Shelley Miller (1954-1994) was a close friend to many, neighborhood and community activist, and citizen of the world. For several years she used the ECM kitchen to prepare weekly rice and beans dinners to raise awareness and funds to support freedom movements in Central America. She directed her estate to support her heartfelt causes, and it has funded renovations to this kitchen as an enduring tribute to her passion for freedom and justice. The ECM kitchen is dedicated to Shelly Miller. http://etext.ku.edu/view?docId=ksrlead/ksrl.kc.millershelley.xml
Ed Dutton (1924-2002) served as director of several community social service organizations, met a worked with Cesar Chavez and was one of the original founders of the Lawrence Interdenominational Kitchen (LINK) the opened in Lawrence in 1985.
Germany was responsible for deporting over 80,000 French Jews to the death camps. Eva Edmonds, living in Lawrence, Kansas, survived as a hidden child in the south of France. After she move to the city she was tireless in her efforts to promote peace. She wrote letters to the newspaper, spoke whenever asked and worked for us all.
Simply Equal Coalition
Simply Equal is a grassroots coalition that formed to petition the city of Lawrence to add the words “sexual orientation” to its Human Relations Ordinance. In May 1995, Lawrence passed the “Simply Equal Amendment,” thus becoming the first city in Kansas to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Simply Equal was formed in 1991 and was led by the newly-organized Freedom Coalition. Active supporters were the Lawrence National Organization for Women chapter, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters, Ecumenical Christian Ministries and the KU LesBiGay Services group. Lynne Green and Ben Zimmerman were co-chairs of Simply Equal.
Side note: Lawrence actually became the second municipality in Kansas to adopt such legislation. Wichita was the first in the1970's, but their anti-discrimination legislation was repealed in a referendum vote shortly after its installation!
Petey Cerf In the late 1960's, “Petey” Cerf, a Lawrence activist, was doing her usual weekly book reading session for a bedridden nursing home resident when she heard another resident in a nearby room cry out for help. One of the nursing staff, who was walking by, shouted back, “Shut up!” and kept on walking. Petey was distressed at how roughly the nurse had treated the hurting resident. Two days later she was stunned to read the obituary of the same resident. Saddened and infuriated, Petey told her friends what had happened, and that was the start of the nursing home reform movement in Kansas.
Within a few years Petey had garnered enough interest to hold a statewide meeting in Wichita to discuss concerns about nursing home care. A delegation from that meeting visited several dozen nursing homes across the state; they found abuse and neglect almost everywhere. They saw residents slumped in wheelchairs, groggy from drugs. They smelled urine soaked clothes on residents. The group testified to the Kansas Legislature and the Governor about the poor conditions they had observed. Elected leaders believed them, and several state laws for nursing home reform were passed. For example, now nurses’ aides are required to have 90 hours of training before they can provide direct care. The ad hoc group incorporated as Kansas Advocates for Better Care. This organization, with the strong support of Petey Cerf, remain a very effective voice for appropriate care and respect for nursing home residents.
Women’s Transitional Care Services Transitional Care Services (WTCS) provides safe shelter, peer counseling, and advocacy and other services to survivors of domestic violence in Douglas, Franklin and southern Jefferson counties. Founded in 1976, WTCS was the first battered woman’s shelter in Kansas. Hundreds if not thousands of women and children in crisis and at risk of personal harm have received protection, comfort and assistance with moving beyond their difficult situations. WTCS works for peace in the world by elimination of violence in our communities. WTCS is dedicated to the empowerment of women and children, the creation of peaceful safe space, the promotion of equality and respect for all people, the appreciate of difference, and the social action necessary to achieve these goals.
Sister Barbara Wieseler
(for Mother to Mother, Lawrence Catholic Center)
Independence, Inc. Independence, Inc. is a non-profit organization that is the major source of support for people with disabilities in our community. The program was founded in 1978 and was able to hire staff the next year. Funds were tight. Their first lift-equipped van was purchased at auction for $25. Funding has always been a concern, but they have been able to expand programs steadily and dramatically. In 1984, Independence, Inc. was named one of the nation’s five outstanding centers for independent living.
