Six of the 13 people awarded Citizens Medals for 2010 by President Barack Obama today are veteran youth workers.
The selections were made from thousands of recommendations sent in by citizens over the past year. Usually, the recipients are nominated by various administration and Congressional officials. The medals are one of the nation's highest honors. Previous winners have included Robert Dole and Colin Powell, Muhammad Ali and Oseola McCarty, a washerwoman who left her life savings to establish a scholarship for needy students.
At an afternoon ceremony at the White House, Obama called the recipients – all homegrown heroes – “powerful reminders of the impact individuals can have on their community and on the world.”
The six youth workers who received Citizens Medals are:
- Roberta Diaz Brinton, Los Angeles, director of Southern California’s Science, Technology and Research Program. The citation for Brinton states that she has opened the doors of opportunity for thousands of disadvantage and minority inner city youth.
- Daisy M. Brooks, Chicago, founder of Daisy’s Resource and Development Center. She began her work when a pregnant teenager with no place to go arrived at Brooks’ door. Brooks welcomed the young woman, sparking a lifelong career helping North Chicago’s young mothers and their infants. The center serves as a dorm, school and catalyst for young women to improve their lives, according to the citation.
- Mary K. Hoodhood, Grand Rapids, Mich., founder of Kids’ Food Basket, which provides food to thousands of children in the Grand Rapids area.
- Kimberly McGuiness, Cave Spring, Ga., for her advocacy for deaf students. She pushed the Georgia legislature to pass the Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights, raising awareness and support for deaf education.
- Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putnam, Shaftsbury, Vt., for inspiring thousands of youth to perfect our natural bounty, leading to the creation of the Student Conservation Association.
- Myrtle Faye Rumph, Inglewood, Calif., for her work to reduce gun and gang violence in her community, steering countless young people away from dangerous habits, altering the course of their futures.
Other recipients are: Betty Kwan Chinn, Eureka, Calif., for her work with the homeless; Cynthia M. Church, Wilmington, Del., founder of Sisters on a Mission, a cancer support group for African-American women; Susan Retik Ger, Needham, Mass., widowed on 9/11, she began helping Afghan women and children; Jorge Munoz, New York, for feeding the hungry in New York City; Lisa Nigro, Chicago, for feeding the hungry in Chicago; MaryAnn Phillips, Sat Valley Ranch, Wyo., for her work with wounded service personnel arriving at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany; and George J. Weiss Jr., who organized a memorial rifle squad that performs military honors for deceased service members.
In a press statement announcing the recipients, Obama urged people to check out service opportunities at www.serve.gov, a website maintained by the Corporation for National and Community Service.