Livin’ a Dream
Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals honor and celebrate community and civic contributions.
The Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals (ULGA-YP) celebrated their fourth annual Dream Catchers Awards Reception on Fri., Aug. 10, 2012 at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.
Hosted by media personality Nina Brown, the semi-formal special occasion – ULGA-YP’s signature event and fundraiser – paid homage to some dynamic individuals and organizations within the metro Atlanta community that take active roles across education, social justice, community service, business, health and wellness, economic empowerment and civic engagement. ULGA-YP — an auxiliary of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta (ULGA) and the National Urban League (NUL) formerly known as Atlanta Urban League Young Professionals, or AULYP — is composed of individuals ages 21-40 that are equally dedicated and committed to work/life balance, social responsibility and community activism.
The evening was one filled with great networking, mingling, a few well-made rounds of Perfect Bartender-produced cocktails (I, for one, had my share of Courvoisier Rose), promoting the organization’s impact and high-octane dancing to round it out, but there were clear objectives to celebrate and acknowledge ULGA-YP’s amnesty towards social and economic progress. “They work really hard to connect as a family,” says Nancy Flake Johnson, ULGA’s President and CEO. “This group works; they’re not a party-only social organization. They’re committed to empowering our communities, and let’s be honest. People need help. We need your help to be our ambassadors to help people address change.”
Fostering youth development programs such as Project Ready for 65 students at Benjamin E. Mays High School, numerous service projects, workshops, seminars, social mixers, voter registration drives and voter education panel discussions are the collective’s grounds for success. Not to mention, just as much emphasis was placed on ULGA-YP nurturing young talent across various disciplines. “This is a special occasion that celebrates the fantastic year of service done in the community,” says Travis Townsend, ULGA-YP’s President.
Among the class of 2012 award recipients include Georgia State Representative Yasmin Neal (Political Advocate), MillerCoors (Corporate Advocate), Ron Clark Academy (Community Advocate) and Bert’s Big Adventure (Dream Catchers). Though he wasn’t in attendance to accept his accolade (as with Ron Clark Academy due to a staff retreat in preparation for the upcoming school year), Bert Weiss, of Q100’s The Bert Show, expressed his sincere gratitude via video stream. He shares with the audience that the idea for his non-profit organization – since 2002 has given special needs and terminally ill children ages five to 12 and their families the opportunity to experience five days at Walt Disney World pro bono that never had such an experience to visit – came during his days of working a morning show in Dallas. He admits that his team at Bert’s Big Adventure is a group of passionate women committed to helping children. “This is something I wanted to do for my community if I got my own show,” he says. “When you’re a part of a special needs family, you’re on the outside looking in. This trip was about connecting and creating magical moments; we were going to escape.”
Accepting the first honor of the evening, Rep. Neal (D-GA-75), who helped to introduce HB 1116 earlier this year which prevents men from getting vasectomies unless they need to avoid serious injuries or death, is humbled by her honor. “You do things you don’t know people actually see,” she says. Crystal Scales was recognized as ULGA-YP’s 2012 Member of the Year: noted by Ciji Tatum, ULGA-YP Vice President, for her willingness to serve on four of six subcommittees proactively. Following an essay contest and an intense screening process for numerous submissions, five area high school graduates – Carnissa Kilgore, Kenita Posey, Patricia Lawrence, Myesha Jackson-Wynn and Mashara Fross — were also each awarded a $1,000 scholarship during the presentation from the award-winning chapter for demonstrating academic excellence and commitment to service. “Going post-secondary is a must do,” Jackson says to the recipients. “And ULGA-YP helps to cultivate the next leaders.”
For more information on ULGA-YP, log onto www.ulga-yp.org, friend Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals (ULGA-YP) on Facebook or follow @ulga_yp (#Dream2012) on Twitter.
Photos: Erin Kyle