Catholic Commission of Summit County
Announces 38th Annual Justice Award Recipients
2016 Bishop William Cosgrove Justice
International Institute of Akron
The Catholic Commission of Summit County has announced that International Institute of Akron will receive the 38th Annual Bishop William Cosgrove Justice Award at its annual dinner on Friday, December 2, 2016. Founded in 1916, the International Institute of Akron (IIA) has been a leader in the ever-expanding international community of Akron, and an established fixture on North Hill since 1965. In recent years IIA has also become a central leader to the North Hill neighborhood in general. IIA’s leadership to the broader community originates from a growing emphasis on community outreach initiatives. It is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in Ohio, affiliated with 33 nation-wide partner agencies under the federal U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. IIA professional staff and volunteers are fluent in 15 languages, highly educated, and nearly 50% are themselves immigrants.
The person/organization that is nominated for the Bishop William Cosgrove Justice Award must have:
- Demonstrated a strong and active commitment to the concept of social justice in harmony with biblical values. (The nominee need not be affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.)
- Been a positive force for systemic change through community or church, organizing and education, legislative involvement, personal example, etc.
- Responded in the biblical tradition to those who are victims of injustice through advocacy, self-help efforts, community development, legislative action, etc.
- A personal lifestyle that reflects a spirit of solidarity with the poor.
Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Leadership
Other Summit County leaders are recognized at the dinner with the Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Leadership Award. In the spirit of Church in the City, the recipients demonstrate solidarity and a commitment to ongoing education, advocacy, and community involvement throughout Summit County.
- Barnabas Jobs Club of St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Northfield assists individuals in obtaining basic jobs skills and employment support through networking. The Club meets twice a month to connect employers with those seeking a job. They also have a network of people to assist those looking for a job to assist with resumes, help with career choices, discuss skills applicable to a particular field and offer guidance and support.
- Akron Family Garden Initiative of Immaculate Conception and Park United Methodist Church of Kenmore. This is a volunteer-driven community outreach and nutrition program that provides low-maintenance gardens to low-income and at-risk families in need.
- Gerald Jira, a member of St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Northfield. Gerry is an integral part of many social justice programs working both locally and internationally. He is active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the El Salvador Mission team, the Jobs Club and Ozioma Hope for Wellness. He networks with other parishes to share ideas that helps to strengthen everyone’s programs.
Rose Juriga Memorial Youth Justice
Additionally, Youth Justice Awards are granted to those who demonstrate a strong and active commitment to the concept of social justice in harmony with biblical values and are a positive force for promoting change through their schools, communities, or churches. The award has been renamed to the Rose Juriga Memorial Youth Justice Award. Rose was a 30+ year member of the Catholic Commission including as chairperson and was a champion for people who had little or no voice in the Akron community.
- Julia Mullins, a senior at Walsh Jesuit High School, has strong leadership in the Campus Ministry. She serves in the St. Benedict Joseph Labre homeless ministry and as president of the Fair Trade Club challenging fellow students to live a life of service to others. She is considered on campus to be “a leader among leaders.”
- Michael English, a senior at Archbishop Hoban High School, has a sound understanding of what it means to be socially just. He is a senior leader in the Justice Akron Ministries (JAM) as well as becoming very involved in Project HOPE, an outreach ministry for the homeless in Akron, United for Uganda and Students Against Destructive Behaviors. He has a genuine servant heart especially for the poor.