CANTON, OH: On October 20. 2016. Coming Together Stark County (CTSC) will recognize Stark County leaders arid advocates by- awarding Diversity and Inclusion Awards to recognize six individuals car organizations for their positive pioneering and consistent impact affirming diversity, equity and inclusion in Stark County during its 18th Annual Awards Gala held can October 20th at La Pizzaria at 5:30 p.m.
John Spitzer Leadership Award: This distinction is named its honor of CTSC past-president and founding member, Rabbi John Spitzer. This year, the award is presented to Monsignor Lewis Gaetano who currently serves as Pastor of Our Lady of Peace School. Formerly, Monsignor Gaetano served as president of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown's Stark County Regional Catholic School System where he provided leadership to the Catholic faith community. Now, Monsignor focuses his time and attention on the students who attend Our Lady of Peace School providing support and spiritual leadership to the OLOP family.
Public Service Award: This year's Public Service Award is presented to Officer Lamar Sharpe a police officer with the City of Canton Police Department for 16 years. Officer Sharpe is a well-recognized community fixture because he mentors children and youth, recognizes their achievements and provides tangible support with book bags and school supplies. In his spare time, Officer Sharpe is involved in The Young Scholars Mentorship program and serves as are Assistant Coach at Glen Oak.
Diversity Initiative Award for an organization: TRIAD Deaf Services was found in 2012 when services for Deaf population in Stark County were discontinued at one of the community organizations. Members of the Deaf community took matters into their own hands and began organizing a formal organization to provide services to Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and the Deaf-Blind citizens of Stark County. Over the past four years, TRIAD has emerged as a multifaceted organization that provides advocacy, interpretation services, American Sign Language classes, Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation referrals in not only Stark County, but Carroll and Tuscarawas Counties as well.
Diversity Initiative Award for individual: In her role of Community Engagement and Youth Services Coordinator at Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, Jessica Zavala demonstrates commitment and excellence engaging with system partners and community stakeholders to meet mental health recovery need of Stark County's diverse communities. Ms. Zavala has expanded StarkMHAR Care Network's involvement around cultural and linguistic competence. Ms. Zavala is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer, which enables her work with youth and young adults throughout the county.
Martha Lottman Memorial Award: Named in honor of founding CTSC hoard member Martha Lottman who devoted her life to service, generosity and youth, this award is presented to Elec Simon, noted musician and educator. He works tirelessly to bring the message of inclusion, diversity, tolerance and respect to all people. Mr. Simon spreads his message through anti-bullying workshops provided in local schools.
Legacy ward: The Reporter newspaper is being recognized for it pioneering and long-standing efforts to provide media coverage for African American communities in Summit and Stark Counties. Founded in 1969, the paper has brought specific attention to African American concerns in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Medina, Warren, and surrounding areas. As The Reporter's website states, "Valued added Public Relations accrue benefits due to the nature of the Black community's perception of advertising as recognition,support, and a direct invitation." Furthermore, "Black newspapers have a longer "table life" due to the symbolic and social sense of interracial networking." Consistently. The Reporter has covered CTSC major events through its Canton-based reporter, Patricia Henderson.