St. John Fisher College Announces Award Winners at “Road Less Traveled” Event
On Thursday, February 24, the annual “The Road Less Traveled” event took place at St. John Fisher College, with an awards ceremony honoring individuals who fight for peace and social justice in the community.
The Jennifer Koon Courage Award is given to one student and one community member who strive to make the world a better and more peaceful place. The award is made possible thanks to the Jennifer Koon Peacemaking Fund, which was established in memory of Jennifer Koon by her parents after she was tragically murdered during her sophomore year at Fisher in 1993. The Fund is aligned with the Peace and Social Justice Studies Program, and is used to support educational lectures, workshops, and other peace-related activities, as well as the awards.
The student recipient was Caroline Polino ’11, a student in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education. Polino has been an active volunteer for School 39 for three years, and has volunteered for several campus service projects. Perhaps the biggest event she has been a part of during her four years at the College is the Teddi Dance for Love, serving in various committee positions. Upon graduation, she will have volunteered over 730 hours. In addition, she has also been very involved with her church parish in Buffalo, where she helps run an annual Toy Give-Away for underprivileged children during the holidays.
The community recipient was Doug Ackley, Director of Rochester Programs for Teen Empowerment. He was recognized for his “commitment to working with youth to help make their lives better.” He opened the Teen Empowerment site in Rochester after moving here in 2002. The Center hires high-risk youth from local communities, trains them to serve as youth organizers, and conducts programs that assist youth in addressing their issues and needs. One of the most important initiatives of the Center is the Youth-Police Unity Project (Y-PUP), which culminated in a day-long summit meeting involving more than 80 youth and 30 police officers last May. The Center received recognition for Y-PUP as a “Bright Idea” from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, which is part of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and was cited as a possible model for other communities.
The Peace and Social Justice Spirit Award was established in 2006 to recognize Fisher alums who have lived their lives embracing the values of “goodness, discipline, and knowledge,” and dedicating themselves to a life of intellectual, professional, and civic integrity, in which diversity and service to others are valued and practiced. This year, the award was given to two individuals - Deacon Kevin Carges ’84 and David M. McEneany ’66.
Deacon Carges has been particularly dedicated to reaching out and helping the poor locally as well as in Third World countries. He is a member of the Board of Directors of St. Peter's Kitchen in Rochester, and is a Global Fellow for Catholic Relief Services. He has been on several mission trips to Jamaica, Haiti, and Nicaragua to feed, clothe, and house the poor, and created an organization called Deacon Kevin’s Circle of Friends (http://www.deaconkevin.org) “to raise funds for our brothers and sisters in Third World countries and to increase awareness of their living conditions.” In addition, he is one of the founding members of “Eight 4 Third World Hope,” which recently raised funds to rebuild a basic school for the community of Concord St. Ann, Jamaica. The new school is now under construction.
McEneany has been a devoted volunteer for the Special Olympics for many years. Because of his service, he was invited to become the Regional Director of the Genesee Office as well as a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for the Special Olympics, Monroe County. In addition, he is the co-founder of Jamaican Advantage thru Sports for Youth (JASY), a charitable mission and youth ministry program, that provides summer sports training camps for economically disadvantaged youth. In June 2009, JASY was recognized and endorsed in Jamaica by the Office of the Prime Minister as a key program supporting Jamaica’s National Transformation Program. On May 5, 2010, eighteen members of the Fisher community, including students, alumni, and staff, participated in the program and ran a five-day camp for 125 young children to show them there are alternatives to crime and drugs.
Doug Ackley, David McEneany, Caroline Polino, Fr. Joseph Trovato, and Deacon Kevin Carges