On Saturday, January 26, 2013, The People's Voice newspaper hosted the 2013 Most Influential African Americans of Lake County Awards at the Milan Banquet Hall in Waukegan, Illinois. The theme of the evening was "Living Legends," and among those honored at the event with this prestigious recognition were none other than Lake County Housing Authority's Chairman of the Board, R. Delacy Peters, and Commissioner Cranston Byrd.
Also honored at the banquet was Jackie Cunningham, an individual who has actively participated in the Lake County Housing Authority's (LCHA) Family Self-Sufficiency program. As part of this program offered by LCHA, Ms. Cunningham attended training programs offered by the agency such as courses on "How to Manage Money" and "How to Get out of Debt," which she successfully completed and applied to her life as she pursued her own independence.
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She received recognition as one of the Most Influential African-Americans of Lake County for Community Service. This honor paid homage to her selfless dedication over the past five (5) years to the provision of outstanding service to at-risk youth as well as men, women and children struggling with the effects of substance and/or alcohol abuse. Ms. Cunningham is very involved in her roles at both the Youth Conversation Corps and NICASA.
However, she did not always want to be a part of the social service sector. Her initial career goal was to be a nurse, which she served as for several years, working as a certified medical assistant. However, she began volunteering with Americorps, which is a section of the U.S. Peace Corps, where she remained for two (2) years. Her preliminary interest in volunteering with this program stemmed from her desire to donate her time to aiding lower income citizens. It was through the Americorps program that she began her work with the Youth Conservation Corps as their Community Outreach person. While volunteering, she received an offer for the position of Employment Resource Manager, which enabled her to start working in an even more hands-on level with youth. It was through this position she was able to really find her niche as she networked with youth to assist them in pursuing their education (specifically earning their GED if they not had completed High School), obtaining driver's licenses, finding housing and learning more on resources available to them to help address food issues through means such as the Department for Human Services and NICASA.
Lake County Housing Authority Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer was in attendance at the event and was "thoroughly impressed by the level of selflessness and dedication that Ms. Cunningham has shown to those she so tirelessly works to assist. Her participation in LCHA's Family Self-Sufficiency program shows her level of fortitude to defy circumstance on her own right and the successes she has accomplished through her own positive 'can-do' attitude and hard work are a true testament to her. The level of impressive kindness and wisdom she is able to share with the community is a true blessing and it is an honor to see her receive this sort of recognition." In the past, Mr. Northern himself has been honored at this event in various capacities--with awards received in the Business, Civic Leadership and Visionary categories.
About Lake County Housing Authority (LCHA): The Lake County Housing Authority (LCHA) is an organization that has a 60+ year history of developing and administering housing programs within its jurisdiction area, comprised of all Lake County, Illinois with the exceptions of the townships of Waukegan and North Chicago, which have their own housing authorities. Consistently scoring as a "High Performer" on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assessments, LCHA provides housing assistance to approximately 3,500 families. For more information on the Lake County Housing Authority, please visit our webpage at www.lakecountyha.org