For those who go above and beyond

The Community Service Merit Award was the idea of Louise Rutland in 2003, a time when several negative issues involving teenagers at The Landings were highly publicized. Louise, the mother of two girls, wanted those children who live at The Landings who were good role models to be recognized and honored. To that end she proposed that Landlovers award high school seniors for their community service participation. First named the “Community Service Scholarship”, the name was changed in 2005 to “The Community Service Merit Award”, and in 2023 high school juniors are also eligible. The awards recognize students who go “above and beyond” in giving time and talent through community service. Commitment, creativity, leadership, and total time dedicated determine the winners.

Applicants should have volunteered more than 100 hours (not counting community service required by the applicant’s school).  The impact of the applicant’s service on a specific volunteer program or the aggregate number of hours committed to volunteer efforts across a number of programs are the primary factors considered in making Merit Awards.  Applicants who have initiated their Community Service independently, rather than simply participating in a structured program will be most competitive.

The Community Service Merit Award is a cash award to the winning applicants.  Awards range in amount from $500 to $3,000, depending on the amount of time committed and the impact of the applicant’s contributions to the particular project(s)/program.

To qualify, students must be Landings residents, be in their junior or senior year of high school, or home schooled equivalent age. Applicants are not eligible for an award for the same (or basically similar) community service more than once.

Please click below for the application which must be submitted by March 14, 2023.


The 2022 recipients of the Landlovers Community Service Merit Award are:

Soon to be graduated from the Savannah Arts Academy, Ava Dorminey has been involved in service to her school and her community in many ways for many years.  In December of 2020, she founded the organization Students Helping Students Succeed with the intention of aiding elementary school students academically and socially.  She recruited an officer team and 30 public and private high school students to provide support for tutoring, supply drives, and refurbishment projects.  She has also participated in the Isle of Hope eLearning Academy, People of Action Caring for Kids, and The Hope Academy, while serving as the President of Future Business Leaders of America, Student Body President, and a member of the Superintendent’s Reopening Task Force – while playing soccer, running cross country, organizing her school’s first flag football team, and working at Tequilas Town and the Landings Harbor.  Ava plans to attend Georgia Tech in the fall where she will major in business with the goal of starting her own business “to influence those around me in a way that propels our country towards ingenuity and success.”

Emma Best has been committed to UTime, a program that provides part-time care to differently-enabled children while their parents take needed breaks since she was in the 8th grade, contributing more than 110 hours to the program, for which she now serves as Secretary.  She has also participated in A Stitch In Time, (sewing for missions in Haiti), served on the Ronald McDonald House Yellow Shoe Crew, and volunteered weekly at the Sunday School Group at Community Bible Church.  A Female Rookie of the Year on the Varsity Cross Country team, she plays soccer, is on the Math Team, owns online Depop Shop, waitresses at Bowtie Barbeque, and is active in her church.  Emma will be graduated shortly from Savannah Country Day School and has been accepted at the University of Miami, earning the Canes Achievement Scholarship.  She plans to study Health & Exercise Science so that she can “spend every day directly supporting patients, working with them to improve their movement, manage their pain, and be a source of comfort and guidance.”

An almost life-long resident of The Landings, Jessa Neil has been an active and committed community volunteer, dedicating her time and talent to UTime, Horizons, One Love, Smile Bags Project, Union Mission, and Second Harvest.  In addition, Jessa and her family assisted a family of Afghani refugees as they learned English and settled into the community.  She had to opportunity to study in Spain in the 10th grade and tutored students there.  Jessa plans to study International Relations and Pre-Law following her graduation from Savannah Country Day School.