Independence, Inc. has served and advocated for persons with a wide variety of disabilities. They have provided accessible housing and have advocated for barrier-free buildings, such as the Holcom Park Recreation Center in 1989. They have provided help with transportation, transitional living, provided assistive devices, psychotherapy, job counseling and training. They have introduced many clients to the use of computers and have helped others improve their computer skills. In 1990 they were part of a precedent-setting case to obtain Medicaid funding for a more effective but expensive anti-psychotic medication, Clozaril. They long have been involved in assisting clients with the tedious process of applying for social security disability. We are very pleased to present this award and further recognition to Independence, Inc. for their many years of service to members of our community who have extra challenges and needs that previously were not being met.
Hilda Enoch A longtime resident of Lawrence, Hilda was a founder and the first President of the Children’s Hour, the forerunner of both Headstart and the Ballard Community Center. The healthy development of hundreds of disadvantaged children has been the happy outcome of these efforts. In 1968, she went on to help create Small World, Inc. and served as its first President. Besides catering to the early learning needs of pre-school children from more than 40 countries, Small World also focuses on teaching their mothers English, arts and crafts, and the general skills necessary to survive in a strange country. She helped establish the Older Women’s League in 1988, an organization concerned with housing, transportation and health care issues of older citizens. Hilda also has worked actively with the following organizations:
The Lawrence Coalition for Homeless Concerns
The Mainstream Coalition
Women’s Transitional Care Services
The League of Women Voters
Friends of KU Women’s Studies
The Lawrence Ministerial Alliance
Ballard Community Center
Lawrence and Douglas County Advocacy Council on Aging
Lawrence Partnership for Children and Youth
Douglas County Detention Center (tutorial program)
What splendid lifelong contributions this woman has made to the town she makes a better place for all of us to call home!
Saunny Scott Saunny was described in her nomination as “a quiet, persevering advocate for peace and justice in our community for many years.” She was an early leader in the operations of the Community Drop-In Center under the auspices of the Oread Friends Meeting and helped make a warm and caring place place available for people with nowhere else to go. She chaired the Coalition on Homeless Concerns and served for many years of the LINK board. She was a VISTA worker at the Ballard Community Center and at Health Care Access. On a personal level, for many years Saunny, as a single parent, adopted and raised children with severe disbilities from diverse backgrounds, providing them a loving and nurturing home.
Ecumenical Christian Ministries ECM has supported and promoted the cause of peace and justice issues for many years. It provides a venue for weekly forums and for workshops, lectures and meetings for a variety of groups. It sponsored a teach-in on Iraq which led to the first of many peace vigils at the County courthouse. ECM long has sponsored alternative Spring Break trips so students can volunteer as well as work with people from diverse groups. It promotes the cause of peace and social justice as well as nurturing community awareness and service by K.U. students.
Howard Baumgartel Howard was nominated for half a century of commitment to the cause of peace and justice in Lawrence and around the world. In 1976 - 77 he was a founding member of LCPJ, and he was an active member for years. As a University of Kansas professor of psychology and a Fulbright scholar lecturing in India, he focused on issues pertaining to peace and justice in the courses he taught over many years. He introduced a number of courses on issues of peace and conflict resolution in the psychology department, and he had a special interest in the development of a peace studies program at KU. After retirement he sponsored an award for KU graduate students who are undertaking dissertation research focused on peace and justice topics.
Jubilee Café The Jubilee Café was recognized for its positive and ongoing contribution to the Lawrence community by serving breakfasts twice a week at Trinity Episcopal Church for the homeless and needy. Most of the volunteers in this effort are University of Kansas students under the guidance of Reverend Joe Alford of Canterbury House. Jubilee Café offers young people a unique opportunity to become involved in community service. It offers its guests the opportunity for a good meal and leisurely conversation with each other and with the volunteers.
