The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless held its annual meeting for 2012 this week. It is a time to reflect on the past and look forward. The Board sets an agenda for 2013 and elects a new group of officers. The most important thing that we do is give out awards to people who have gone above and beyond to serve homeless people over the last year or provided a lifetime of service to the community.
This year we recognized Senator Nina Turner as the advocate of the year. Senator Turner helped poor people to vote by proposing legislation, demonstrating and assisting with lawsuits. She argued repeatedly that Ohioan need to vote on the weekend, and homeless people took advantage of the early voting in huge numbers. She reallly went out of her way to protect access to the ballot box and for that reason we presented her as the 2012 Advocate of the Year. Senator Turner could not attend because she was in a hearing in Columbus, but her father, Tallib Ilaahee, attended in her place. He gave a brief inspirational speech about the value of voting to Cleveland (pictured above is Ilaahee and Board President Marcia Bufford).
Jeff Bricker formerly of North Point Transitional Shelter (pictured below) accepted the award as a Champion of Homeless Voting as did Shindana Frazier of the Salvation Army Railton House. The staffs of these two facilities were acknowledged for their work. We have a seperate entry about these folks.
Jennifer Kocan won the Volunteer of the Year award for her taking on the Interim Executive Director position while the organization reorganizes. Jennifer worked to find funding and finding additional support in the community for the organization. She worked to keep the organization functioning through the economic downturn.
Grace Gamble, a high school student at Beaumont High School received our first Student Volunteer of the Year award for all her work on the 2012 Hands Up Gala.
Finally, we recognized Larry Davis for his eight years of service to the Coalition including as a VISTA and a member of the Mature Services Senior re-training program.
We have posted our Annual Report on our website here...
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