Caitlin’s Smiles Shines at United Way of the Capital Region Awards Ceremony

May 3, 2017

Among the many wonderful volunteers recognized at the United Way of the Capital Region’s Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 20, 2017, three individuals from Caitlin’s Smiles received special awards.

Cheryl Hornung of Dauphin, founder and director of Caitlin’s Smiles, was presented with the 2017 Essence of Humanity Award. The Essence of Humanity Award is intended to recognize those individuals who go beyond the requirements of their work and demonstrate remarkable courage, love, strength, determination, encouragement, inspiration, and persistence when dealing with adversity, and to recognize those who demonstrate the spirit of caring and provide inspiration to such individuals on a daily basis.

Caitlin’s Smiles distributes arts and crafts to hospitals and clinics throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Last year, the organization distributed over 14,000 bags filled with arts, crafts, and toys to hospitals in nine states. In its 13 years, Caitlin’s Smiles has reached nearly two million children with its message of love, hope, and fun. This was made possible through the vision, determination, and persistence of Cheryl.

Cheryl is very involved with several other organizations, including her church, Zion Lutheran Church (Dauphin), Tree 4 Hope, Kiwanis of Hershey-Hummelstown, Communities of Hope, and Isaiah 61. Cheryl is married to Russ Hornung. The couple has two daughters, Danielle and Abby. Danielle nominated her mother for this award.

Carol Koppenhaver from Enola received the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award for her service to Caitlin’s Smiles since 2008. Carol devotes a tremendous amount of time to volunteering at Caitlin’s Smiles, logging more than 900 hours in 2016. She makes “Bags of Smiles,” leads a monthly craft night at her home, makes gift baskets for our silent auctions, works with her daughter, Stacy, to organize and run one of our major annual fundraisers, staffs booths at events, compiles hospital statistics, and makes hospital deliveries throughout the region with her husband, Gary.

Back in 2008, Carol started volunteering weekends and some evenings when she worked full-time. After retiring in 2010, Carol began giving several hours each week to the work of Caitlin’s Smiles. Carol is a joy to work with. Her smile and joyful personality make her a friend to the staff and other volunteers at Caitlin’s Smiles. Everyone knows and loves her. Carol is extremely competent, dedicated, and exacting in her work, yet patient and upbeat with everyone. Carol is a very active member of Simeon Lutheran Church in Gratz. Carol is married to Gary Koppenhaver. They have one daughter, Stacy, also of Enola.

Brayden Stroup was recognized by the United Way in the Youth Volunteer category for his outstanding volunteer service for Caitlin’s Smiles. Brayden has volunteered for Caitlin’s Smiles since 2013, logging over 306 hours. He decorated thousands of cards, bags, and journals in his younger days. Now, he stocks shelves and helps maintain the quality of the “Bags of Smiles.”

Brayden is only 7 years old and is a first grader at the Enders-Fisherville Elementary School with the Halifax School District. His great-grandmother, Elsie Stroup, got him involved with volunteering when he was only 2! Brayden is the son of Chelsea Stroup.