Lake County Housing Authority's Chairman of the Board, R. Delacy Peters, and Commissioner Cranston Byrd were among the honorees at the 2013 Most Influential African Americans of Lake County awards ceremony recently hosted by the People's Voice newspaper.
Also, Jackie Cunningham, who is involved with LCHA's Self-Sufficiency program, was recognized as one of the Most Influential African-Americans of Lake County for Community Service.
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As part of the program, 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.
She was honored for her dedication for the past five years of providing service to at-risk youth as well as men, women and children struggling with the effects of substance and/or alcohol abuse. Cunningham is very involved in her roles at both the Youth Conversation Corps and NICASA.
Her initial career goal was to be a nurse, and she worked for several years as a certified medical assistant. She began volunteering with AmeriCorps, a section of the U.S. Peace Corps, where she remained for two years.
Her initial interest in volunteering was to donate her time to assisting lower income citizens. It was through the AmeriCorps program that she began her work with the Youth Conservation Corps as its Community Outreach person.
While volunteering, she received an offer for the position of employment resource manager, which enabled her to start working on an even more hands-on level with youth.
She found her niche and assisted youths in pursuing education, specifically earning their GED if they not had completed high school; obtaining driver's licenses; finding housing; and learning about available resources to help address food issues.
David A. Northern Sr., LCHA executive director/CEO, who attended the event, said he was impressed by the level of selflessness and dedication Cunningham showed 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," he said.
"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."
LCHA has a 60-plus year history of developing and administering housing programs within Lake County, with the exceptions of the Waukegan Townships and North Chicago, which have their own housing authorities. LCHA provides housing assistance to approximately 3,500 families.
For details, visit www.lakecountyha.org.