A Missoula 10-year-old and the former mayor of Thompson Falls are among the Montanans who will be honored Friday for work to make their community a better place.
Lily’s Lovebirds in Missoula and Carla Parks of Thompson Falls are among the seven volunteers and organizations that will receive ServeMontana Awards from the Montana Commission on Community Service.
Sussex School fifth-grader Lily Miller makes cloth birds – Lily's Lovebirds – out of scraps of fabric and sells them. The proceeds pay for girls to go to school in Nepal through an organization called The Power of 5, a part of the Conscious Connections Foundation.
Some of the money is also donated to the Malala Fund, which supports educating girls around the world. The fund is named for co-founder Malala Yousafzai, who as a child became an advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and survived an attack by the Taliban in 2012.
Miller started making the fabric birds with her mother and sister, and later was helped by her classmates at Sussex School. Since starting the project a little more than a year ago, Lily’s Lovebirds has raised more than $4,000.
Carla Parks, the former mayor of Thompson Falls, is another western Montana resident who will receive a ServeMontana Award.
In 2014, Thompson Falls joined the Montana Main Street Program, which will provide long-term planning assistance to help the Sanders County seat preserve its historic downtown and work on economic development.
Parks, who was elected in 2009, resigned her position at the end of last year for health reasons. In addition to her leadership of the town, she is also involved in the Fort Thompson Playground Committee and High Bridge Historic Restoration Project.
Gov. Steve Bullock will present the awards at a ceremony at the state Capitol in Helena at 11 a.m. Friday.
The other recipients of this year’s ServeMontana Awards are Dick and Linda Juvik of Helena, Schylar Canfield-Baber of Butte, RuthAnn Hutcheson of Glasgow, the volunteer department of St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena and the law firm of Crowley Fleck.
At the ceremony Friday, first lady Lisa Bullock also will recognize five schools across the state for their support of school breakfast programs.
Those schools are Billings Senior High, Roosevelt Elementary in Great Falls, and the public districts of Miles City, Browning and Fairfield.
Last year’s ServeMontana Award winners included Missoula Aging Services volunteer Mary Olson, Tom Meskimen of Martin City, American Red Cross of Montana volunteer Beth Morris and the Thompson Falls Student Council.
Nominations for next year’s awards will open in October.