Promise Neighborhood Celebrates Champions of Central

Promise Neighborhood Celebrates Champions of Central

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood annually honors Central Neighborhood residents and staff who help partnering organizations fulfill their missions and make significant contributions to the vibrancy of the neighborhood. The Promise Neighborhood recently held a virtual community meeting and celebration to honor the 2020 Champions of Central.

Joseph Black, Promise Neighborhood community investment manager (who on January 15 will become health equity officer of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland), served as the emcee of the program. Jerome Baker, a Promise Ambassador and founder of Men and Women of Central, opened the meeting with a prayer. Following is an excerpt from his opening prayer.

“Dear Lord, I think everyone here can agree that we need you now more than we ever have. This year has been stunning to say the least. You know Lord, our families have faced some of the toughest times we have ever faced, but I know that you have been there with us. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me. This Champions of Central celebration speaks to the blessings to come. This celebration is an example of the comfort you afford us. This gathering is a demonstration of no matter what we may experience, we will gather and support each other and celebrate the individuals and organizations and praise through your work Lord, in honor and praise. Amen.”

Richaun Bunton, Promise Neighborhood initiative manger, provided some reflections on 2020, discussing how the Promise Neighborhood remained responsive to the needs of the community during the pandemic.

“For us to be able to stand together in such trying times shows the benefit of community,” she said. “We’re always here, we’re always celebrating and we’re always supportive.”

Before introducing the next speaker, Black said, “Thank you all Promise team members, the Sisters of Charity Foundation team, for all the work that has occurred in this space. I also want to give a special thanks to our president, Sue Krey, for all that she has done to lead us in these difficult times.”

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is the lead partner of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood.

Krey, president of the foundation, spoke about the Promise Neighborhood before announcing the first award. “The foundation has felt so strongly about the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. We can’t say enough about the Promise Neighborhood team that works so diligently as a backbone to support this very important neighborhood of Cleveland,” Krey said.

She also thanked other contributors. “For the leadership that Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland has provided to this neighborhood for so many years. For the incredible dedication of the ambassadors and all that they have done and the residents and so many of our partners who have all stepped up in so many ways. Thank you for all you’ve done. For all of our neighbors because we all belong to each other and do need to support each other in this difficult year.”

Servant Leadership Award
Tatiana Wells, Program Director Early Childhood & Teacher Education, Cuyahoga Community College
Prior to honoring the 2020 Champions of Central, Krey recognized Tatiana Wells with the Servant Leadership award. Wells most recently was the Promise early learning navigator at Starting Point for Child Care and Early Education before starting in her new role at Cuyahoga Community College in December. In presenting the award, Krey said, “We acknowledge her for the incredible work she has done in the early learning space with our partner Starting Point. She has done so much work in partnering in the early childhood centers and so many of the partners in the early learning space and has done so much to improve the learning opportunities of the littlest children in our neighborhood.”

Bunton added, “Thank you to Tatiana. She is truly a servant leader. She put her heart into her work and is so genuine with her work. She is able to touch the hearts of us all.”

Champions of Central

The 2020 Champions of Central honored during the virtual meeting were:

Amanda Pratt, Manager, Advising Programs and Services, College Now Greater Cleveland
Before revealing the second recipient, Bunton said, “This person lives their life with passion and purpose. She leads a legacy of young scholars.” In accepting the award, Pratt said, “This award means so much to me. Central is my neighborhood. Behind me there is a sign that says ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ I will make sure to continue to pass the torch to young individuals who will continue to grow and bring life into Central. That’s what I promise as a result of receiving such a high honor,” said Pratt.

Bridgette Smith-Jackson, Director of Social Services, Rainbow Terrace Learning Center
In introducing the next champion, Black said, “If you were to ask what her vision for Central is, she would say, ‘Equity, opportunity and peace.’ And she believes that because her motto is ‘If you have breath in your body, you can and you will if you choose to.”

In accepting the award, Smith-Jackson said, “To get this acknowledgement, it means the world to me. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Not only for this recognition, but for everything you are doing to get the work done in the Central community.”

Cathy Kopinsky, Mission Outreach, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
For the next recipient, Black said, “She is an anchor in our community. She continues to find a way to help and inspire the youth of our community. Her vision for our community: that it’s a healthy, safe environment recognized for its rich history, strong leadership and involvement of its residents.”

