Meet the Northern Nevada Governor’s Points of Light Finalists!

Each year, Nevada Volunteers is overwhelmed by the amount of nominations and the inspiring stories submitted for the Governor’s Points of Light Awards. Our distinguished panel of judges selected the following three finalists for this year. These three individuals will be honored at the awards luncheon on January 18, 2013, and the recipient of the category will be announced. Congratulations to the finalists and thank you for your service to our communities!

Northern Nevada Individual Finalists for the

2013 Governor’s Points of Light Awards


Steve Burns

Steve Burns has been a volunteer with the Washoe County School District since January of 2011. Since that time, Steve has offered 1680 total hours tutoring Algebra students at Vaughn Middle School five days a week, five class periods a day. Said one parent of a student Steve has tutored, “Kids used to make fun of her and even teachers would say my daughter couldn’t do it. Now she’s confident in herself and is in the GATE program. He changed her entire life. My daughter is now talking about preparing to apply to competitive colleges, something she never thought of doing before.” After a rewarding career, Steve found even greater pleasure in tutoring students and seeing them achieve results they didn’t think were possible. He says that at the age of 65, he has finally found his calling.

Ashlee Smith

Ashlee Smith founded her own nonprofit organization at the age of eight after a devastating wildfire affected Lake Tahoe. The inspiration came from her own house fire that she experienced years before. Ashlee and her organization have sent toys all across the country, and to date have donated over 200,000 toys. This year, The Prudential Spirit of Community honored Ashlee as a National Winner. Ashlee is currently starting a program speaking in local schools about the importance of volunteerism and helping others. Ashlee’s compassion and her intense need to help others are contagious, and she is dedicated to changing the world one toy at a time.

Christina Thomas

Christina Thomas has been an Ambassador for Americans for Indian Opportunity and is the first Nevadan to be selected for UpWithPeople. Additionally, she became the youngest person on her Tribe’s Language Advisory Board for the Reno-Spark Indian Colony. She is also the youngest teacher of the Paiute Language for the Washoe County School District, and the youngest person to be featured as an emerging leader at the Pyramid Lake Cultural Museum. In an effort to preserve her heritage, she founded the youth group Native Butterflies, where she teaches children about their native language, history, and activities like beading and travel. She is a very ambitious young woman with an intense passion to keep her heritage and language alive for future generations.

Interested in finding out who becomes the recipient of the Governor’s Points of Light Award in the Northern Nevada Individual category? Click here for more information!

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