More than 150 alumni, funders and friends of Neighborhood Leadership Institute gathered Friday December 5ht to celebrate a year of community and collaboration at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Beachwood. The event team selected alumna Bonnie Paul of NLC 27 for the John L. Cox award, and the Cleveland State University Black Studies Department for the Community Partner Award.

Bonnie Paul serves The Benjamin Rose Institute as a social worker. A graduate of Cleveland State University with a masters in community health education, Ms. Paul is a certified health educator and member of the Ohio Society for Public Health Education, and the Neighborhood Leadership Institute Alumni Team. Ms. Paul is the co-founder of Hindsight View initiative, which focuses on holistic health and welfare while addressing the factors that influence the whole person—culture, race, self confidence, knowledge and attitudes. Hindsight View’s current project is “Soul Food Junkie” partnering with Vel Scott’s Healthy You to teach seniors to prepare simple, economical dishes and promote healthy eating.

Ms. Paul is a tireless advocate, reaching not just seniors but also youth through mentoring programs, and the wider community through her writing and publishing as well as service on numerous advisory boards and committees.

Cleveland State University’s Black Studies Department, through the leadership of chair Michael R. Williams, PhD and the dedication of staffer Renee Evans, has been instrumental in the implementation of our youth engagement programs. Twice a month, January-April, the department and its Howard A. Mims African American Cultural Center host students participating in Youth Leadership Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson’s initiative to provide personal and professional development to 110 young people employed at city recreation centers.

The department supports our youth civics program, Future Leaders of the World, by providing space, dedicated staff and technology, as well as hosting health summits and our Youth Solutions Congress throughout the year. The support and experience of the university setting is critical to helping hundreds of youth envision themselves in college, and their responsiveness and support of youth engagement is outstanding.

The event also featured musical performances by Mikhaela LaShawn. Check out the event photos, here.