Sunday, November 18, 2007

Her family is proud of her

Sometimes, good deeds do get noticed

Ten Minnesotans are to be honored today by the McKnight Foundation for their work in serving others.

By Bob Von Sternberg, Star Tribune
November 14, 2007

From Pelican Rapids to Brooklyn Park, they have poured their energy into helping refugees, immigrants, the young and the old.

For their efforts, 10 Minnesotans will be recognized today with an award from the McKnight Foundation.

They will receive the 2007 Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Service, named for the foundation's late president.

Given since 1985, the awards honor volunteers or employees in Minnesota who, in the foundation's words, "have demonstrated an exceptional personal commitment to helping others in their communities but who have received little or no public recognition."

The recipients are to receive $7,500 each at a private ceremony in Minneapolis this afternoon.

Here are the recipients:

• Brooklyn Park resident Ada Beh emigrated from Liberia 20 years ago and volunteers to help newly arrived African women and their families adjust to their new home. She is a co-founder of the Minnesota African Women's Association, an organization that serves women from all African nations.

• Pelican Rapids resident Johanna Christianson volunteers to help immigrants and refugees in her hometown, where she has lived since moving from Amsterdam 31 years ago. Since 1995, she has served as president of the city's multicultural committee.

• Minneapolis resident Virginia Clark helped create the Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association, which has created statewide support for grandparents and other relatives raising children. A former executive secretary for the Minneapolis district, she has served as the association's president and secretary.

• Minneapolis resident Charlnitta Ellis served for 15 years as director of The City Inc.'s sexually transmitted disease prevention program and continues to work in an outreach capacity with young African Americans who are homeless, runaways and gang members.

• St. Louis Park resident Bernice Cowl Gordon, 91, has volunteered at health care facilities serving the elderly for more than 20 years. A former kindergarten teacher, she also has established programs documenting Jewish history in the Upper Midwest and a tuition fund for Russian immigrant children.

• Duluth resident Rachel Kincade helps about 700 poor and homeless young people a year as executive director of Life House. Working with other organizations, it has established a permanent housing option for homeless young people and three transitional facilities.

• Minneapolis resident Darcy Knight established the Arizona Bridge Project 14 years ago in an attempt to help teenaged girls in the arts. The center has provided classes to more than 1,200 girls.

• Minneapolis resident Barbara Lewis is an advocate for the Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis, helping women and their children find safe housing and navigate legal proceedings. She also runs Operation Change, providing safe houses and resources for abuse victims.

• Northfield resident Mary F. Nelson has worked for young people in Rice County as an editor and designer for MELD, a social service organization focused on parenting and child development. She also has been a foster parent of more than 75 children.

• St. Cloud resident Mark Ochu is a founding member of the Community Anti-Racism Education initiative at St. Cloud State University. He also has served as president of the St. Cloud NAACP, helping pursue rights violation complaints.


Lori said...

What glorious happy news for Pelican Rapids and all of Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

No one deserves it more!! Way to go Johanna!!!!! Bob Kohler

Anonymous said...

Way to go Johanna! You are the best! Nanette Albright

Anonymous said...

Some of us expend significant time finding fault, complaining or wishing we were somewhere else. One among us is remarkable in her effort to find and honor the good in all of us.

When she sees an opportunity to celebrate who we are as a community or a problem we can solve together she expends unbelievable energy in realizing that opportunity. She is also faithful in prayer for our community.

Our thanks to the person who nominated her for the a McKnight Foundation Human Service Award which she received this week.

Congratulations Johanna!

Joe & Nancy Hilber

Apple Betty said...

Congratulations! Your endless effort and energy have not only transformed Pelican Rapids but also serve as an example to the rest of Minnesota and the nation of what really matters in this world.

This award is a big deal! Thank you for all of your work. It really has made a difference in so many people's lives.