Pelathe Community Resource Center This Lawrence-based organization is vigorously committed to community outreach and broad-based support to Native Americans and all people with special needs. It has provided a transitional housing program, an employment project for at risk youth, food assistance programs, literacy and substance abuse programs. In addition, the Pelate Center makes room for singing and dancing—food for the soul. By sponsoring the New Dawn Native Dances, more than 80 Native American young people kept alive a vital part of their culture and heritage.
Mary Michener As a long-time member of LCPJ, Mary served as editor of the Peace Monitor and then as treasurer, and she participated in many of the marches and vigils held by LCPJ. Through her leadership of the Citizens for Public Transportation she spearheaded the successful effort to establish a public bus system in Lawrence. Lawrence had been without a system of truly public transportation for many years. She then worked on four transportation committees that oversaw and planned for various public transportation interests. She volunteered for years at the Lawrence Public Library and for Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA. All who know Mary know what a generous and accomplished person she is.
Kaw Valley Living Wage Alliance This grass roots Lawrence organization seeks to bring about economic justice for working people, particularly those who currently have no choice but to attempt to support themselves and their families on poverty wages. The Living Wage Alliance set as its goal to persuade the Lawrence City Commission to require businesses that are recipients of tax abatements from the city to pay a living wage to their employees. This simple change would eliminate one of the most harmful effects of government business subsidies, that of attracting poverty wage jobs to Lawrence. (The action by the city commission had not been achieved at the time this award was presented; but, with a new commission, a living wage ordinance was passed the following year.)
Deborah J. (Misty) Gerner Misty Gerner is a well known political scientist specializing in international relations and U.S. and comparative foreign policy. Her expertise ad work are grounded in her commitment to finding peaceful solutions which would political and economic stability for countries in conflict. Misty has made many trips to the Middle East and Palestine, lecturing, teaching and researching. She has met with many individuals from Yasser Arafat to school children and has held hands with them in peace demonstrations. In 1996 she was a member of the World Council of Churches election monitoring team in Palestine. Earlier she was on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Foundation and on the International Advisory Board for the Palestine Human Rights Information Center in Jerusalem. She has been Lawrence’s primary spokesperson on Middle Eastern and Palestinian affairs. She also has been a dedicated volunteer for Lawrence’s Interdenominational; Food Kitchen.
Kansas Audio-Reader The Audio-Reader has provided audio services for the blind since 1971. The program was one of the first radio reading services in the world. Volunteers read on air a variety of materials and provide descriptions of performances at various area venues such as the Lied Center and the Lawrence Community Theater. Services, including the required radio receivers, are available free of charge to residents of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Dave Lowenstein Dave is an artist who has been in Lawrence since 1991.He promoted a wealth of peace artwork, provided a space for meetings and brainstorming sessions and provided artistic guidance and shared materials and time to produce the works. In fact, he is known especially for collaborative murals. Dave’s own work is highly visible in Lawrence and celebrates themes of peace on earth and racial justice. His works include the Celebration of Cultures mural at 828 Massachusetts featuring hands of many colors freeing doves of peace and the Seeds mural at 901 Mississippi with the quote, “We cannot sow seeds with clenched fists.” Dave is also the co-author with Laura Jost of Kansas Murals/ A Traveler’s Guide.
Kansas Bill of Rights Defense Committee The KBRDC was very active and visible in 2003 and was committed to the protection of our civil liberties through vigorous opposition to the proposed Patriot Act. Unlike the Bush administration, the Committee built a broad based coalition of Lawrence organizations, including LCPJ, before presenting their case to the Lawrence City Commission. The Commission then voted to join many other communities throughout the U.S. in declining to cooperate with the Patriot Act.
Norman Forer Norman devoted much of his life to issues of social justice and peace. He inspired and mentored many activists in our community. He was involved with several union organizing campaigns in the 70's. He served as a mediator for the U.S. Department of Justice to promote racial harmony in Lawrence and elsewhere. He worked with Haskell Indian Nations University to retain its sovereignty. He led an unofficial delegation to Iran during the hostage crisis in 1980 to open dialogue and gather information.
