HOPE Awards at the SCRIPT conference are a special awards given to recognize individuals who have inspired others in 3 different categories:
Education and Training
New Award: Lifetime Achievement
Winner – Catherine Cercone Miller
Catherine Cercone Miller was elected Mayor of the City of Struthers in January 2020 as the first female mayor. Since taking office, Catherine has implemented several initiatives that have boosted morale for city employees and have instilled both excitement and hope into the community as well. Struthers, a city that was once full of jobs and opportunity during the steel industrialization, has been left with its remnants of abandoned mills and financial hardships. With the help of Catherine’s interventions, such as city-wide clean ups involving volunteers, food drives to feed the less fortunate, sponsoring the 2020 graduating class of Struthers High School with tools to prepare them for college since not being able to complete their academic careers due to COVID, receiving grants to construct a new fire station and update the police station, as well as welcoming new businesses into the city to create jobs, she has made Struthers a wonderful place to call home again.
Awarded to an individual that has demonstrated that innovation has contributed to a more efficient way of doing things. The creativity should be creative and original. The innovation adds to the community by reducing violence, reducing costs and uses data that will validate the effectiveness of the innovation
Winner – Dr. Rhonda Brinkley-Kennedy
Dr. Kennedy is the Director of Agency at South Central Training Consortium. She strives to provide the best supervision, constantly pushes her students and opens their eyes to situations in a different way. She is also able to provide constructive criticism without making her students feel less than. Dr. Kennedy makes those around her want to be better as students, as future psychologists, and as people.
Awarded to an individual or team that has assisted communities/individuals in taking the next steps in life by demonstrating commitment to addressing community needs through intervention and advocating for peaceful solutions to violence. The commitment is through the implementation of exceptional program(s) that engage the community to improve and foster restorative initiates.
Winner – Fantayjah Callis
Fantayjah Callis is a 22-year-old CSEC survivor who has developed a passion to educate and inspire young women and men surrounding at risk behaviors as well as commonalities that aid in becoming the next youth to be exploited into the commercial sexual exploitation crisis. Fantayjah just recently graduated from Two Wings and in partnership with Forgotten Children has continued advocacy work at the Lynwood Women’s Facility. Fantayjah has provided information to the community during the Breaking the Chain Festivals and has also partnered with others such as Restoration Diversion Services and is currently studying "Ending the Game" to assist in her reaching her goal of one day providing mentorship and ongoing advocacy within school settings to promote awareness and reduction in youths becoming a victim to this devastating cycle.
Aquil Basheer was nominated for all three awards because of his extensive involvement within the community. As founder and leader of PCITI he and his organization have trained many classes over the years in Los Angeles (and all over the world) on diffusing tense situations and keeping the public safe. As our society explores options of reimagining law enforcement, the people at PCITI and those they have trained will be key figures in proving non-violent invention and communications as effective options to heavy-handed policing. Aquil and his organization have become known internationally for their training program to educate people on the existence of inner city challenges as well as effective methods of defusing violence and helping inspire collaboration between community leaders, law enforcement and social services. He is also an integral part of the training at the USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Aquil and his organization are recognized worldwide for their innovative approach to training people in skills to quell community violence and tense situations. Although the organization is centered in Los Angeles, they take their training on the road to cities across the county. Internationally PCITI has done trainings in a dozen countries. Additionally Aquil co-wrote “Peace In The Hood – Working with Gang Members to End the Violence” and been featured in the movies “License To Operate” and “The Black Jacket”, which shares the innovative techniques or training and working with existing community leaders and law enforcement to create a formula for collaboration of services and neighborhood social wellbeing.
Awarded to individuals who have demonstrated how the training has positively affected the efficiency and effectiveness though academics. Approaches to teaching and the support of learning that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. Development of curricula, resources or services that reflect a command of the field. Evaluation practices that bring about improvements in teaching and learning. Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience.
Winner- Aquil Basheer