This year, Danielle Butler, who is a Community Advocate for the Gainesville Housing Authority, received the Advocate of the Year Award at the Presidential Services Awards event on April 7.
The GHA provides affordable housing for Gainesville families and offers life resources and opportunities for their residents and community. Through GHA, Danielle connects residents with resources that increase their economic empowerment, self-sufficiency, and quality of life.
As a social worker who was told to quarantine and not be around residents, Danielle said the coronavirus forced her to think outside the box to find ways to keep community members safely active. Throughout the pandemic, Danielle worked closely with students from the COVID-19 Student Service Corps and the Community Health REACH group co-directors to assess the residents’ needs, and they concluded that Exercise Bingo was their solution.
Residents had been feeling socially isolated during the lockdown, so DPT students and Danielle used the GHA community center which can house up to 10 people while adhering to social distancing guidelines so that residents could play virtual exercise bingo with the DPT students.
This award recognizes community partners who have gone above and beyond in promoting UF students to pursue service and leadership opportunities, and Danielle truly embodies the meaning of this award.