UI librarian receives J. Frederick Miller Award

By Kimberly Belser, Staff Writer

DoMonique Arnold, librarian at the UI Laboratory High School, has been awarded the J. Frederick Miller Award for her volunteer work throughout the Champaign-Urbana community.

Arnold became involved in several nonprofit organizations around the community while she was a student. She currently supervises ‘Outta the Mouth of Babes,’ a radio project where youth voice their own experiences around the C-U community, and ‘Girl Radio,’ an additional radio project meant for young women to discuss current events and the injustices they have faced.

“Especially with working with the YWCA after I graduated from graduate school, I became really passionate about working with young girls and helping to support and empower them,” she said. “So it was really nice that all of these different aspects of my life were able to come together.”

Aria Pleasure, participant of ‘Outta the Mouth of Babes’, ‘Girl Radio’ and a cooperative in the Urbana Dance Company, said the programs supervised by Arnold have introduced her to the community. She said these programs have also allowed her to become aware of the opportunities around her.

“I am delighted to hear that Ms. Arnold has won an award for her amazing work. She is a very dedicated woman and very strong,” Pleasure said. “She is a perfect candidate, and I’m so happy to hear that she will be receiving (the J. Frederick Miller Award).”

Arnold’s involvement throughout the community led her to work with Public Arts Coordinator Rachel Storm, an employee of the City of Urbana. Storm initially nominated Arnold to become a recipient of the award.

Arnold’s drive behind her work comes from her motivation to build personal relationships and to directly witness the impact that she has had on others. She recalled a message she received from a former intern, who shared with Arnold that her mentorship influenced her to become active in nonprofit organizations.

Arnold’s goal for the future is to continue working with the youth of the community. She would also like to become more involved within the field of self-publishing and to support authors who would like to have their own stories published.

As a dance instructor at Urbana Dance Company, she hopes to provide free lessons for youth in the C-U community in the future. She believes that providing these free lessons will implement a different way of connecting with the community.

“It’s just really amazing to see that, especially when you’re working with youth, to see it’s just like planting seeds — you don’t always get to see the seeds come to fruition, but when you do it’s a moment that you don’t forget,” she said.

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