Good Neighbors

Making Society More Civil Earns Groups Recognition

From Pittsburgh to Nevada, Florida and New York, see how these people are making a difference.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone worked to empower the poor, support people in crisis, prepare young people to realize their full potential and revitalize struggling neighborhoods?

A group called the Manhattan Institute thinks so. It's why every year they give out Civil Society Awards that spotlight inspiring people and non-profit organizations that are working to prevent or address social challenges in their communities.. They've just announced this year's recipients.

"It's an honor to recognize those who take it upon themselves to keep our social fabric from fraying, assist those who need it most, and help people change the course of their lives," said Manhattan Institute's Howard Husock.

Winners were selected after a nationwide search that received 100 nominations from 26 states. Each winner receives $25,000.

TIP's spring 2019 graduates.

Steve Shelton, Trade Institute of Pittsburgh

Not to play favorites, but we know Steve and TIP from our story on the Goodwill RISE job training program. One of the students we profiled, Marcus, was going through TIP's masonry training.

Previous story: Program Sets Young People on Path to Success

TIP provides training and employment opportunities to both ex-offenders looking to rebuild their lives and at-risk high school graduates in skilled trades like masonry, carpentry, and welding, In the last 10 years, they've helped nearly 400 people on the path to a steady job and livable wage, and avoid activities that would lead to prison time. "The award will enable us at to continue doing just that: supply training, encouragement, guidance, and support, one person at a time, one day at a time, for so many needing a second chance at this thing we call life," said Steve.

ESL Program of Nevada graduates.

Florence Phillips, ESL In-Home Program of Nevada

English as a Second Language (ESL) In-Home Program uses hundreds of community volunteers to teach English, citizenship preparation, and other workplace skills at no cost to its students. Since 2004, volunteer tutors have helped more than 5,000 immigrants and refugees to learn English and the cultural skills necessary to lead a successful and productive life in America.

Megan Rose, Better Together

Located in Naples, FL, Better Together strengthens communities by supporting families in crisis. With the help of hundreds of volunteers and church communities, Better Together builds support systems that help families cope with hardships, job loss, substance abuse, homelessness, and even jail time - and make sure children are cared for in a safe home until the family can be reunited.

NPAA'S Junior Dance Ensemble.

Kim Turner and Kevin White, Newburgh Performing Arts Academy

The academy provides professional dance, music, theater, and visual arts instruction to children in one of the region's most dangerous cities, Newburgh, NY. The academy educates approximately 800 students each year, building self-esteem, improving their academic performance, and developing the discipline necessary to achieve success in all areas of life. Here's one of the numbers by their Senior Ensemble at June's recital.

The prizes will be presented at The Manhattan Institute's annual awards ceremony and dinner in New York City on October 16, 2019.

(Images & video: organizations' Facebook pages)

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