Councilwoman Cleveland revealed the recipient, saying, “She is someone who is very humble, very kind, very giving. She just cares about people so much. Her job is serving people in the community, but I think it’s really her ministry. You see her all over this community, especially in the summer. One last word I would use to describe her is fierce. She’s fearless and gentle.”

In receiving the award, Kopinsky said, “I thank everyone who is being honored and just keeping Central as amazing as it is.”

Jennifer Kinsley, Senior Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Medical-Legal Partnership at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
Before turning the award presentation over to Leslie Andrews, diabetes coordinator at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Black said about the next recipient, “Her motto is: ‘The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. And, the meaning of life is to give your gift away.’ I think that is a true representative of a champion of central.”

Andrews said, “Jen wanted to empower people in need and that is what she does every day. Jennifer’s work is critical to removing barriers to good health, like food, housing and income. It’s impossible to manage a chronic condition when you’re faced with those challenges. Her commitment to those in need is truly remarkable. We’re blessed to have her at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center not only for the patient’s at the hospital, but really for all the residents of Central.”

In accepting the award, Kinsley said, “It is a true honor to stand up with all of you to say we believe in Central every single day. I will continue to fight for safe housing, access to health care and to food and everything that is so essential. Thank you so much.”

Johnny Robinson, MyCom Manager, Friendly Inn
Black said of the next honoree, “His vision for Central is to continue to provide exposure and opportunities for our youth, and to promote equality throughout our neighborhood.”

Promise Neighborhood Engagement Specialist Dawn Glasco introduced Robinson as the next recipient, saying, “The youth really look up to him. Johnny has been an instrumental part of being a guiding light to our youth. You are an amazing leader and a wonderful gift to the Central community.”

“It’s an honor to receive this award,” said Robinson. “I appreciate everyone who has helped me along the way.”

Mildred Cephus, Community Leader
Joy Johnson, executive director at Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc, presented the next award, saying about the recipient, “Her favorite word is magnificent and that is the best way to describe her. You would never know she is over the age of 90. She is very active and provides so much guidance and wisdom to Central. She is someone others in the community go to as a resource.”

After receiving the recognition, Cephus said, “I was very surprised and honored to receive this award. You don’t things to be seen. You do it because it’s needed. Thank you for the honor.”

Mildred Lowe, Community Leader
Promise Ambassador LaQueta Worley presented the next award. She said, “Everyone knows her and respects her with great honor. This individual that I am talking about is Mrs. Mildred Lowe.”

In receiving the honor, Lowe said, “Surprises come all the time. I just want to thank you for this honor. More importantly I want to thank God for letting me live long enough to see new people coming into our neighborhood. They continue to push our young people that we have and the change is visible. You can see we are an upcoming community. The greatest thing is that we never lost our faith. We never lost our commitment.”

Tameika Madden-Vason, Parent Partner, Family Partners Initiative
Reciting a quote that represented the next recipient, Black said, “You have the power to choose your path.”

Formally introducing the next Champion of Central was Lakeesha Tolliver-Funches, SPARK/Family Connections partner. She said about the recipient, “She is forward thinking and compassionate. She advocates for others just as well as does for her own family. Her spiritualty is so enlightening. I would like to congratulate Tameika Madden-Vason.”

Madden-Vason said about receiving the award, “It’s an honor and privilege to be among so many other wonderful people. When you listen to the way people have described them, it means a lot to be among so many people of greatness. If we can think of ourselves as being great, then we are. If we can think of ourselves as giving the prize and the gift to the next person, then we can.”

LaToya Ford, Parent Partner, Family Partners Initiative
Katlyn Woods, community mental worker at Ohio Guidestone, presented the next award. She said about the recipient, “She is an amazing woman. An amazing mother. An amazing member of Central. She is one of the most genuine, funny and kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.”

In an emotional response to receiving the honor, Ford said, “I was broken when I got into the SPARK program. My soul was broken, but I knew God. From the day when I met Ms. Funches, I poured everything out. She asked me if I needed counseling and I said I did, which she got me. I am so thankful. SPARK has changed my life. Everything the foundation does has changed my life. I now understand my purpose. God has blessed me. When I woke up this morning to the plaque and flowers and to be a Champion, that let me know to keep grinding. I’m honored and grateful. My son gave me the biggest hug and said I deserve it. I’m humble and I’m thankful. These are happy tears.”

Walter Patton, Community Organizer
Black said about the final recipient, “His passion continues to lead the pack. His personal motto is, ‘Create art, not violence.’”

