Butler sophomores Christina Tatara and Jessica Strong are the recipients of the 2011 John Weidner awards for altruism.
Tatara, a biology/Spanish major with a 4.0 grade-point average, received the $1,500 Rotary Club of Indianapolis John Weidner Award for Altruism. Strong, who’s majoring in science, technology and society, received the $1,250 Butler University John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism.
The awards recognize the students’ efforts to embody the spirit of Weidner, a Dutch citizen who helped more than 1,000 people escape from the Nazis during World War II.
In April 2006 the Butler University Student Sociology Association (SSA) founded the first collegiate chapter of the national John Henry Weidner Foundation for Altruism under the guidance of Butler adjunct professor William C. Ervin, faculty representative to the SSA and a board member of the Weidner Foundation. The chapter’s purpose is to stimulate interest in altruistic service both on campus and in the community. The chapter is sponsored by Butler’s SSA because altruism is an important component of sociology studies and field work.
Tatara, a graduate of Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., is in Butler’s Honors Program and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
She has volunteered as an Ambassador of Change, participated in Bulldogs in the Streets, and has been a translator for parent-teacher night at the Indianapolis Public Schools. She is also an active translator for Trinity Free Clinic in Carmel, Ind., and has been a translator and volunteer pharmacist for Mathew 25 in Fort Wayne. She also tutors elementary school children in reading and in English as a new language.
For the last two years, Tatara has volunteered at the Timmy Foundation, an organization working to improve medical conditions in other countries. In May, she will travel to Guatemala on a medical mission project. More recently, she has tutored elementary school children through the Juntos Program which teaches children to learn English and seeks to embrace and encourage cultural diversity.
Strong is a graduate of Illinois Valley Central High School, Chillicothe, Ill. She received the Altrusa Scholarship for her involvement in volunteering while in high school. At Butler, she was chosen to be a leader in the Ambassadors of Change program.
She volunteered at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, with the Pi Beta Phi Community Service Project involving literacy awareness projects, and in local soup kitchens.
Her lengthy involvement includes the German National Honors Society in high school, which engaged in holiday bell ringing each year, and Key Club in high school, which involved local civic projects.
Strong also participated on a weeklong Mexico mission trip involved in the rebuilding of a church in Puerto Vallarta.