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Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a Student or Graduate for Volunteer of the Month

Nominate a UMGC student or graduate today to be the next Volunteer of the Month. This recognition highlights outstanding student and alumni volunteers who serve their communities. Each month, one volunteer will be honored.

UMGC faculty, staff, alumni, and students are encouraged to submit nominations of outstanding volunteers who show a high level of commitment to helping others. This commitment can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including consistent participation, a willingness to give extra effort, and going beyond the duties of their role.

Important Information

September 2023: Jordan Derby ’22

After observing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the elderly community, Jordan Derby and his wife started an organization called Our Futures Past. Founded in memory of his grandmother, Our Futures Past works with families and youth organizations to coordinate events to support the senior community in and around Anne Arundel County, Maryland. In July, the organization held a “retro movie” night for a senior center, and they are currently planning another event at an assisted living facility, at which volunteers and residents will pair up to create paintings on canvas.

Derby hopes that the organization will not only help the elderly but build a bridge between youth and seniors so that both communities can benefit, each gaining wisdom and understanding from the other. His next focus for the organization is developing a two-tiered junior support volunteer commitment program, called OFP Role Models, which would enable 15- to 18-year-olds to engage with the senior community and gain experience in areas such as event-planning, graphic design, nonprofit management, and other career paths.

“I volunteer because I believe the best way to make the world better is by serving those in your local community,” shares Derby. In addition to running the organization, Derby is a father to three, a Navy veteran, and a graduate of UMGC’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology program.


August 2023: Abigail Stabile, current student

Abigail Stabile is an MBA student, mother of two, wife, Navy Reservist, and a volunteer within her community in Guam. Her volunteer service includes working with Friends in Need once a month to provide a meal for the homeless community; assisting in the Children’s Ministry at her church; and helping at the Harvest House, an organization that supports Guam’s foster children and families. Recently, she donated backpacks for their Back2School event.

In May, Stabile volunteered to help respond to Typhoon Mawar with her unit, Defense Coordinating Element West, Guam. For more than two months, she worked closely with other organizations (such as FEMA and Army National Guard) and served as the Admin Leading Petty Officer for her unit and the J1 for the response.

Stabile experienced childhood trauma that she was able to escape as a teen because other family members took her in. “I could have easily been in the foster system or homeless, but I wasn't because I had someone that loved me and was willing to make sacrifices for me,” said Stabile. Seeing others care for her well-being has prompted her to be grateful for what she has, to count her blessings in life, and to give back to help others in need.


July 2023: Merry Nicole Meyer, current student

Merry Meyer, an undergraduate student majoring in management studies, has a long history of volunteer service. Currently, she serves on the board of two organizations that focus on the well-being of animals—SnipWell, a vet clinic that provides spay/neuter and wellness care at a reduced cost, and the Bichon Frise Club of America, a club that promotes responsible breeding and ownership of the bichon frise dog breed. In her roles with the organizations, Meyer helps to organize fundraising and development events. She also has helped the dog rescue arm of the Bichon Frise Club as a volunteer for its events and as a foster mom for the rescues.

In addition to her dedication to animals, Meyer has served on the board of her homeowner’s association and volunteered at the local school as well as for other organizations. In her Maryland hometown, she was one of the founding members of Frederick’s Bike Night Series, a fundraiser dedicated to helping local families who are struggling with high medical costs because of serious illnesses. In her current community in Charlotte, North Carolina, she hosts an annual “Party with a Purpose” Christmas Open House to benefit the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Explorers Toy Drive, the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, and SnipWell. More than 500 toys and bikes and 1,500 pounds of food— along with monetary donations and supplies for SnipWell—have been donated through this event.

“Volunteering helps me connect with my community and people with similar interests and offers unique experiences,” says Meyer. “Supporting different organizations helps me discover hidden talents, broadens my skill set, and expands my network. It just feels good to help!”

June 2023: Edwin Williams, current student

Edwin Williams served on the 12-member UMGC Student Advisory Council (STAC) from January 2021 to May 2023. Shortly after starting his first term, he was nominated as the vice-chair, a position he held throughout his tenure. As a STAC representative, Williams attended monthly meetings and provided feedback to multiple staff members around the university on various projects and changes that affected students.

Based on his own first-year experience at UMGC, unaware of the power of having a success coach or the Golden ID program, Williams hopes that his service helped prevent students from being left in the dark. “I always felt a sense of accomplishment every time the council met to address problems that affect the entire UMGC student community,” he shared. “Some of the issues that the council deals with may seem insignificant to one student but very significant to another, and we did not take them for granted, thanks to a great STAC team and superior coordination.”

Initially from Ghana, Williams moved to Maryland after living in England and Canada. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Management and Policy.


April/May 2023: Saresa Pleasant ’09

Saresa Pleasant is passionate about helping others see their potential and step into the profession they were called to pursue. Her career with the federal government, spanning 27 years across five agencies, has prepared her to share with others how to move up the career ladder through self-determination and a desire to succeed. Currently employed with the Department of Homeland Security, she is a mission support specialist with a specialization in workforce management.

Pleasant earned her AA from the Community College of Baltimore County–Dundalk, BA from the University of Baltimore, and graduate certificate in Leadership and Management from UMGC. She is a member of the National Résumé Writers Association and the Society for Human Resource Management. She has also been an active member of Toastmasters since 2003 and earned a Distinguished Toastmasters award in 2016.

In 2012, Pleasant and a former coworker founded SISTAS Thrilled About Reading. Featured in the Baltimore Times, this community-based book club builds a bond of sisterhood at monthly discussions that motivate and empower every member. Through fundraising efforts and donations, the club has awarded book scholarships to graduating high school seniors in the Baltimore area and donated toiletries to homeless women.

Pleasant dedicated her time to UMGC’s Career Fair in March 2023, working with current students who were participating in the fair. 


March 2023: Aiden Allred, current student

Aiden Allred, a full-time servicemember in the Army, is also a father, a student, and a volunteer. In December 2022, Allred started volunteering for the Crisis Text Line. In this role, he assists people through times of crisis, having text conversations on sensitive, personal topics. During those conversations, Allred provides texters with resources to help them gain long-term coping abilities. As of early March, Allred has helped 32 people through the Crisis Text Line. He is also a blood donor and likes to help his community in other ways when the opportunity arises.

Allred, who completed his Associate of Arts degree at UMGC in fall 2022 and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in finance, shares his love for helping people. “Whether it's serving my country, donating blood, cleaning up trash in my community, or spending time on the crisis line, I genuinely love helping others and knowing that what I do makes a difference.”

Anyone can reach out for help by texting “HOME” to 741741.

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