ELYRIA — Six women were chosen to receive the Women of Compassion Awards, a joint effort by the Community Foundation of Lorain County and Lorain County Community College, to celebrate women and the behind-the-scenes work they do that makes a difference.
The recipients were chosen from dozens of nominees and will receive their awards during a luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Spitzer Conference Center at LCCC. Tickets are $35 a piece and may be purchased online at www.peoplewhocare.org or by calling (440) 984-7390. Proceeds benefit The Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund and the Women’s LINK program at LCCC.
The recipients are:
Giovana Cruz Kallas
Giovana, or “G,” as she is known, knows that the children she works with can succeed. Though many of them face daily challenges and adversity, because of Giovana, they learn they have choices and, more importantly, they have hope. She has coordinated a holiday party for 300 people and cleaned windows for others. She is always happy to help guide her adult mentors and offer encouragement to the children as well. A former child in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program wrote, “I desperately wanted a role model. I found a role model and friend in Giovana.” Another nominator wrote, “When I think of Giovana, I see the future.”
Jaime is not just a caregiver to the residents where she works at Elmcroft of Lorain. She is a true friend. Jaime will take her lunch break to spend time with residents who need her friendly encouragement and company. On a daily basis, Jamie goes above and beyond to brighten the lives of those around her. Her commitment to the elderly residents with whom she works is constant. On her days off, she will often bring in her daughter to visit with residents. Her nominator wrote, “She has touched the lives of many people and they are the better for having met her.”
Sherrill “Cookie” McLoda “takes everyone she meets under her wing,” wrote one nominator. She has opened her home to a student from China, makes dinners for elderly friends, and prepares all of the food for her class reunions with 100 people at her house. She also purchases Christmas gifts for underprivileged children, collects food for the Salvation Army, serves on the board of the Lorain County Metro Parks and much more. Cookie is tireless in her efforts to help others. A nominator wrote, “If she cannot get enough support from others, she’ll use her own resources. I am lucky to call her my friend.”
Martha Pye stands up for children and for what she believes. She invited children into a warm school building (contrary to school policy) rather than leaving them in the cold. A nominator wrote, “She didn’t need recognition or seek permission for doing the right thing.” The mother of eight children, she is a longtime community activist who has worked diligently to better her community. She attends school board meetings, city council meetings, helps with Pride days, Reclaim Lorain and is involved with numerous activities at her church. A nominator wrote, “Martha Pye has played a significant role in making the city of Lorain a place to be proud to live in.”
Mika Timura may only be a senior in high school, but she already has an impressive record of helping others. She has collected items needed by children in a hemophilia hospital in Peru. She volunteers at the Angel Horse Rescue in Grafton. She spends money she earns working part-time to sponsor a child in Southeast Asia. Mika is also completing high school while taking college classes all while being an active Girl Scout. Her nominator wrote, “Watch for her in the future because she is going to do great things!”
It all started in the trunk of June Yost’s car. She and others collected shoes, clothing and school supplies for students going back to school. North Ridgeville Community Cares continues to help those in need with food, utilities, clothing, household items and more. June leads her staff of over 80 volunteers to assist those in need with respect and care. She has initiated a summer lunch program for students who normally receive a free lunch at school. She holds a holiday party for senior citizens and coordinates an Adopt a Child/Family effort each Christmas as well. A nominator wrote, “Mrs. Yost is a prime example of one who has sacrificed and devoted herself to her life’s work.”