The Paul Harris Fellow Award is one of the highest honors Rotary can bestow upon a person. Community recipients and local Rotary Club member recipients are awarded Paul Harris Fellow designation to recognize their outstanding contributions to their communities through promoting change and understanding. These individuals do this while exemplifying the high ideal of Rotary when they place "SERVICE ABOVE SELF” and demonstrate a shared purpose with the objectives of The Rotary Foundation. Sunrise Rotary recognized community member Colleen Lemza for her work as founder of Shine On! Kathy Duley, Sunrise Rotary President (2006-2007) and Paul Harris Fellow honoree (2007) introduced Colleen Lemza at Sunrise Rotary's annual dinner on June 27, 2023.
"Our community recipient, Colleen Pope Lemza has personified these ideals through a lifetime of showing compassion, initiative, hard work and determination," said Kathy Duley. "Prior to her career as a public relations professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, Colleen Lemza witnessed the struggle of dozens of young children as a crisis mental health counselor in an emergency room setting. Teens- especially girls- were more likely to experience anxiety and engage in negative behaviors associated with lack of self-confidence, much of which could be attributed to social media influence. She started a program involving her college students to help younger girls in the local community. Based on these professional observations, Shine On! aims to reduce anxiety and negative behaviors in pre-middle school youth, as it shows to be a promising window of opportunity to help them develop resilience and confidence before negative behaviors and beliefs become concrete. For 15 years now, Shine On! has very proudly been serving the communities of Northern New York by raising resilient, confident youth by teaching media and marketing literacy, character strengths, and communication skills. This presentation of the Paul Harris Award recognizes Colleen Lemza’s dedication to making this world a better place. It is the Rotary Foundation's way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its shared humanitarian and educational goal of promoting change and understanding. Tonight, it gives me great pleasure, Colleen, to present to you the three emblems of appreciation given to a Paul Harris Fellow - - certificate, medallion and pin. Please accept our congratulations and sincere thanks, for your commitment to our shared goals for the world. Congratulations Colleen!"