On 8/22/14, Hollywood marketing executive, Charles Belk, was wrongfully arrested in Beverly Hills for mistaken identity. He was detained, handcuffed, booked, denied a phone call, denied being told his charges, denied access to his attorney, jailed for six hours for Armed Bank Robbery and held under a $100,000 bail. Although he was released that evening and told that he was only detained and not arrested, an arrest record appeared on the LA Sheriff’s website and a legal process had to be followed to get the arrest record sealed. Charles Belk, has gone from handcuffed curbside to M.A.D. — Making A Difference, by inspiring implementation of new laws that alleviate the burden and costs to the innocent to remove wrongful arrest records. He has gone from adversity to advocacy to achievement. Belk launched a non-profit, fittingthedescription.org, and his nationwide #AutoErase Initiative, to educate and inform those about the perils of wrongful arrests.
My mother is a pillar of our neighborhood due to the love and kindness she shows towards her neighbors. Her most recent achievement is finding a home for and reuniting our elderly Joseph Dartez. Mr. Dartez had been living in just the living room of his house because most of it had collapsed following Hurricane Katrina. My mother began looking out for Mr. Dartez at the beginning of the following year. My mother aided Mr. Dartez with whatever he needed including paying bills or just getting around town. Mr. Dartez’s house was so bad that it should have been condemned years ago and he was still paying a mortgage. Mr. Dartez had been estranged from his family for more than twenty years. My mother began the process of relocating Mr. Dartez a few days before Thanksgiving and it ended just before Christmas. He now lives with his family happily.
Candace is a humble, selfless individual who looks beyond what she sees. She always looks at the heart of a person, the goal of the project, the need of families, or just what does God wants her to do in a situation. She faces danger as she tries to save girls from a life of drugs, abuse and sexual trafficking. She has looked death in the face to save lives. Candace has single handedly fed a homeless shelter by gathering friends and family to cook and take the food to the shelter so people would not miss a meal that day. Her vocal talent is mind blowing. She won Atlanta’s Christian Artist of the Year 2015. She put on a benefit concert for women of a Shelter who had been abused, raped, and more she also gave them a beauty day. Candace is remarkable and she does all this while working full time.
Rosalind Evers volunteers several times a month at 2 different prisons, offering addiction counseling to the women’s facility and then spiritual services at the men’s facility. She teaches 6th grade Monday through Friday and still finds the time to pour into the souls of those who are in correctional facilities. She gives of herself daily and then does it all over again through community service. She is a hard worker, mother, community leader, and friend. She is deserving of the Unsung Hero award because she gives and never expects anything back in return.
This young lady two years ago established a non-profit organization call Lending Hands Inc. where she tirelessly serves the homeless community. She provides weekly meals to various cities; supplying them also with clothing, blankets, socks, toiletries. She always says the little things we take for granted. Her words enrich our community. She provides 24 hour support. Her mottos is: “please call whenever you are in need.” She assists individuals with transitioning from the street. She provides job resources, resume writing, and transportation if necessary to job interviews. She recently added "Give a book Foundation" where she gets volunteers to read children while supplying with them with books. She says regardless of her serving and giving back, the most important thing she does is give Prayer and hope to the misfortunate. Lending Hands Inc. is “Giving Back One Finger at a Time.”
Felecia is the founder and President of The Chocolate M.I.N.T. Foundation (TCMF). MINT stands for Mentor, Invest, Nurture and Train. In 2009, Felecia recognized a lack of affordable enrichment programs for children whose parents had little to no economic resources. TCMF serves more than 500 kids annually in after school and summer programs. The summer camp is STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) oriented. TCMF also holds a weekly food pantry where approximately 277,325 families received help annually. Every Christmas, there is an annual party held for the children where they receive gifts, visit Santa, eat and are entertained. Felecia is always giving while often forgetting about her needs. Along with starting this great effort Felecia battles Sickle Cell and has just been diagnosed cancer free. She is a remarkable woman who doesn’t seek or get enough recognition for advancing her community!
Sylvester "Sunshine" Lee has been inspiring youth through his African Dance Troupe, Community Performance Ensemble for over 35 years. Approximately five years ago, he purchased an old school building in the city of East St. Louis, IL and start rehabbing it as the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center (SCAC) where he promotes the teaching and inspiring of youth in the community through arts, cultural and educational programs. He is also a Community worker for pay. But when he leaves his job, he heads for the SCAC to continue his duties every weekday until at least 8pm and some weekends. I think his biggest challenge is the SCAC where he is the teacher, maintenance worker, takes trash out, repairs roof, drains water from the rain flooded basement and other duties. With limited funds and donations, he has to spend his money to help keep the center open. He deserves a break today.
Nina received a volunteer award while she was on active duty military service. Now the reward is through her self-worth as she continues to volunteer in her church, around her neighborhood/community helping the elderly, carrying groceries, doing yard work, tutoring, reading to children, chaperoning children, working at domestic violence centers, day care facilities, food pantries and shelters. You can always count on her to give you the right advice. Nina is the most faithful, trustworthy and reliable friend that everyone desires to one day come across in life. She has the drive and motivation to make it to EVERY finish line. Every obstacle she‘s encountered has given her strength to help others around her appreciate truly the important things in life. Nina teaches others to carry all scars like badges of honor.
Mr. Ray Palmer is a commercial construction business owner in Kenner, Louisiana. Mr. Palmer believes in supporting students with furthering their education beyond high school and he demonstrated it by starting the Crown Group Scholarship Foundation. In 1997 Mr. Ray Palmer who is the President of Crown Roofing Services, Inc. partnered with a local church to offer scholarships to deserving students. The scholarships from the Crown Group Scholarship Foundation are aimed at the “middle of the academic road” students who do not meet the requirements of most scholarships. Mr. Palmer’s vision of the Foundation is to give those students a chance to develop into successful adults. To this point, the Foundation has awarded over 157 scholarships (over $392,500.00 in awards) to students to continue their educations. For further information about the Foundation, please visit: http://www.crowngroupscholarshipfoundation.org
Nikita Rose dedicates herself tirelessly to the diverse needs of her inner-city students who often lack the motivation to excel academically. Ms. Rose is often forthcoming about her adversities as a child and passionately shares with her students how she overcame the stigma of being a teen parent raised in poverty; thus providing the inspiration most students need to believe they can overcome adversity as well. Her intrinsic ability to recognize potential in her students drives them to emulate her professionalism as a role model and for her thankless hours spent outside the classroom, providing supplies out of pocket, organizing cultural field trips, transporting to activities, tutoring struggling students; she should be rewarded for her efforts. This is an educator who exemplifies true dedication to the field and promotes excellence in her students’ academic endeavors.