Solidarity Radical Library This anarchist group was very active for years in providing workshops, training and other programs including a national conference in Lawrence. They created a library, now housed at ECM, containing materials not available elsewhere in Lawrence, and they provided meeting space for a variety of organizations and events. They organized marches and demonstrations both independently and in concert with LCPJ. They provided free meals weekly and had a free store for those in need. They provided monitoring of police activity and prisoner letter writing circles.
Loring Henderson Loring was nominated on the basis of his long time dedicated and caring service to others. He advocates tirelessly, thoughtfully and imaginatively for the homeless population in Lawrence and serves as the director of the Lawrence Community Shelter. He helped establish the Lawrence Open Shelter and the Drop-In Center, forerunners of the LCS. He was instrumental in the work of the Lawrence Task Force on Homeless Services. During ten years of leadership with Kansas City’s Redemptorist Social Services Center he helped the center grow from a parish-based food pantry and emergency assistance agency to a full social services center offering medical, legal and other help. Before that he worked on the non-profit think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and frequently volunteered at Washington, D.C. soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
Small World Small World is a non-profit program that is operated at First Presbyterian Church entirely by volunteers. This program of cultural and educational exchange was a vision of several FPC church members. It has met at the church for more than 40 years. Small World provides a fun, comfortable environment in which international women can learn or improve their English and learn about American customs and how to get along in Lawrence. American women volunteers increase their understanding of other cultures and broaden their horizons as they help those who are trying to adjust to life in a foreign country. All have the opportunity to form lasting friendships.
Kim Kreicker and Arla Jones These two women were nominated for their years of advocating for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals and educating the public on GLBT issues. Living your life as an openly GLBT person has always been an inherently brave political act. Kim and Arla not only live openly, but they have been out front in advocating for the rights of other GLBT individuals. Kim and Arla were active in Kansans for Fairness, an ad hoc group organized to oppose the marriage amendment issue in 2005. They later played key roles in the Kansas Equality Coalition. Kim served as president of BetworQ and on the board of the Douglas County Aids Project. She was the founding faculty sponsor of the first high school group for gay and lesbian students. Kim and Arla wrote a monthly column for the Lawrencian on GLBT issues. In addition, Arla served on the board of the League of Women Voters and Kim was president of the University Place Neighborhood Association.
Douglas County Chapter of the ACLU The current Douglas County chapter was formed in 2002 with Mary Davidson as President. The chapter presented a number of forums to educate the citizens of Douglas County on issues related to civil liberties. Topics included search and seizure, the Patriot Act, police relations, separation of church and state, government secrecy and the people’s right to know and others. They presented a special award to Lacey Hanson, an Oskaloosa High School student, for her story in the school newspaper about the administration that the school tried to squelch. They received 10 - 15 complaints a month on their website and tried to assist by answering questions or referring people to the proper agency or attorney.
Forrest and Donna Swall The Swalls were nominated for a lifetime of service. As they proceeded through formal studies leading to master’s degrees in Social Work, they embraced the absolute importance of achieving social justice at every level in order to assure human health, happiness and full development of potential. They have challenged discriminatory policies and ordinances in city government and within the school system. As members of the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, and especially its Social Action Committee, they both represented the congregation and encouraged actions for social justice. They also have been strong supporters of LCPJ sponsored vigils and other actions. They have become known nationally and have put on workshops dealing with social justice issues for school boards, teachers’ groups and social welfare organizations across the country.
Josh Longbottom A newcomer to Lawrence, Josh immersed himself in many of the community’s activities in support of peace and social justice. As Associate Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church he initiated a “speak out for peace” against U.S. aggression and imperialism. He became an integral part of Solidarity and Kansas Mutual Aid, and he served as liaison between Lawrence Fair Food and the Plymouth congregation. He has participated in many LCPJ actions. Josh’s good nature is charming and infectious, and he is able to connect effectively with younger members of our community.
