Heroes of Compassion
2017 Heroes of Compassion
Nominations are in the selection process. Watch for the list of 2017 Heroes.
Congratulations to our 2016 Heroes of Compassion
Lilian Ann Briggs, Promise House Project
Lilian is a dynamic leader, focusing her work around homeless and poverty alleviation. She is the Executive Director for Promise House an initiative serving homeless and housing insecure youth. She is a rallying force in community, creating the Youth Engagement Committee with area stakeholders to address in real time the needs of young people who are experiencing homelessness. She operates a safe ride program and street team doing outreach and getting resources to young people who need them when they need them.
Stephen MacDonald, Bridges Out of Poverty
Stephen is the coordinator of the Bridges Out of Poverty program for Lucas County. He is providing leadership to establish needed infrastructure for eliminating poverty among ethnic, generational, social, and educational areas. Groups led by Stephen include people from business, education/training, faith communities, and social services.
Celina Stevens, 1Matters
Going from homelessness to Mayor of Tent City, from F’s to A’s & B’s, all within 12 months, was the result not of Celina taking, but rather her giving. From volunteering with the United Way, 1Matters, and every Saturday morning to those who come to the Saturday Morning Community Picnic. She would make and bag popcorn Friday night with motivational messages, and then on Saturday morning give them to all who were there, proving again: When you feel you matter to no one, just go matter to someone.
Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission
Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission has multiple locations providing multi-faceted compassionate services to those in need. They have a women's shelter, a men's shelter, an Outreach Center, Mall and Mission. Mission Mall is for the needs of the entire community not just the homeless. Anyone may shop, with no ID required for clothing, shoes, and household items. The Women's Shelter fulfills physical and spiritual needs and provides hope with compassion for mothers, as well as their children. The Men's Shelter provides help and hope freely dispersed to those in their most desperate times of need. The Mission follows the example of Jesusand provides physical and spiritual needs through Chapel Services, daily meals and basic human necessities.
Woody and Judy Trautman, MultiFaith Council of NW Ohio
The Trautmans are the founders and sparkplugs of the MultiFaith movement in Toledo area. They provided the Vision and impetus for Toledo to become an official Compassionate City. They share a love of people of all faiths, races, classes, ethnicities and a deep desire to bring them together to get to know and appreciate one another. Their low key but effective leadership style affirms and draws out the abilities and skills of others, and appeals to and draws in competent, dedicated leaders from the community.
Water for Ishmael
Water for Ishmael operates The American School for Women and Children which teaches English as a second language to women who come from all parts of the world. There is a preschool to prepare the students’ children to enter kindergarten in American schools. Many of the women are from the Middle East. Many are refugees fleeing from the turmoil in their home country. Several on the staff speak Arabic, so students feel loved and are comfortable and anxious to learn.
Connie Christiansen - St. Baldrick’s Foundation
8th grader, Connie has been a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s since she was 9 years old. St. Baldrick’s funds research to treat and cure childhood cancer. Its head shaving events also provide locks for wigs for adult cancer patients. Connie has shaved at St. Baldrick's events 4 times now – raising over $4500 in pledges. Her most recent event was in January, 2015. In March of this month, she shaved her own head to show alliance with her 8th grade math teacher Tiffany Townsend (at Perrysburg Junior High) who is battling breast cancer.
Andra Crisp & Evelyn Johnson - “Good Samaritans”
Toledoans received a modern, local version of the Parable of the Good Samaritan on February 1, 2015, when Andra and Evelyn stopped in the middle of a level-3 snow storm to help a stranger who had run into a light pole. Responding to instructions from a 911 call, they broke into the car, pulled the man out and started CPR. The man turned out to be Mayor D. Michael Collins who died about a week later. Both Andra and Evelyn insist that they are not heroes, but just did what they believe all should do – help those in need.