Kim Foreman, executive director of Environmental Health Watch, presented the final award, saying “He always shows up. I’ve seen Walt transform a room of people several times just through his art and his presence. I’ve seen the power that he has and he’s still so humble. I’ve watched how he’s activated people. He doesn’t ask for accolades, but he deserves so much because he gives so much.”

In receiving the award, Patton said, “I’m fourth generation in the Central community. I’m honored to receive this award. I like to represent the people on the ground and let them know there’s hope no matter their background.”

After the awards were presented, Promise Neighborhood partners provided updates about their recent activity. Black then recognized the Promise Ambassadors who were online.

Bunton wrapped up the event by thanking Black for his work as the emcee of the event and congratulated him on his transition to a new position with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland as program officer, health equity.

“Let’s celebrate Joe as he continues to advance the work of safety, health and equity in Central and for the greater Cleveland community,” said Bunton. “We look forward to elevating our work in the New Year as we welcome in new experiences and more love and joy that we share with everyone.”

Join us Dec. 16 to celebrate Champions of Central

Join us Dec. 16 to celebrate Champions of Central
The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is once again honoring those Central residents and staff who help our partnering organizations fulfill their missions and make significant contributions to the vibrancy of the Central neighborhood.  

We are thrilled to announce the 2020 Champions of Central:
  • Mildred Cephus, Community Leader
  • LaToya Ford, Parent Partner, Family Partners Initiative
  • Jennifer Kinsley, Senior Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Medical-Legal Partnership at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
  • Cathy Kopinsky, Mission Outreach, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
  • Mildred Lowe, Community Leader
  • Tameika Madden-Vason, Parent Partner, Family Partners Initiative
  • Walter Patton, Community Organizer
  • Amanda Pratt, Manager, Advising Programs and Services, College Now Greater Cleveland
  • Johnny Robinson, MyCom Manager, Friendly Inn
  • Bridgette Smith-Jackson, Director of Social Services, Rainbow Terrace Learning Center

Click here to register for our virtual community meeting & celebration on Dec. 16 at 4 p.m.

The registration link above includes information about logging in via Zoom.

Seeking nominations for 2020 Champions of Central

Seeking nominations for 2020 Champions of Central

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland want to acknowledge and honor those Central residents and staff from our community partners who help our partnering organizations fulfill their missions and made significant contributions to the vibrancy of the Central neighborhood.

We need your help in identifying these Champions of Central.

We are seeking nominations for Central residents and staff members of community partners who exemplify at least 3 of the following criteria:

Central Resident   

  • Serves as a leader in the Central community
  • Serves as an ambassador in a partner organization for programs or projects that directly impact the Central community
  • Serves as a Cleveland Central Promise Ambassador
  • Has made a significant impact in the Central community by way of leading or participating in an activity or program in the area(s) of health, education and/or advocacy

Central Resident nomination form

Community Partner

  • A passion for the Central community
  • A commitment to the mission and vision of the partner organization
  • Someone who continuously goes above and beyond the “call of duty” to help ensure Central families have access and support to the resources available to them within the partnering organization
  • Serves or has served as a change agent within your organization which has had a direct impact on the families within the Central community
  • Upholds a commitment to community collaboration which remains evident in their daily work

Community Partner nomination form

You may nominate up to two individuals in both categories. Please submit all nominations by Wednesday, November 18.

Selected champions and nominators will be notified via email on December 4. Champions and the individuals who nominated them will be honored and acknowledged at the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood Advisory Council meeting:

  • Date: Wednesday, December 16
  • Location: Zoom – info to come
  • Time: 4 – 6 p.m.

If you have someone in mind, please complete the attached nomination form and submit to Richaun Bunton, Promise initiative manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood:  rbunton@socfcleveland.org.

Five Protective Factors offer guide for family strength in crisis

Five Protective Factors offer guide for family strength in crisis

We know that this has been a challenging time for people across our world, and we are especially concerned for those in our own Central neighborhood, where so many families have young children to nurture and support.

At Promise, we are working to better understand those elements that can strengthen a family through times of crisis, as well as times of success, to make sure children are growing and developing in the best ways they can.

These elements are often referred to as the Five Protective Factors, and we want to use our collective Promise voice to make sure Central’s families feel connected and supported through this time of heightened stress and anxiety.

The Five Protective Factors are:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

To talk about what each of these means to our families and community, we will share videos and short blog posts over the next several weeks on behalf of our staff and partners. To keep up with the conversation, follow us on Facebook.

