LIMA — Five people were living examples Friday that organizations that offer a hand up produce good results.
While such organizations often get a bum wrap of not accomplishing much, Karol Stewart, Sharita Smith, Yolanda Phillips, Lima Mayor Dave Berger and the ABATE Motorcycle Club were proof that results happen when people care. Each were honored at LACCA’S 20th Anniversary Celebration Banquet and Awards at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
“Our motto is stepping stones to success,” said LACCA CEO Jackie Fox. “We honored some successful clients and two surprise members who have donated a lot of time and effort to LACCA.
Those surprise recipients turned out to be Berger and ABATE.
“Mayor Berger and ABATE have donated limitlessly to LACCA over the years,” Fox said.
Stewart was honored as having the longest home ownership through LACCA’S home ownership program. As a single mother with two children, Stewart participated in the program and was able to land her own home at 517 Prospect St. in Lima. She still lives there today.
“It still feels like home,” Stewart said.
Stewart said LACCA aided her to where she was eventually able to buy the home in March 1997. She said among other things, LACCA helped her get consumer credit counseling and helped her build up savings for a downpayment on the home.
“It really is a good program that can help poeple,” Stewart said. “There are a lot of people out there that still don’t know about LACCA programs, and I think the word needs to get out.”
Phillips moved to Lima from California when she was 9 years old. About two years ago, Phillips participated in the RISE program after falling on hard times. The program helps single mothers become self-sufficient. Phillips was able to sharpen her job skills while participating in RISE — and landed a job at LACCA with the first time home ownership program.
“I am confident that eventually I may have found a way to make it,” Phillips said. “Without this program, it would have been a lot harder. I was able to get my confidence built back up, and I found out I had job skills I never knew I had.”
The fifth recipient, Sharita Smith, attended Head Start through LACCA and is now a judge in Tennessee.
Alberta Lee, the first LACCA board president, current president Warner Roach, and 20-year board member Berger were all guest speakers, with Berger speaking just before finding out he was an award recipient.