Dr. Lorna Gonsalves - Creative Peaceful Resistance (CPR)©
In listening and learning sessions with urban youth from Toledo’s neighborhoods, youth were able to express their frustration following the intrusion of Neo-Nazis in 2005. Together they created the program now called Creative Peaceful Resistance. This program connects specially trained local artists with individuals from marginalized groups to work together to create visual images that reflect the concerns, hopes, and suggestions of these groups. All CPR murals are youth-informed, youth-guided, and youth-approved.
Andy Stepnick - Toledo Bikes!
Toledo Bikes! supports all who cycle, whether by choice or necessity, by repurposing discarded bicycles. Toledo Bikes! runs bike repair and build-a-bike classes and provides workshop space with tools, a repair stand, and used parts available. Each year fifty youth in the Justice System learn job readiness skills by building a bicycle to keep thanks to partnership with the Community Integration and Training for Employment (CITE) program and Gone Giving funding.
Trinity Episcopal Church - Blanket Blitzes
Since 2004, Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Toledo has provided warm blankets to shelters, hospitals etc. to literally "Blanket Toledo with Love". Trinity parishioners, and other volunteers, have tied no-sew blankets during annual "Blanket Blitzes" distributing nearly 5,000 blankets in the decade. Tent City organizers say the blankets are very warm and make welcome winter bed covers for people in shelters or sleeping rough. Other recipients include Mom’s House, Homeless Vets, and Harbor House.
Congratulations to our 2014 Heroes of Compassion
Our 2014 Heroes were honored at the 13th Annual MultiFaith Banquet, Sunday, April 27, 3-7 PM, at the Franciscan Center at Lourdes University.
Teresa, Janice, Mindy and Debbie for Alice, Anne, Melinda and Yusuf Ali
Rep. Teresa Fedor, Human Trafficking Legislation
Teresa Fedor has spent over 8 years in the legislature advocating against the horrific realities of labor and sex trafficking in her district and across the state. Her efforts in the legislature, including the Safe Harbor Act of 2012 are making a real difference in the lives of trafficking victims. Children and adults who have been commercially sexually exploited now have a support system to heal and regain their lives. Representative Fedor is currently sponsoring additional anti-human trafficking legislation, Sub H.B. 130, End Demand Act. Ending demand makes common-sense and is the natural progression of Ohio's victim centered approach to combatting human trafficking.
Janice Grimes, Quilts of Compassion
Janice Grimes founded Quilts of Compassion, which has been bringing "Hope and Encouragement to the Hurting" for 14 years. When it comes to this selfless ministry, Janice’s only reward is seeing the amazing joy and comfort that the prayer quilts bring to those who are suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually. The organization is 100% volunteer and has given almost 45,000 quilts. Janice Grimes embodies the word "compassion". Quilts of Compassion has extended their ministry from local recipients who have suffered loss or illness to victims in Joplin, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, after their devastating tornadoes, and Boston after the bombing.
Alice Mosiniak, Seagate Foodbank
Alice Mosiniak started Toledo Seagate Foodbank in her garage, because she saw seniors in her community that needed food. She soon needed more space and a warehouse was found. In 1980, Toledo Seagate was incorporated and now it serves clients and organizations in 18 counties in northwest Ohio, all at no cost to them. Through Seagate's membership network, 100,000 persons are served each month. Seagate programs include monthly packages of food to eligible seniors, youth gardening, gleaning, vertical gardening, and supplemental food for military families in need. Her daughters, Deb Vas and Mindy Rapp, who carry on the work, are honored to receive this posthumous award in their mother's name.
Dr. Anne Ruch, SewHope / Kids Against Hunger
Dr. Anne Ruch is a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist in Northwest Ohio. She is the executive director of SewHope, an organization created to improve public health, nutrition, education, cervical cancer prevention and spiritual development for the people of Peten, Guatemala. She founded Kids Against Hunger - Toledo, which provides nutritious packaged meals to undernourished children, shipping food to the villages of Guatemala. Anne is both an international hero and a local hero as well. She works with LifeLine Toledo, which is deeply involved in collaborative ministry to the poor. She is the Medical Director of their mobile medical unit.
