Dr. David Sink, professor of public administration and senior research specialist at the UALR Institute of Government, is the recipient of the 2013 Billie Ann Myers Paragon Award.
The award is presented each year to a person who works to further the ideas of volunteerism in the state of Arkansas.
Sink was honored on April 18 during The Summit, the annual conference sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Sherry Middleton, current director of the volunteer division, presented Sink with the award.
“When I survey the list of former recipients of the Paragon Award, I realize I stand on the shoulders of giants,” Sink said. “We benefit from our mentors, our role models, and our colleagues and friends, and our families to light the way.”
Sink added that he particularly wanted to recognize Billie Ann Myers, for whom the award is named. Myers was the founder and first director of the DHS Division of Volunteerism (now the DHS Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support).
“Billie Ann was the pioneer and set the bar of quality very high,” he said.
Past recipients of the Paragon Award include: Willie Oates, famed Little Rock socialite and community volunteer; UALR Professor of Public Administration Roby Robertson; and two first ladies of Arkansas, Ginger Beebe and Betty Bumpers.
Teaching young people to lead
Sink has many years of passionate work in the nonprofit sector. As one of the inaugural professors at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, he firmly believes in the power of people to make changes in their community.
His 22 years of training in the Certified Volunteer Management (CVM) program has contributed to better volunteer leadership in Arkansas.
Regarding his work with CVM, Sink said that one of his favorite writers on leadership, John Gardner, wrote about the overall ineffectiveness of the modern approach to teaching.
Quoting Gardner, Sink said, “All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. That is what we are trying to do with CVM.”
Dedicated to ending homelessness
Through Sink’s leadership, Little Rock officials have developed a 10-year plan aimed at ending chronic homelessness. He continues to serve on the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness and assist with the plan’s implementation.
Sink also contributed to the University District surrounding UALR. Through lasting partnerships between the university, businesses, and residents, the district has developed a collaborative vision.
Since 2004, he has served as the governor’s representative for the Southern Growth Policies Board’s Council on the Southern Community. He is also a member of the Arkansas Volunteer Coordinators Board, American Society for Public Administration, and the National Civic League.
Sink earned a doctorate of public administration from the University of Georgia. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in geography from Miami University.