Lowell, MA ~ Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI) is pleased to announce that the following organizations and individuals from Greater Lowell are this year’s recipients of CTI’s 2009 Local Heroes Awards. These publicly nominated “heroes” all have made extraordinary efforts to create a better quality of life for the residents of Greater Lowell. CTI invites the community to help honor them at its 16th Annual Evening with Local Heroes, Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, from 6:00pm-9:00pm at Lenzi’s in Dracut.  If you are interested in attending, call (978) 459-0551.

  • President’s Award Recipient – Selected by CTI’s Board President Donald Washburn, this year’s President’s Award goes to The Kiwanis Club of Greater Lowell, a service organization that has helped the children and families of Greater Lowell since 1917. Its motto – Serving the Children of the World – parallels that of its global counterpart Kiwanis International. The mission of its members is to make Greater Lowell a great place to live, work and raise families. For decades, it has provided expertise, funds and sweat equity to help organizations such as Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Lowell Folk Festival, New England Pediatric Hospital, CTI, Masonic Lodge Dyslexia Program and area senior citizen programs.
  • Marjorie McDermott Award Recipient – Raymond Poitras of Lowell, MADescribed by others as a “rare gem”, “a gentleman of high caliber”, and a “friend to his fellow man”, Raymond “Ray” Poitras is this year’s recipient of the Marjorie McDermott award for his exceptional compassion and service to senior citizens, people with Alzheimer’s Disease and to those coping with poverty. He is also an active volunteer with organizations such as St. Michael’s Church, D’Youville Senior Care and the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
  • Sister Pauline Leblanc of Lowell, MASister Pauline has cultivated friends and collaborators wherever she serves, whether that be in Papua New Guinea, Canada, Massachusetts or Greater Lowell. Throughout her travels, she has helped change people’s lives for the better, offering them education and creating hope and stability in their lives.  Among Sister Pauline’s affiliations are the Campaign to End Homelessness in Massachusetts; Board member, Saints Medical Center; Board Member, Bruyere Gardens Independent Living Community for seniors; Secretary, Greater Lowell Interfaith Leadership Alliance; Delegate, Merrimack Valley Project; co-founder of the Lowell Ethnic Covenant (precursor to the Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership), the Lowell Housing Court and the Coalition for a Better Acre. Recently, Sister Pauline has partnered with the Department of Children and Families to provide housing for young women 18 and older.
  • Jean Walsh of Tewksbury, MA As mother of a developmentally challenged child some 50 years ago, Jean became a pioneer and leader in advocacy for the developmentally disabled and their families. By rejecting the choice of institutional-care, she pressed for services for all children and families in the community, leading to the creation of community-based programs and group homes and the closing of large institutions across the state. Jean helped found Camp Po-He-Lo for Special Needs Children in Tewksbury, is President of the Retarded Adult Rehabilitation Association (RARA), is a member of the Board of Directors of CLASS, Inc. (work readiness and day programs) and is a member of the Greater Lowell Dept. of Developmental Services Advisory Board.
  • Rose and Walter Bronk of Lowell, MA  It was Rose and Walter’s vision of not letting anyone in the Lowell area go hungry that inspired them to found St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen 14 years ago. They did it in response to a sermon that asked “what are we doing to serve Christ in our communities?” Since then, they have expanded the program from two days a week to more and are now pursuing a full five day a week schedule, reaching many more hundreds of hungry individuals and families throughout the year. They are true leaders in the fight against Hunger in Greater Lowell.
  • Pastor Jerry Menyongai and Christ Jubilee International Ministries of Greater Lowell, MA Pastor Jeremiah “Jerry” Menyongai and Christ Jubilee Ministries have had a tremendous, positive affect in the lives of thousands of immigrants in the Greater Lowell area for over 15 years. Through the ministry, he and the congregation have provided sanctuary and vital training and education to help immigrants and refugees from Africa rebuild their lives and become productive and engaged citizens of the Greater Lowell community.
  • Sophy Sam of Lowell, MAThis young woman is a youth leader, speaking up against violence and advocating for positive change in our community. Over the past three years, she has emerged as an active leader in United Teen Equality Center’s Teens Leading the Way coalition, a statewide group that designs and carries out youth-led policy making campaigns. She was part of the advocacy and planning of the Governor’s first statewide youth council, being selected as a member of the planning team by the Governor’s Office of Community Affairs. She has become a true grassroots campaigner for youth issues and is now interning with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
  • Vassilios “Bill” Giavis of Lowell, MA Vassilios “Bill” Giavis is considered one of the most important Lowell artists of the past 100 years and for more than 20 years, has been a “public” artist at the Brush Gallery and Studios, where he is a teacher, interpreter and ambassador for Lowell. His artwork stands as a unique document of Lowell during its period of revitalization. His various series on topics such as diners, the Golden Gloves, women of Lowell, the Greek Festival, Kerouac, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, the Lowell Folk Festival and more, are unmatched. He is a cultural hero, who stands for the power of art and beauty as well as excellence and humanitarianism.
  • Sayon Soeun and Sophy Theam of Lowell, MA This couple has dedicated thousands of hours toward preserving Cambodian and Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage here in the City. Among their achievements are the founding of the Light of Cambodian Children organization; board members, chief organizers and fundraisers for the Southeast Asian Water Festival; and today they are actively developing a strategic plan to unite and strengthen the Light of Cambodian Children, Angkor Dance Troupe and the Southeast Asian Water Festival. Their work touches the lives of countless residents of all ages and has inspired many young leaders in the community.
  • Joan Abbot of Tyngsboro, MA Joan is a longtime volunteer of the International Institute of Lowell who, according to staff, has become the “greatest asset our refugee resettlement program has ever had.” Donating 300-400 hours a year, she has been instrumental in stabilizing the tens of dozens of refugee families starting a new life in our community, providing countless hours of direct service, transportation and fundraising. Joan also runs her own non-profit, Kitty Angels, a shelter for lost and abused cats, and prepares them for adoption.

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