Rebecca Woodman Now a capital appellate defender, Rebecca Woodman has worked since 1990 to defend indigents on appeal from criminal convictions. In 2001 she was a member of the legal team that won the first death penalty appeal since reinstatement of the death penalty in Kansas. In 2004 she argued an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court though the deeply divided court upheld the constitutionality of the Kansas death penalty by a 5 to 4 decision. “The criminal justice system has flaws, and we know innocent persons have been sentenced to death,” she said. “In a system where there are flaws, the death penalty falls predominantly on the poor and minorities.” She is a frequent, articulate and eloquent speaker on the death penalty and teaches a capital punishment seminar at Washburn Law School.
K.U. Peace and Conflict Studies Minor This Western Civilization program has a commitment to engender awareness of issues pertaining to peace and conflict both in the university and beyond. In addition to the academic curriculum for KU students, the program sponsors yearly peace and conflict studies lectures by distinguished individuals.
Enrique Peñaloza Enrique, a native of Mexico, has helped members of the Latino community for years. He has acted as translator, especially in legal and criminal proceedings, and has provided support and advice, often on a moment’s notice. He has advised and advocated for largely Spanish speaking workers who were being cheated or mistreated by their employers. As Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Plymouth Congregational Church he has initiated Spanish language services as well as other activities aimed at helping Latino residents adjust to living in Lawrence. Enrique, as a bilingual and intensely sincere person, has been crucial in building a more thorough understanding of the economic, cultural and spiritual factors that influence the Hispanic experience in Lawrence.
He has been a little-known figure in the middle-class liberal community, but a confidant and ally to the very poor and oppressed hidden in the Lawrence community.
Katherine Dinsdale Katherine was appointed to the Mayor’s Task Force on Homeless Services and then the Community Commission on Homelessness which she chaired for two years. She was a co-founder of Five Loaves, a small supportive living program for women with mental illness, and Family Promise, a multi-church support and temporary housing program for homeless families. With that program she drives children to school, helps to clean the day center, drives the van, hauls furniture and does public relations and fund raising. “Katherine is more of a hands on, constructive person who prefers to build programs rather than determine policies although she does both well.” Katherine has seen the problem and without notice has taken concrete steps to help people out of homelessness, at the same time working to establish community policies as just and fair as possible.
Save Our Neighborhood Schools (SONS) This community organization is being recognized for its exemplification of the best characteristics of an informed, active, determined and peaceful grassroots citizens’ movement. SONS formed this year in response to an apparent intention by the Lawrence School Board to close one or more neighborhood schools due to a reduction in funding. These parents, educators and concerned community members coordinated marches, art exhibits, letter writing campaigns and other community events to refocus the underlying budget strategies and priorities. By championing the concept of neighborhood schools rather than having each member come to the defense of her/her particular neighborhood school, SONS effectively headed off a potentially divisive debate. In a political climate where demagoguery and anonymous slander are increasingly common, SONS representatives openly pursued discussion that was respectful and insightful. As a direct result of these efforts the decision was made to defer consideration of school closing and consolidation, and other ways were found to operate within the budget, at least for another year. SONS was a one-time issue-based group, but its values and experience represent a successful model for future community groups to draw upon.
Thad Holcombe This year’s Tom and Anne Moore Peace and Justice Award goes to Thad Holcombe, director of the Ecumenical Christian Ministries.