Yusuf Ali and Melinda Sutton, Masjid Al-Islam
For five years Joe (Yusuf Ali) and his wife Melinda Sutton have been preparing and serving meals for the neighborhood people. Melinda prepares the food at home and Yusuf takes it to the mosque, which started on Ewing St and now is at Bancroft and Cherry. He serves the food to neighborhood people who walk in and either eat at the mosque or take it home in carryout containers. A private individual financially sponsors this program, while Yusuf and Melinda, sometimes assisted by his daughters and volunteers at the mosque, carry it out. About 120 meals are served on the last Saturday of each month. Yusuf also delivers 5-10 meals to people who are home bound.
Congratulations Heroes of Compassion 2013
Joe Balderas Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center
Joe has been an inspiration to many who come in contact with him. Sofia Quintero is Joe's second home often working late and weekends. His dedication to the Center and neighborhood kids makes this a calling, not a job. Joe works as crime awareness prevention coordinator for Adelante. He does frequent missionary work in Guatemala. Joe not only has great ideas, but rolls up his sleeves to help make things happen. Joe ran the Youth Works Program with 18 pre-teens last year. He also runs after school art class at Believe Center. He ran 8 weeks Organization of Latino Artists - (OLA) program for 20-25 older kids last year. He helps Charlie Johnson with boat building project for CITE Youth at Sofia Quintero. He ran the Youth Garden and Garden Enrichment program for 24 kids last year. Joe helps about 200 kids a month, including cultural tours.
Wanda Butts The Josh Project
The Josh Project was founded in memory of John-Joshua Butts, who never had a swimming lesson, could not swim and drowned at the age of 16 on August 6. 2006. His mother, Wanda Butts, founded The Josh Project, an organization that provides affordable swimming lessons and water safety training to children and their families. Wanda has been working to change a troubling statistic since the loss of her son. According to the Center of Disease Control, African-American children between the ages of five and fourteen drown at a rate almost three times higher than white children in the same age range. Since 2007, Wanda Butts and her nonprofit, The Josh Project, have helped nearly 1,200 children, most of them minorities, learn how to swim. She was chosen as one of the top ten CNN Heroes of 2012.
Liz Facey is truly a Hero of Compassion because of her deep, ongoing concern for young people in our Toledo community. She teaches in the Project 100 intervention program at Central Catholic High School, providing support to students who are academically at risk of failing the normal curriculum. Liz also volunteers in the Child Life Center at Toledo Children's Hospital. In her work there she provides respite to the nursing staff and to the parents of seriously ill infants and children by developing activities for, interacting with, or merely holding and playing with these young patients. Liz also advises the Sophomore Class Student Council at Central Catholic H.S. She is currently initiating efforts to create additional student service opportunities within the Central Catholic neighborhood.
Charlie Johnson CITE Program (Community Integration & Training for Employment)
Charlie founded the CITE Program in April 2003 to provide job readiness training, paid work experience and community service activities to youth on probation with Lucas County Juvenile Court. Some significant accomplishments are: Bike Co-op - basic skills to assemble, adjust, tune a bike in 10 hour training; Boat building project - built 7 boats, youth had paid training, learned employment skills and confidence in themselves; CIFT Youth Program - received certificates Level 1 Food Handler Training; Re-entry programs at Oneida for juvenile offenders on probation/parole; TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] - 8 week block grant program with Job and Family Services and Toledo GROWS; and Youth Works Program at Sofia Quintero.
Sara Mattson Read for Literacy/Creating Young Readers
One of three programs under “Read for Literacy” is the “Creating Young Readers” program aimed at preschoolers ages 3-5. This program links adults who have a passion for reading with 3 or 4 selected young children on a one to one basis. The purpose of the program is not to teach reading skills but to develop a love of books, reading and learning. The children have some deficiencies in being kindergarten ready; for example many aren’t read to at home on a regular basis. The CYR evaluations & studies show that the CYR program has a very positive impact on the children who participate.