COVID-19 Update: Resources for Central Families

COVID-19 Update: Resources for Central Families

During these uncertain times, there are several support resources available in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as links to online activities for families with children:

Support Resources for Cleveland Central Promise

We know this is a difficult time for everyone, especially our neighbors and friends who have children home from school. Our team has been speaking with families throughout the Central Promise neighborhood to better understand the immediate needs in our community, and we are working on the best ways to support one another. In the meantime, we are sending along a few helpful community resources.

To stay informed on COVID-19, receive local updates and understand the practices to stop the spread of germs, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Public Health and the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

FREE MEAL ACCESS – as of March 23, 2020

The COVID-19 Cleveland Community Hub has posted an interactive map of all food pantries and free meal sites across the city of Cleveland.

VIEW THE MAP HERE

Clicking on the location icons will bring up the address and phone number for each location, as well as dates & times for meal service.

Locations in our immediate neighborhood include:

  • Marion Sterling School
  • Anton Grdina School
  • Friendly Inn Settlement House
  • Triedstone Community Care Center
  • St. Vincent de Paul – Woodland Ave.

Children’s Hunger Alliance is supporting ready-to-eat meal distribution to children outside most of Cleveland’s recreation centers while the centers remain closed during the emergency shutdown. The grab-and-go meals are available Saturday, March 28 from noon to 1 p.m. and Monday through Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m.

In our community:

Central Recreation
2526 Central Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
Phone: 216.664.4241
Meals served: 4 – 5 p.m.

Lonnie Burten Recreation Center
2511 E 46th St.
Cleveland, OH 44104
Phone: 216.664.4139
Meals served: 4 – 5 p.m.

CHILD CARE CENTERS – as of March 23, 2020

All early learning centers in the Central Promise neighborhood are currently CLOSED as part of the State of Ohio’s mandatory shutdown.

Several area early learning centers are in the process of acquiring licensing to provide care during the pandemic, and we will share those resources with you as soon as they are available.

Activities for Families with Children

  • Starfall Learning’s website is full of educational activities to help students of all ages develop literacy skills and keep minds active.
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District has an entire page dedicated to learning resources, both from the district and from national & international resources. Click here to access the full list.
  • The Music Settlement has developed a comprehensive listing of tools and activities available for young children and families throughout this period of isolation. Click here for the full list.

Examples include:

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is a collaborative initiative led by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

Promise honors “Champions of Central” with holiday ceremony

Promise honors “Champions of Central” with holiday ceremony

IMG_20181114_170020Over the last several years, the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood has worked alongside residents and partners to focus on improving outcomes for children and families in Central. At the final Promise Advisory Council meeting of 2018, the Promise team recognized several individuals who have been instrumental in helping to create change in the community.

Called the “Champions of Central,” these individuals were nominated by organizations where they work or volunteer. They were identified as team members who help ful fill the missions of these organizations and contribute to the vibrancy of the Central neighborhood.

More than 75 people attended the November 14 celebration that included a brief Promise meeting, dinner and an awards ceremony. MVIMG_20181114_173444

“Traditionally, our November Advisory Council meetings center on a theme of gratitude and thanksgiving,” said Richaun Bunton, education performance manager. “This year, we wanted to offer special thanks to all of the residents who are helping to cultivate a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood through their contributions and hard work.”

Each Champion of Central received an engraved plaque, two tickets for an event of their choosing at Karamu House and entered into a raffle to win a new laptop.

“We work to support our residents to be independent change agents,” Bunton said. “Digital independence is necessary to get a leg up in our highly technological world, so we were proud to be able to offer the gift of a computer.”

Champions of Central included:

  • Anesha Lynn-Coleman, nominated by Cuyahoga Community College
  • Annie Glover, nominated by Promise
  • Belinda McPherson, nominated by Promise
  • Bryanta Spencer, nominated by Nurse Family Partnership
  • Charmaine Jordan, nominated by Promise
  • Colandra Humphrey, nominated by Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Delores Gray, nominated by Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority
  • Dr. Erin Murphy, nominated by the Boys and Girls Club
  • Eloise Smith, nominated by Promise
  • Gwendolyn Garth, nominated by Neighborhood Connections
  • LaQueta Worley-Bell, nominated by Promise
  • Leroy Carter, nominated by Promise
  • Lillie Hunter, nominated by Burten Bell Carr
  • Louise Buchanan, nominated by Burten Bell Carr
  • Mildred Lowe, nominated by St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
  • Nefertiti Peterson, nominated by Nurse Family Partnership
  • Precious Smith, nominated by Friendly Inn
  • Quiana Singleton, nominated by Promise
  • Renee Wren, nominated by Promise
  • Tameika Stuart, nominated by Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Tarajuana Crowell, nominated by Cuyahoga Community College
  • Twila Norris, nominated by Burten, Bell, Carr and the Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Promise staff members Joe Black and Dawn Glasco were also honored for their work in the community. Joe was nominated by Jan Thrope, and Dawn by Friendly Inn. Louise Buchanan won the laptop.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Champions of Central. Keep watch for our program updates in spring of 2019.