From the time of his arrival in Lawrence twenty years ago, he has been concerned to be open and welcoming to all people and to all ideas and faiths. Thad’s encouragement of students and faculty at ECM is based on his recognition of the need at all times and in all circumstances to practice compassion and justice as it is described by Jesus and others. In his twenty years he has been committed to finding ways to engage university and community members in social and environmental issues and to recognize the necessity for acting with compassion and justice in their lives. In working with diverse groups of people, Thad seeks to understand similarities and differences, and appreciating disparities, he seeks to create community through dialogue. In talking about his work at ECM, he describes it as "the ministry of the hearth," not only alluding to the actual hearth in the ECM building, but also emphasizing the importance of the warming and life-giving hearth as the center of a home and "heart" as being at the center of
The particular means he has used to emphasize the importance of peace and justice in community are numerous. He has been instrumental in developing the University-Community Forum, which schedules weekly presentations by a range of people from our diverse community on socially important topics. He was instrumental in developing ECM’s Sexuality Education Committee, which opened opportunities for discussing issues related to sexuality and gender. He initiated and encouraged the development of alternative winter, spring, and summer breaks for KU students which allowed them to gain hands-on experience helping others. He has been tireless in supporting peace and environmental activists in Lawrence, and he has served on many committees in the community necessitating conflict resolution. The twelve-foot long sign, proclaiming "No War in Iraq in our Names," which he had placed on ECM’s front lawn and which was subsequently covered with signatures, is one vivid example of his concern to promote peace and to educate others about peace.
Thad is one who gives unstintingly to others. Thad is one who comes readily to the aid of others. Thad is one who encourages listening to others. Thad is one who loves with an open hand. Thad is one who acts on the basis of his convictions regarding the necessity for peace and justice, compassion and community, and his principles and actions are embodied in the work he does for KU’s Ecumenical Christian Ministries.
The Occupy Movement
Linda Lassen Linda Lassen has been a fixture in the East Lawrence neighborhood ever since she was a youngster. She has served as a staff member of Penn House and later Ballard Community Services for over 40 years. Penn House was one of the first agencies that featured a consumer board and Linda was proud to have helped lead the agency. Penn House helped her change her life and she gave back to it and the community in ways that far surpassed that of the average human service worker.
Linda had the ability to work with clients and help them access services for low-income families without making anyone feel uncomfortable about their situation. Her compassion for others should not be overlooked. She has always been passionate about her work at Penn House and the community of East Lawrence. She is a champion of social justice and spent her career selflessly serving others and representing them at meetings all across town. She supported food drives, raised money for Penn House, and dedicated herself to making sure families had food, clothing, and shelter.
In addition to representing Penn House and the residents of East Lawrence at city and county meetings, Linda also served on the board of Warm Hearts of Douglas County and the Douglas County Emergency Services Council. As a United Way partner agency director, Linda worked tirelessly to promote the United Way campaigns and goals throughout several decades. Her work developing and implementing the Holiday Bureau Adopt-a-Family program is a lasting legacy that endures today with the collaboration of several agencies.
The walls of Linda’s office were decorated with photos of children that had passed through the doors of Penn House for several decades, many of the children’s toothless grins belonged to grown men and women of the neighborhood who returned to Penn House to share memories and laughs with Linda. Linda truly embodied the spirit of the East Lawrence community. She touched the lives of thousands of families each year. Her compassion for those in need was tremendous and Penn House is a lasting testimony to her efforts.
Linda is a former recipient of the Alice West Volunteer of the Year award bestowed by the Emergency Services Council and has been recognized for her efforts to improve the lives of Douglas County citizens.
The workers and volunteers of the Lawrence Community Shelter In a year that has seen substantial progress in institutional and citywide support for the community’s advocacy and care of homeless individuals and families, this award would be recognition for the men and women at the forefront of providing daily support and advocacy for Lawrence’s homeless community.
Working with the long-term and temporary homeless community can provide great personal reward and meaning for individual volunteers and workers. But it is also a demanding and often physically and mentally exhausting vocation. It is a vocation that demands sacrifice in long-term earnings and financial stability. It is a vocation that demands dedication and adherence to high standards and professional conduct even in situations where clients, public officials and the public in general might respond with rudeness or scorn.