Rev Melissa Micham Glenwood Lutheran Church Giving Store
Begun in 2011, The Giving Store is open the second Saturday and the fourth Wednesday each month. It is staffed with all volunteers from Glenwood Lutheran, as well as Augsburg and Bethany Lutheran. It is filled with all kinds of gently used items in good conditon donated to the store. Nicely displayed and organized you will find jewelry and purses plus toys and toasters. Coats, shoes, clothing for men, women and kids are on display. Children's books, linens and quilts are available. Dishes, pots 'n pans, and some kitchen appliances are there as well. What makes this all unusual is that everything is free. No charge. No cash or credit card required. There are no requirements, just a simple registration for a family. It is a warm, welcoming place. Sometimes blood pressure screenings are available, as well as breast cancer information. This congregation of less than a hundred also has a community garden.
John has built better community relations between all Americans, Arabs, Christians and Jews at City, State and National level. He tirelessly builds racial and religious harmony and has been in on all peace initiatives at all levels. He has been extremely helpful to Muslims who are basically shy, to build vocal and caring relations in this community. He is co-Founder of many organizations, Arab and American; one of 1st Presidents of Islamic Center; responsible for 1st mosque in Ohio and been the face of the Arab/Muslim Community for decades. He has done an extreme amount of charitable work for all types of causes. He began the collaboration between UT and American University of Beirut. He has received many, many city/community awards for his compassionate efforts.
Lisa Strawbridge UU Kids Care Club and Good Night Bags
Lisa Strawbridge is the organizer and guiding light of the UU Kids Care Club at First Unitarian Church of Toledo. She envisioned and designed a program that provides youth the opportunity to both understand and contribute to social justice in our community. Children of all ages meet weekly to discuss social justice topics. The Club's primary project is the creation and delivery of Good Night Bags to the American Red Cross and YWCA. These emergency overnight bags are provided to children in the Toledo area. Each custom printed bag contains a blanket, stuffed animal, socks, underwear, 2 books, a toothbrush, and tooth paste. The UU kids do all fundraising, packing, and delivery. Staff at both the Red Cross and YWCA praise the program and indicate that the children in their care love to receive the bags.
First Heroes of Compassion were honored at the 11th Annual MultiFaith Banquet on Mar. 11, 2012, at the Franciscan Center Lourdes University. Photos Here. Video Here.First Inductees 2012:
· Sr. Mary Angelita Abair
-decades of work central Toledo poor, marginalized, imprisoned, and disabled
· Cherry Street Mission
-emergency shelter, food and other assistance
· Dr. Lawrence V. Conway,
-medical equipment and supplies to many deserving countries and the Medical Hall of Fame
· Judge Charles J. Doneghy
-inner city youth mentor and support for prostate cancer awareness
· Fr. Martin Donnelly
-founding chair of Erase the Hate Toledo and Central City Ministries and many other organizations
· Hannah’s Socks
-founded by a four year old girl, supplied 200,000+ pairs socks to the homeless last year
· Jewish Family Service Food Bank
-food, supplies and moral support to the needy in the general community
· Ken Leslie & Pat Lewandowski,
-working to change the perception of the homeless
· Lifeline Toledo
-support for inner city homeless, including mobile medical support
· The Ronald McDonald House Charities
-provides a free home away from home for families accessing specialized medical care for their children
· Martha Pituch, RN,
-founded and developed a nursing clinic to provide primary health care for homeless persons
· Devorah (Friedrich) Shulamit,
-founder of the first interfaith blood drive in the nation, now in its 25th year
· Sr. Grace Ellen & Sr. Jeremias,
-developed a nationally recognized four-season polyhouse to provide food for the needy year round
· Mike Szuberla, ToledoGROWs
-provides support for 150 community gardens and re-entry and proactive programs for at-risk youth
· St Paul’s Community Center
-daily hot meals, emergency shelter, and other services for the homeless
· St. Vincent de Paul Conference
-tangible, confidential, no-questions-asked assistance to those in need
· Toledo Area Ministries,
-12 food pantries, serve over 80,000 clients per year
· Toledo Mountain Mentors
-one-on-one mentoring and outdoor experiences for at-risk teens