Local director Susan Copeland leads 40 community service projects, 10 student interns and more than 400 older adult volunteers with Heart of Texas RSVP

WASHINGTON, DC— On Tuesday, May 16, AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith recognized Susan Copeland for more than 30 years leading national service programs in Waco, Texas. Copeland leads Heart of Texas, part of AmeriCorps RSVP network, helping older Americans connect and create change in their communities. Smith presented Copeland with a Distinguished Service Award, including a framed letter he signed and keepsake AmeriCorps CEO Challenge Coin, in a public ceremony at McLennan Community College. 

“The AmeriCorps CEO Challenge Coin Award honors dedicated individuals who serve their communities, make service possible for others, and are committed to the betterment of local communities and people in need,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “Susan’s tireless efforts, spanning more than three decades, has enabled thousands of older adult volunteers to make an impact on the lives of people who need it most. Her faithfulness and dedication embody the very spirit of this award.”

As project director of the Heart of Texas RSVP program, Copeland oversees a staff of 10 undergraduate and graduate student interns studying public relations, professional writing, social work, mental health and various counseling programs. She also manages more than 40 community service projects and a force of more than 400 older adult volunteers in the region.

“I am very humbled by this award,” Copeland said. “It comes from having the honor of working alongside thousands of selfless heroes that volunteer and give their time and skills to our communities. They deserve all the credit. They are the ones that make the difference. It’s been my joy.

“I could not have done any of this work without the support of my team and McLennan Community College’s support,” Copeland continued. “I truly share this award with them.”

Copeland’s distinguished career serves as a shining example of one individual becoming a “force multiplier” for service. The AmeriCorps CEO Challenge Coin borrows from military tradition, where challenge coins honor tours of duty and exceptional performance, highlighting loyalty and service. Copeland reflects the spirit of this award. 

The Heart of Texas RSVP program, sponsored and housed at McLennan Community College, is a grantee of AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. The Heart of Texas supports people and organizations through volunteer service to meet critical community needs. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers are matched to projects in the Heart of Texas six-county region, serving in schools, hospitals, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels and with at-risk children, underserved adults, disaster sites, food banks and more.

Last year, more than 17,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers served at more than 2,300 locations in Texas. AmeriCorps invested more than $51.7 million in federal funding in the Lone Star State, supporting cost-effective, community-driven solutions.