LIMA — Mary Chambers Monford has been impacting young people in Lima for more than 50 years, and now she is being recognized as a 2017 Jefferson Award winner.
“I’m very humbled to have been nominated for this award,” Monford said. “When I do things, I don’t think about the accolades and the pats on the back, it’s just what I love to do.”
Monford has been described by her peers as a mentor who inspires Lima’s youth to become “purposeful, successful adults.” Mary Iiames, who nominated Monford for the award, said she has witnessed firsthand how the longtime Lima resident positively impacts the children, youth and young adults in the community.
“Her life and her purpose has made a difference in so many others’ lives, and she continues to press forward even today after a half century of service to others,” Iiames wrote in her Jefferson Award nomination.
Twenty-nine years ago, Monford began organizing “Positive Role Model Sleepovers” for boys and girls. During the sleepovers, children are introduced to community leaders and college students, and are taught skills such as cooking, sewing and first aid.
Monford is also an active volunteer at Perry schools. She organizes speaking engagements at Perry Elementary School, bringing in community leaders such as Lima Mayor David Berger and Police Chief Kevin Martin. She puts on plays at the schools, and organized a “Fleet Sorority” for sixth-grade girls. She continues to help students with their homework and assists older students with entry into college.
In 1970, Monford began her own service ministry called “Keeper of the Dream Ministry.” Her service began as a citywide tutoring program called “The Crayon Box,” and it continues today at the Mitzpah Center in Lima.
In addition to these services, Monford had been a director of the Bradfield Center’s Miss Opportunity Pageant, and continues to sit on the pageant committee today. She is also an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and serves as director of children’s ministries at Philippian Baptist Church.
“As a mentor, tutor, events coordinator, encourager and supporter, she has impacted hundreds of lives in our community,” Iames wrote. “She is truly a remarkable woman.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.