Upstate presents Community Leader awards and honors employees for spirit of diversity

Jubilee Homes, a local agency providing home ownership to low- and moderate-income individuals, and a violence prevention advocate who heads up the Trauma Response Team took home Community Leader awards at Upstate’s Black History Month celebration, held Feb. 1 at the CNY Biotech Accelerator.

Upstate also singled out two employees, Aldrine Ashong-Katai and Tamika Scott, for their commitment to the spirit of diversity and community engagement.

All those honored, whether they are from the community or within our own campus, exemplify dedication, integrity and honorable service,” said Nakeia Chambers, Upstate’s diversity initiatives specialist. “Through a shared mission and vision, they have helped us to provide quality care to our culturally diverse populations.”

Jubilee Homes, led by Walt Dixie, runs several programs, but is most known for providing low- and moderate-income individuals an opportunity at home ownership. According to a recent annual report, the agency prevented seven families from foreclosure, served more than 60 in renting and owning properties and offered more than two dozen individuals support on financial literacy, budgeting and banking assistance.  Through all of its program, Jubilee Homes serves more than 900 individuals and is supported by numerous area businesses.

Timothy ‘Noble’ Jennings-Bey was honored for his work on violence prevention. Jennings-Bey is the director for the Trauma Response Team and executive director of Street Addiction Institute Inc. For more than a decade, Jennings-Bey and his team have responded to the violence that takes place throughout the city. The team responds to shootings and homicides while acting as a liaison between the Syracuse community, the Syracuse Police Department, and Upstate Medical University.  Jennings-Bey created the theory called Street Addiction. Street Addiction is designed to highlight the belief that criminal activity specific to neighborhood violence has an addictive nature similar to alcohol, gambling, substance abuse.

Upstate also singled out two employees Aldrine Ashong-Katai and Tamika Scott, who show a commitment to the spirit of diversity.

Aldrine Ashong-Katai, a Presidential Scholar at Upstate in 2014, is now the resident engagement specialist whose project portfolio includes the Healthy Neighbors Partnership program between Syracuse Housing Authority and Upstate.  The program has helped improve the health of residents by supporting breast and colon cancer screening and awareness programs, among other initiatives.

Scott joined Upstate in 2000 and after several positions at the Downtown Campus now works at the Community Campus on the medical/surgical floor.

Simone Seward picked up the event’s final award, which honors the work of a member of the Faculty Staff Association for Diversity. As director of the Center for Civic Engagement and an instructor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Seward leads the institution’s efforts in the attainment of academic and professional growth for both students and faculty through civic and community engagement in an effort to develop active and engaged citizens and future healthcare professionals.

Syracuse City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Lazarus Sims, who also received a Community Leader award, offered the keynote address, highlighting the important role parents need to play in the lives of their children.

Upstate President and Health System CEO Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, opened the program with brief remarks. The program also featured vocal and dance performances.

Individuals honored at Upstate’s Black History Month opening ceremonies are, from left Timothy “Noble” Jennings-Bey; Walt Dixie, respresenting Jubilee Homes; Aldrine Ahong-Katari; Lazarus Sims; Simone Seward and Tamika Scott.

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