2017 Celebration of Goodness; Young Professionals Week Closing Party
On Friday, June 30th, we went to the "2017 Celebration of Goodness" luncheon put on by the Values-in-Action Foundation (Project Love/Purple America) at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven.
Among those that we shared a table with were Mr. Thomas G. Kruczek, President of Notre Dame College; Reverend Morris Eason of Chagrin Falls; Ms. Julie Wynne-Martin, facilitator of Project Love's "Believe to Achieve" program at Collinwood High School; and Ms. Antonia Martin, who founded "Ambitious Artists" which teaches piano and voice to aspiring students.
In the course of the luncheon, the "Sam Miller Goodness Award" was presented to four very worthy individuals/entities who were Mr. Jose Feliciano ("Visionary Community Leader"), Mr. Vic Gelb ("Ionic Philanthropist"), Honorable Merle S. Gordon ("Mayor, City of Beachwood"), and the Lucarelli Family ("Community and Employment Leaders") who founded "Minute Man Staffing". There were videos shown about each recipient that contained moving testimonies by their friends, family members, and other associates and each of the honorees got to say a few words. Mr. Gelb, who is suffering from Parkinson's could only softly say how much he appreciated the award but he arranged for the luncheon to conclude with the appropriate playing of Burt Bacharach's song "What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love" along with the lyrics being projected on the large screens so we could all sing along.
Earlier it was said that Mr. Sam Miller just turned ninety-six years old a few days ago and wasn't feeling well enough to attend this event. In a letter that appeared in the program from Mr. Tim Dimoff, Board Chairman, and Mr. Stuart Muszynski, President and CEO, of the Values-in-Action Foundation, it was written that "when Sam Miller founded this annual event in 2001, it was his desire to establish "goodness" as a value and action in our community. He felt that if we celebrate people who put their goodness into the community, it will take root because people emulate others-either for bad or for good."
For us the highlight of the day was section of the program devoted to acclaiming the success of the "Believe to Achieve" program. As Mr. Dimoff and Mr. Muszynski's letter went on to read, the values of the Values-In-Action Foundation which are kindness, caring, respect, civility, and success have been "validated by Project Love's Believe to Achieve program in Cleveland and other school districts. Over a four-year period of time, both at Collinwood High School and John Adams High School, Believe to Achieve took 450 inner city girls who were at risk of dropping out of the 9th grade and influenced 85% of them to graduate (many as top academic performers). We mention Believe to Achieve specifically because today we are celebrating not only Sam Miller's continuing vision, but also Arnold Pinkney's legacy, in part represented by his dedication to making Believe to Achieve a reality in the Cleveland schools. While Arnold was Project Love's board chairman, he worked to implement the first Believe to Achieve programs at Collinwood. Appropriately, Values-in-Action is renaming Believe to Achieve the 'Arnold R. Pinkney Believe to Achieve Program for Successful Students." Also in Arnold's memory, we are establishing the Arnold R. Pinkney Award for Civic Leadership, this year going to Jay Lucarelli, who efforts-both his and his family's-have assisted at-risk youth within the Cleveland schools and at Tri-C."
This award was presented to Mr. Lucarelli, along with the Sam Miller Goodness Award, by Mrs. Betty Pinkney, the widow of Mr. Arnold R. Pinkney, with whom we visited and found her to be a lovely lady. She said to give her best to Ms. Margaret W. Wong and Ms. Rose Wong because she and the late Mr. Pinkney very much looked forward to always enjoying a meal over the Christmas holidays at the "Pearl of the Orient" which is now the "Pearl Asian Kitchen."
That Friday evening we braved the rainy weather to go to, ironically, the Cleveland Metroparks Rainforest to participate in the "Young Professionals Week Closing Party" put on by "Engage! Cleveland".
Unfortunately, we are afraid that the weather may have discouraged a few people from attending but all of us who made it had a good time munching on the crackers, dips and pizza and visiting with each other.
Among the people who we spoke to were:
****Mr. Jeff and Ms. Missy Krause from the "Cleveland Zoological Society" who encouraged us to support their worthy organization.
****Mr. Ryan Humbert, a singer/songwriter who plays old time country western and honky tonk songs with a group called "Shooter Sharp and the Shootouts" which often performs locally in Cleveland.
****Mr. Adam Patterson who loves to organize haunted houses each year at different locales in Cleveland. He is still looking for an ideal location for 2017 but the theme of the haunted spectacular will be "Dia de Muertos/Day of the Dead meets New Orleans.
"****A young woman named Samantha who is now an attorney but in 2009 she did an internship at the Lakewood office of former U.S. Congressperson Dennis J. Kucinich when we also worked there so we enjoyed discussing old times.
****A person who had a relative who was once married to a woman who immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe with the help of Ms. Margaret W. Wong.
We particularly liked conversing with Ms. Molly Killeen and Ms. Abby Kopp, two interns with "Engage! Cleveland" who worked quite hard to put together a raffle of composed of such prizes as "Wine...Away!", "Ohio's Beer and Bites", "Nestlé's Gift Package", "Cleveland Rocks Basket", and "Downtown Date Night." Due to the efforts of Ms. Killeen and Ms. Kopp, bidding on these items was an attractive proposition indeed.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC
JUNE 29, 2017