In an awards ceremony on Dec. 8, the Community Impact Network honored direct service providers who work directly with residents in their community. These individuals are the essence of the Network’s efforts in the 24:1 footprint, and this first-ever awards ceremony aimed to shine a light on their hard work.
The ceremony, which attracted nearly 200 guests, took place at the Third Degree Glass Factory. Demetrious Johnson, a former NFL player who grew up in St. Louis and has long been involved in giving back to the community, was the master of ceremonies for the event.
The evening was all about honoring the direct service providers. From those who work in early childhood education to those who help families get into affordable housing, these hardworking individuals are a huge reason why there’s such hope in the 24:1 region, Community Impact Network Chief Executive Officer Winston Calvert said.
“We know that this work isn’t easy,” Calvert said, “but it’s the dedication and tenacity of each of you that not only encourages The Network’s team to show up each day, but further validates why you and your organizations are a true need in this community.”
More than two dozen service providers were nominated for three awards: the Teamwork Award, which acknowledged the individual who has found new ways to collaborate with other service providers; the Solutions Award, was awarded to the individual who finds creative solutions to challenges; and the Listening Award was presented to the individual who has done an extraordinary job engaging the community and listening to those they serve.
Click here to see images from the event.
Randy Rosenburg, Program Manager at The Core Collective at Saint Vincent, earned the Teamwork Award. Rosenburg oversees the Drop-In Center and a great deal of training and development for the supportive housing team. Chris Siegel, Chief Program Officer at the Core Collective at Saint Vincent, said many of the people who come to stay at the Drop-In Center are wary and scared at first but Rosenburg is always there to make them feel at home.
“He lets the youth know that they can accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves,” Siegel said. “He’s letting them know they have value just for being them, just for the person that they are, and that they shouldn’t set their sights too low, that they have within them the power to accomplish what they want.”
The Solutions Award winner was Tina Closson, an Early Learning Specialist at Belle Children’s Services of St. Louis Arc. Closson helps children prepare for kindergarten by developing relationships. She establishes meaningful relationships with children, teachers and directors of childcare organizations and develops specific plans for each student.
Dana Walker, Director of Children’s Services at Belle, said Closson thrives at problem solving.
“Whenever she’s faced with a problem, it just gets her excited,” Walker said. “She gets more inquisitive, and it just makes her dig a little deeper and asks , ‘How can I help this kid?’ or ‘What do I bring to the table to make this situation better or beneficial?’ Her cup is always full and she’s always willing to help in any way possible.”
Tajuani Shelton, a Family Advocate at the YWCA Head Start and Family Head Start, received the Listening Award. Shelton, who has been with the YWCA for more than 20 years, sets goals with families, provides resources for families, as well as advocates and teaches families how to advocate for children with disabilities.
“Tajuani is the type of person who is very passionate about the families she serves,” Kenya Martin, Community Partnership Manager at YWCA Head Start, said. “She does not take no for an answer when it comes to serving her families. Tajuani is going to engages in the community and she is going to ensures that her families get the resources they need and deserve.”