On Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, at City Council’s 7 p.m. meeting, the City of Roanoke announced the winners for each category of the 18th Annual Roanoke City Neighborhood Partnership Awards as shown below:
Neighborhood City Partnership Award
Katie Hedrick, Community Engagement
Katie is the City of Roanoke Bilingual Program Support Specialist, a new role and resource for Roanoke. As part of Katie’s role in serving the residents of the City, Hedrick provides Spanish-speaking translation services across City departments, programs, and events as well as supports the implementation of the City’s language access system, VOLATIA, a Roanoke-based language network and company. These efforts have led to Roanoke being the first Virginia municipality in the state to offer a two-way language access program. In addition, Katie provides educational support and outreach for the Hispanic Community on COVID-19.
Neighborhood Community Partnership Award
Chillin’ Shaved Ice, Andrew Beltram and Melanie Crovo
Andrew and Melanie are the owners of Chillin’ Shaved Ice, located in Southeast Roanoke. They kicked off their 2021shaved ice season by co-sponsoring the first annual Good Neighbors 5K, hosted by RunAbout Sports Roanoke to benefit the Clean Valley Council. This event challenged neighbors from far and wide to complete a 5K litter cleanup. Melanie and Andrew participated with the I Heart SE litter cleanup team, helping the team to collect 19 bags of litter from the SE streets. Throughout the year, Chillin’ has provided space for Southeast Action Forum socials, hosted a chalking station for Humble Hustle’s Chalk Up the City with Love day, provided free shaved ice for John P. Fishwick Middle School teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day, provided free shaved ice for Rescue Mission guests and staff during LOVE SE Fest week, and joined the community for a fun National Night Out event at Golden Park. They also launched their “Chillin’ Ice Doin’ Nice” fundraiser program that helped raise awareness and donations for 19 local nonprofits. On Wednesdays throughout the season, Chillin’ donated 10% of their sales and 100% of their tips to previously selected and advertised nonprofits, ultimately donating a total of $1,986.29 into the community.
Neighborhood Improvement Award
One Valley Council, The Carver Community Garden
One Valley’s Vision is to lift and unite our entire Valley community through the following educational and environmental actions: Creation of sustainable community-centered institutions such as the George Washington Carver Environmental Education Center. The Carver Community Garden was initiated by the Rev. Carroll Carter in 2012, when he served as pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in NW Roanoke. The garden was planted in response to community conversations regarding the need for better food access in order to create a healthy community. The garden is maintained by volunteers. An ongoing One Valley project, is called the Neighborhood Secure Star City Food Systems Project. The NSFSP is a collaborative effort to effectively address health and economic disparities facing neighborhood families and to develop a sustainable local food system within the food desert of Northwest Roanoke.
Neighborhood Youth Volunteer Award
Kids in the Community, John P. Fishwick Middle School
John P. Fishwick Middle School’s Kids in the Community group boasts of over 40 members. The group cleans up litter in the blocks around their school in the Southeast neighborhood every Tuesday as part of Southeast Action Forum’s Junior Plawkers team. They also help local nursing homes, conduct food drives and anti-bullying campaigns, and help to spread positivity and kindness throughout John P Fishwick Middle School and their community.
Neighborhood Communication Award
Airlee Court, Neighborhood Newsletter
Ben Burch is the President of the Airlee Court Neighborhood Watch Group. Ben Burch has produced a newsletter for neighbors for the last 20 years. He writes it himself and prints them out of his own budget. The newsletter is distributed to every new neighbor and welcomes them to the neighborhood. The newsletter includes upcoming meetings, block volunteers contact information, block yard sales, and a monthly recipe for different dishes
Neighborhood Arts Award
“We Are Art” Rap Cypher
The project, led by Creative Director Macklyn Mosley, a Community Services Assistant with the Roanoke Public Libraries and a member of the Roanoke Arts Commission, is a celebration of black culture through a staple in the hip hop culture: rap cyphers. This cypher featured seven local rappers: Kahlil Alexander, Eboni Harrington, Dylan Dent, Dionte Hall, Bryan Hancock, Tyler Langhorn, and Laquisha Moore. Each artist wrote their own individual parts of the song, while the chorus is spoken in unison. Filming was conducted at the Grandin Theatre, and the film included artwork by Antoinette Hale from the City’s public art collection, as well as books illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, a native of Roanoke. Chris Tribble of SnapKraklePop Photography led the creative direction of the filming, and Marc Rainey took photos. The music instrumental is by Andre Hairston, AKA AH Beats of Danville, and the mixing and matering was handled by Cameron Hughes of Roanoke.
Neighborhood Outstanding Leadership Award
Spence Robertson, Southeast Action Forum
Spence Robertson has been a caring and engaged Southeast neighbor for more than 14 years, and has provided consistent and outstanding service to his Southeast neighborhood and Roanoke community throughout 2021. Throughout this year, Spence has participated in more than 70 community events including tree plantings, Southeast Action Forum meetings and socials, trunk or treat, and MANY litter cleanups in Southeast and all over Roanoke with the Roanoke Plawkers. In 2021, Spence had perfect plawking attendance, not missing even one of the Roanoke Plawkers 43 publicly held cleanup walks. In addition to participating in so many community events, Spence often makes special contributions during volunteer activities by bringing homemade treats, sharing home-grown garden goodies, and providing tools, supplies, and his jack-of-all-trades expertise for many projects. At the young age of 74, Spence is a shining example that getting out to meet and build relationships with your neighbors, volunteer in community improvement projects, and participate in community engagement opportunities can and does contribute to creating a better quality of life and neighborhood experience for yourself and others. Spence’s quantity and quality of volunteer service in working with I Heart SE, Southeast Action Forum, and the Roanoke Plawkers has been tremendous, and his friendly, encouraging, and generous spirit helps motivate others and makes the work fun.
Neighborhood All-Star Award
The Foundry is a community change agent located in Roanoke that provides solutions and resources for all people to unlock their full potential. The ultimate mission is “to help people discover and develop their strengths so that their talents would impact the world in a unique way.” The Foundry directly creates community change through their volunteer work, coaching, consulting, training, and specialized staffing solutions. When the Covid-19 pandemic started in 2020, there were many issues that developed pertaining to youth and their families in the Roanoke Valley. Budget reductions canceled youth recreational sports programming, school systems faced unprecedented challenges of providing virtual and in-person learning, and localities battling against increased crime and violence. The Foundry immediately stepped in to ensure students had access to recreational sports. They negotiated a partnership between the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, and with a private soccer organization to run a fully operational recreational soccer league. The Foundry was able to ensure that 25+ teams and hundreds of participants were outdoors to engage in sports, a much-needed reprieve from the pandemic. The Foundry staffed and trained community members to become qualified educational specialists to assist in the Preston Park Virtual Learning Academy and After-School Program. Through the last year, The Foundry provided multiple volunteer webinars focused on helping businesses survive. Philip Clements, The Foundry’s CEO, also volunteers his time with Leadership Roanoke Valley (LRV), the regions premier leadership development program.
For more information about the Neighborhood Partnership Award winners, please contact Josh Johnson in the Community Engagement Office at [email protected], or call 853-1643.