Seeking nominations for Champions of Central

Seeking nominations for Champions of Central

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland want to acknowledge and honor those individuals who help our partnering organizations fulfill their missions and contribute to the vibrancy of the Central neighborhood.

We need your help in identifying these Champions of Central.

We are seeking nominations for individuals who exemplify at least 3 of the following criteria:

  • A passion for the Central community
  • A commitment to the mission and vision of your organization
  • Has made a significant impact in the Central community by way of leading or participating in an activity or program in the area(s) of health, education and/or advocacy
  • Serves as a leader in the Central community
  • Serves or has served as a change agent within your organization and the Central community
  • Serves as an ambassador in your organization for programs or projects that directly impact the Central community
  • Serves as a Cleveland Central Promise Ambassador

You may nominate up to two individuals from your organization. Please submit all nominations by Wednesday, November 7.

 Selected champions and nominating organizations will be notified via email on November 9. Champions and nominating organizations will be honored at the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood Advisory Council meeting:

  • Date: Wednesday, November 14
  • Location: Friendly Inn, 2386 Unwin Road
  • Time: 4 – 6 p.m.

If you have someone in mind, please complete the nomination form and submit to Richaun Bunton, education performance manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood:  rbunton@socfcleveland.org.

Thank you and we look forward to receiving your nominations.

Ambassadors celebrate Central’s ‘unsung heroes’

Ambassadors celebrate Central’s ‘unsung heroes’

On June 24, Promise ambassadors and residents of the Central neighborhood gathered to honor those who have contributed to Central’s rich history and future.

Notable attendees at the event included Cleveland mayor and Central resident Frank Jackson and Cleveland city councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland. The gathering, called the “Unsung Heroes Awards” was supported by Burten Bell Carr Development Inc., Neighborhood Connections and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

Honorees in each category included:

Unsung Heroes of Central – Past

  • Leola Wilson
  • Geraldine Hunter
  • Mildred Lowe
  • Bernice Ford
  • Pernel Jones Sr.
  • Inez Thompson
  • Mary Gray
  • Sarah Divens
  • Paul Arnold

Unsung Heroes of Central – Present

  • Jerome Calloway
  • Ramiasha Muhammad
  • Andrea Nadine Gray
  • Thomas Norris
  • Denise Jackson
  • Edwina Jackson
  • Leroy Carter
  • Richgina Jeff-Carter
  • Betty Worley
  • Jerome Baker
  • Theodora Baker
  • LaQueta Worley-Bell
  • Harold Alexander
  • Rose Alexander
  • Tim Willis

Unsung Heroes of Central – Future

  • Milian Wilder
  • Abyssina Jones
  • Wannetta Allen
  • Lametris Joiner
  • Pamela Caldwell
  • Beverly Collier
  • Richard Brown
  • Dawanna Brown

Congratulations to all of Central’s “Unsung Heroes!”

CentralCelebration_table2 CentralCelebration_table CentralCelebration_room2 CentralCelebration_room CentralCelebration_table3

Magazine Recognizes Ambassador

DeloresGrayWomanofDistinctionOur own, Delores Gray, was featured in a recent issue of Women of Distinction Magazine. Delores is a tireless community leader in Cleveland Central and one of the original Promise Ambassadors. She was recognized with a plaque featuring the article at the Promise Advisory Board meeting in January. We’re glad to see Delores recognized for all her great work!

Welcome and Thanks to Advisory Board Leaders

Welcome to Woodrow Whitlow, former director of NASA Glenn Research Center, as the new chair of the Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board and Latisha James, executive director of local government and community relations at Case Western Reserve University, as the new vice chair of the board.

Special thanks to Dr. Giesele Greene for her service as chair of the Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board.