(Posted December 10, 2001)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Tom McGraw, a sophomore at Juniata College studying biology and ethics and the son of Thomas and Vicky McGraw of Altoona, Pa., was named a Bonner Leader by Juniata College, to honor a commitment to perform 900 hours of community service over the next two years with CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program.

McGraw is working with Chris Gildea, the director of marketing and public relations at JC Blair Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon, to promote CHIP. The program provides health insurance for children in families who cannot afford or who do not take full advantage of private health insurance. McGraw's roles include working with hospital staff to learn more about the program, collecting and processing information about potential participants, distributing CHIP information at community events such as Halloween parades, and serving as the liaison for CHIP to Juniata's Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) student organization.

The Bonner Leaders program is a partnership of the Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J.; AmeriCorps; and the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs at Juniata College. Through this new program, eight students will perform 900 hours of community service over a two-year period. Bonner Leaders serve in a non-profit agency, helping to coordinate programs and recruit volunteers for two consecutive academic years, and they have the opportunity to participate in a summer internship during their term of service.

In addition to performing direct service, the Bonner Leaders benefit from leadership training and are mentored by Juniata administrators and alumni. Depending on eligibility, most Bonner Leaders are paid through the Federal Work-Study program; and upon completion of their 900 hours of service, they receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of $2,362.50.

McGraw is a 2000 graduate of Altoona High School.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.