Award program celebrates local advocates for mental illness!
On November 3, The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation hosted its inaugural Impact Awards reception and dinner at the Ralph Regula Conference Center at NEOUCOM in Rootstown. More than 250 guests attended to honor individuals who have a passionate commitment to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses and reduce stigma. The individuals recognized bring dignity, respect and friendship into the lives of many. During the event, many guests took advantage of the opportunity to walk the red carpet.
Hosted by Rick Kellar, President of the Foundation, the first annual event celebrated eight people who have distinguished themselves with significant community contributions. A short video was shown of each honoree, who received custom glass art sculptures and framed certificates.
Award for Innovation: University of Mount Union psychology professor Tamara Daily was lauded for innovative teaching to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. She created and teaches Movies and Madness, which explores the ways people with mental illnesses, as well as those who treat them, have been portrayed in popular films. Students in this highly popular course then develop materials to use in their communities to decrease prejudice and promote awareness of psychological disorders and their treatments.
Award for Transformation: Shianne Eagleheart, head of the Red Bird Center in Cambridge and The Rev. John M. Schluep, pastor of First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, were saluted for their work as partners in a veterans ministry, Warrior's Journey Home: Listen –Speak-Heal, that cares for the heart and soul of the people. The ministry supports the veteran, their families and the community organizations that are affected by military service, deployment and the issues they face returning home. A community that welcomes and embraces their service can bring hope and healing to some of our most deserving and distressed members.
Award for Commitment: Father/son construction company owners John and Theodore Stathopoulos of Akron, were honored for their dedication to Choices, an Akron social center. During a renovation project at the center they befriended the folks and wanted to bring them a sense of family and togetherness. They prepared and enjoyed a Greek meal with over 60 people. Their belief of sharing food demonstrates the feeling of community and mutual values. It represents friendship, generosity and comfort. Since their first meal together, John and Theo have returned to offer their continued support and friendship.
Award for Imagination: Husband and wife Dennis O'Connell and Holly Barkdoll, were recognized for using creativity and education to bring home positive messages for youth through the Magical Theater Company in Barberton. One recent production “The Secret Life of Girls” dealt with social issues of relational aggressiveness and cyber-bullying. They turned the play into a touring production to expand its reach into many schools throughout Northeast Ohio. The productions serve as catalysts for starting conversations between youth and their families on many sensitive issues kids are dealing with today.
Compass Award: Barry Klein, owner of Klein's Pharmacy in Cuyahoga Falls, was presented the highest award for a business owner whose ''leadership and involvement promotes the quality and improvement of overall health and wellness of others, particularly advancing recovery for persons living with mental illness.'' His pharmacy staff provides training to behavioral health staff about medications and their side effects. He has a long history of providing needed medications to indigent clients often free of charge. Together with his wife Anne, a pharmacist and manager at the Community Support Services location, they have a strong passion for serving the mentally ill.
This exciting event brought together representatives from local mental health systems, the arts and education communities to celebrate the work and lives of exceptional people living in Northeast Ohio making an Impact on others.