This award would be recognition that the work of the shelter’s volunteers and staff is not only essential to the population they serve, but to the community and our city’s sense of moral obligation for the peace, justice and dignity of any Lawrencian no matter where they choose or are forced to sleep at night
Brian Blevins Sally Bartlett Dianne Huggins
Arnel Walker Brad Cook Dustin Allen
Andy Brown Jesse Rowley Steve Elder
Diane Elder Kelly Martin Elizabeth Stephens
KT Walsh - KT Walsh is this year's winner for an individual. KT Walsh uses her considerable talent in art to further peace and justice issues in all of Lawrence. As a board member of the East Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods (ELNA), she champions its “live and let live” culture. A steadfast attendee at weekly City Commission Meetings she speaks up for safe sidewalks, street lighting and vernacular architecture. She keeps a vigilant and benevolent eye on our community. Thanks in large part to her efforts, the Marriott hotel being built at 9th and New Hampshire will be shorter by one story. This will allow more light and a less obstructed view for its neighbors, making it a better design for the community it abuts.
A thirty-year Lawrence resident, KT Walsh volunteered and then managed the Social Service League for seven years. And with flair! She recycled blue jeans to insulate its unheated back room. She inaugurated the “dress for success” program so job seekers could appear for interviews in decent suits and shoes.
More recently, KT Walsh was a co-founder of the Percolator, a generator of artistic expression for peace and justice issues.
It is especially fitting to recognize KT Walsh this year because of her contribution to the Lawrence Community Shelter (LCS). She led residents and guests in making a mural, one with inspirational quotations, in the dining room. She is now painting a mural designed to fit a semi-trailer truck, (approximately 25 feet long). The mural will be hung on the outside of a semi on the premises of at the Lawrence Community Shelter. The images are those brainstormed by LCS clients. First, the dangers of homelessness—trains, poison ivy, drugs and alcohol. Next, the promise of the LCS—computer training, comfy-looking bunk beds, and fresh food. And finally, success—independence symbolized by an eagle, a cyclist, and a dog running free.
Because she has so well used her art for the benefit of Lawrence’s neediest citizens, KT Walsh is a worthy recipient of the LCPJ’s Anne and Tom Moore Award.
Centro Hispano - Centro Hispano is this year's organizational winner. Established in 2006, Centro Hispano builds Lawrence’s capacity to meet the health, educational and social service needs of the 5000 Latinos in Douglas County. By bringing together Latinos and native speakers of English to enjoy time together, Centro Hispano also promotes the vibrant cultural diversity that makes Lawrence an exciting peaceful place to live.
Centro Hispano’s clients come from 16 of Mexico’s 31 states as well as from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, etc. It is not always easy for them to find jobs. When they do, it’s usually in construction, cleaning houses, landscaping, and fast food outlets. Even native speakers sometimes find navigating bureaucracies challenging. Imagine then how difficult and frustrating it is for those here who do not yet speak or read English with fluency. Centro Hispano comes to their rescue. Monday through Friday, staff and local volunteers help the perplexed to:
• fill out applications for Medicaid, Food Stamps, utility assistance, and jobs
• get financial assistance for medical bills
• contact the social service agencies they may need, e.g. Ballard Center, Willow Domestic Violence Center, Job Center, etc.
• refer them to those who can help with legal problems
• get passports for children born in the U.S.
• help low-income families receive food and gifts for their families at Christmas
• Centro Hispano’s director Lydia Diebolt (LSCSW) offers mental health therapy in Spanish—one of the few agencies in Lawrence that does so—and facilitates liaison with the schools. She is assisted by a fulltime AmeriCorps volunteer and many local volunteers.
Jean Ann Pike
As a volunteer, Board member, and manager since 2001, Jean Ann Pike has kept the spirit of neighborliness alive at Lawrence’s Social Service League for eighteen years. The League’s Thrift Store is where the needy can purchase donated low-cost items to help get them through hard times. The money raised through these sales is used to provide eye exams, eyeglasses and shoes for children. Those who cannot afford to buy the clothes, bedding, and housewares, etc. can purchase them in exchange for helping with unpacking boxes of donations and hanging up clothes.
