A faculty member advocating the rights of undocumented students, a university staffer reminding the campus community of the necessity of kindness and a student committed to furthering the rights of marginalized and troubled youth – these are just a few of the accomplishments of the three individuals selected to receive the 2017 Sarah Belle Brown Community Service Award.
Jennifer Moore (faculty), Kim Kloeppel (staff) and Jesse Yelvington (student) were chosen through a competitive nomination process facilitated and sponsored by the UNM Office of the President.
The Sarah Belle Brown Community Service Award was established to support and promote The University’s commitment to public service. Former Regent and Anderson School of Management Dean Doug Brown initiated this award in honor of his wife, Sarah Belle Brown. Each of the winners was chosen based on their extensive history of community service, advocacy and social responsiveness. Nominations must outline service beyond the general scope of professional or academic assignment, and the three winners chosen this year are inspirational examples of that criteria.
Jennifer “Jenny” Moore
Moore’s passion for helping individuals extends into multiple overlapping social circles – from war torn countries of Africa to undocumented students of UNM. Prior to joining the UNM law faculty in 1995, Moore worked for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, first as an associate protection officer in West Africa, then as a legal officer in Washington, D.C. –where she conducted training sessions on refugee law for government officials, immigrant advocates and other audiences. Here at UNM, she advocates for immigrants' rights through the Immigration Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). She also is active in the UNM Sanctuary Working Group. Outside the university, Professor Moore is active in community service in Albuquerque, including volunteering for the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice.
"As educators we strive to prepare our students for lives of public service, when more often it is our students who inspire us to engage more fully in the life of our community, local and global," Moore said.
Kloeppel is known widely across campus, and those who don’t know her personally most certainly have been exposed to her work heading up the UNM BeKind initiative. In addition to being the chief operations officer of UNM Student Affairs, she has chaired the campus-wide UNM Kindness Committee for the last 16 years. Each year the initiative holds numerous events to encourage kindness, respect and safety across campus. In addition, Kloeppel serves as a committee member of the United Way Hispano Philanthropic Society (HPS), has organized and hosted numerous events with the UNM Alumni Association/Alumni Relations office. Off-campus, Kloeppel serves in several capacities with fundraising for Community for Learning – a nonprofit that provides after-school academic and mental health programs to low-income and underprivileged children.
“As a community, I believe we need to focus on the positive things in life and be proactive in assisting others in a variety of ways,” Kloeppel said. “I am so blessed to have the opportunity to give back and utilize my resources and time to volunteer and pay it forward.”
As a high schooler in Espanola, Yelvington began giving back to his community and his spirit of servitude hasn’t dampened since. Since 2009, Yelvington has spent every summer with the Santa Fe Mountain Center - Gender and Sexualities Alliance in Tesuque, he develops curriculums and leads workshops for LGBTQ+ youth dealing with topics of oppression, gender, sexuality, race, class, safer sex, suicide prevention, mental and physical health. He has worked with the LGBTQ Resource Center at UNM to develop and carry out educational and social programming for students and staff, and is also very involved with the UNM Queer Straight Alliance. His community service extends off-campus as well, where he is a leader for queer youth. He leads several workshops in the community for ResTalks, Bosque Schools, Trans Queer Thrive Conference, NMGSAN, UNM Queer Straight Alliance, UNM Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice SexUality Week, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico and Sexual and Gender Diversity Health Summit. Yelvington’s goal through his community service is empowerment of members in the LGBTQ community and education for their allies.
“Community service and community building is about finding and creating connection,” Yelvington said. “Connection between people, connection to our passions, building connections and communities in a world where disconnection is the default.”