This month's Community Service Award (CSA) nominee is Rob Noirot.
"He just has a great attitude about projects and work and making new friends," says Denise Barbieri, Development Officer at Centers for Youth and Families in Little Rock.
For a young man from Chicago, it didn't take Rob Noirot long to make friends here in Arkansas.
He graduated from Hendrix College in 2004 and works in the banking industry. And it's his outgoing personality and connections along the way that he's now using to give back to the Natural State.
"I have a relationship with Dawn Prasifka, who is the executive director," Rob explains.
"He is good friends with Dawn's son. So, when we were kicking around the idea of getting a young professionals network going, he came to mind immediately," says Barbieri.
In 2009, Noirot became one of the first members of the Centers for Youth and Families young professionals group, now called the Emerging Philanthropists.
They met, kicked around a few fundraising ideas, and that's how the dog days of summer came about.
"I've noticed that a lot of young professionals like me don't necessarily have the time or money to spend the entire day playing in a golf tournament. So, I thought why don't we do something that is a little bit shorter in duration, just nine holes instead of 18 and getting it at a price point that people are more comfortable spending and get people used to volunteering and used to raising money for charities," explains Rob.
The tournament was a huge success. In three years, they tripled their growth, have added a kick-off party and last year raised over $30,000 for the center's Rise Program, a program to help kids who age out of foster care.
"We are trying to develop a home base for them, somewhere they can go home to, have a bed to sleep in, have some support around them, people that will help them out," Rob says.
Noirot's enthusiasm and positive attitude are contagious, which has been a huge gift for the center.
"I would say that he has been a breath of fresh air as far as getting other young people involved. I think charity work or volunteering can sound a little stagnant at times or cumbersome, but he makes it fun and he makes it exciting," Barbieri says.
"I know that Centers has planted a seed in me to become more involved in volunteering. It's something that I will take with me for the rest of my life," says Rob.
Rob also serves on the center's foundation board and volunteers for the organization's various programs throughout the year.
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