Jean Ann Pike is a compassionate, innovative, and able manager. She started Project Prom Dress, so that needy students can enjoy this pricey American rite of passage. She collects prom dresses, shoes and accessories throughout the year and makes them available to local high school girls who might not be able to afford them otherwise. She also maintains an impressive number of books which visitors are also free to take.
She has gathered a phenomenal group of volunteers because she knows how to inspire others to enjoy working together. She knows what it’s like to be poor and treats everyone with dignity and respect. Perhaps because of her welcome, the League receives a phenomenal quantity of donations. She’s kept tons out of landfills and has thus contributed to the greening of Lawrence.
Throughout her eighteen years, Jean Ann’s originality and openness to new ideas has made Lawrence’s oldest social service agency one of its most innovative. Its Facebook page is whimsical, witty, and a pleasure to browse.
For the past twelve years, Marilyn Hull has served Lawrence as the program director at the Douglas County Community Foundation. Graduating with a degree in Business Administration, Marilyn wanted to apply her knowledge to mission-driven organizations. Prior to taking her position at DCCF, therefore, she worked with KU’s Continuing Education programs and with the Burt Nash Community Health Center. In taking the DCCF position, Marilyn recognized an opportunity to help our entire community by supporting a non-profit organization, committed to serving the people of Lawrence.
Marilyn is always cognizant that the social costs of inequality in early learning are substantial and persist over lifetimes. She is also keenly aware that many of the systems, laws, and practices that perpetuate health injustice are statewide, national, or global in scope. Her personal passions, thus, are early learning, health, and charitable giving and service, and at DCCF she works unstintingly and creatively in the interests of rectifying these egregious situations. She focuses much of her time and energy on community health, e.g., creating walking and biking paths, making healthy food accessible, encouraging gardening, and spreading knowledge about good health widely. As part of her concern with good health and good food, she became a board member of the Community Mercantile. But, most significantly, she started the LiveWell Lawrence Coalition, with which she continues to be deeply involved. Through LiveWell, she has been able to work with non-profit, business, education, and local people and government leaders to address daunting health challenges, guiding them to work together for collective impact.
As a community organizer, Marilyn believes not just in inviting diverse people to the table, but in finding ways to make them want to come to the table. As a facilitator, she seeks to help people organize their goals and to think strategically. She manifests immense patience, leading people always to think about what they can do together. She seeks always to listen to all voices, so that everyone is brought along with the process of change for the betterment of all.
Craig Sweets and Change of Heart
Craig Sweets started the street newspaper for the homeless in Lawrence called Change of Heart in
1997. Once he announced his plans, a local hero, Hilda Enoch, gave him the sage advice, “Keep it local,
Craig”, that stuck with him for 18 years. The name Change of Heart was chosen, first, because it hoped
to change the hearts of Lawrence readers about the nature of homelessness in our community, and,
second, it planned to remove change from the pockets of local residents since Change of Heart is both a
publication and a work program.
As the years went by, Craig acquired a reputation as a dedicated editor who cared deeply about the
publication and the people with whom he worked. He approved every piece that was printed in every
issue. In 2006, Craig worked to get a $9,000 grant for Change of Heart from the Ethics and Excellence in
Journalism Foundation in Oklahoma City.
Change of Heart, the only street newspaper in Kansas, is the smallest street newspaper in the North
American Street Newspaper Association. It is generally published four times a year. Craig often wrote
articles himself or obtained substantive work on issues from other local writers. The paper is officially a
project of the Coalition for Homeless Concerns as part of its public outreach and education effort.
Craig built a local institution in Change of Heart that speaks out for peace and justice. He started out
as a good man to do this job and has grown, but has not changed, his values over the years. He has
persevered with the paper through difficult times in finding printers, organizing vendors, and gathering
items for each issue. To be printed in the paper or to have a role in its operation can be deeply
meaningful to a homeless person and educational to its readers.
The whole community of Lawrence thanks Craig for his memorable work with Change of Heart but
particularly the homeless community is grateful.