, inclusion of both experienced and newer volunteers, and teamwork during the 2019 calendar year.

The 2020 Dream Team Award was awarded to the Arizona Area Team. Here are some of the activities and events the team has done in years past, in their own words.

We have two Volunteer Coordinators. They help each new volunteer determine where they can be most helpful in the team. They visit the new volunteer at home or over Zoom to get to know them. They are invited to all the monthly dinners and chapter meetings. Then, after they are placed in a committee, they are assigned a mentor within that committee. To find volunteers, these coordinators host a biannual Spring Fling. This is a quick and entertaining event with a “speed dating” format. Potential volunteers spend exactly 5 minutes at each station to hear about each committee. There’s a bell that rings every 5 minutes. Drinks and snacks are served, and we mingle.

AFS Arizona will have guest speakers for the monthly chapter meetings and Invite neighbors to join during that time and social time after the meeting. All volunteers and host families and friends/neighbors are invited to our monthly dinners that are held at different restaurants. The restaurant donates back 20% of our receipts to AFS Arizona. We have returnees and volunteers take shifts at College and Career Fairs scheduled at large high schools. Every Halloween, AFS students and Rotary students get together and hand out over 5,000 books in a downtown neighborhood to trick-or-treaters. Each year we schedule a time to box food at Feed My Starving Children. Every February about 25 students and volunteers go to the Tucson Rodeo and each student and their country is announced. In the fall we have our Annual Mini-Golf Event. Individuals and businesses sponsor holes and the host families and volunteers come out to play mini golf together. Every May we have our Volunteer Appreciation Party and invite school administrators and host families. Congratulations, Arizona!