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WGVU presents "I Have Made a Difference" Awards

  • A total of 13 people or organizations received an "I Have Made a Difference" award from WGVU Public Media, in recognition for their contributions in the community.
  • Michelle Jokisch-Polo, (center) director of storytelling for Urban Core Collective, won the Person of the Year award. President Thomas J. Haas, left, and WGVU General Manager Michael Walenta, right, presented the award.
  •  Lori's Voice, an organization that helps young people with disabilities, won the People's Choice Award.
  • Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan won the Non-profit of the Year Award.
  • Bryant Mitchell, owner of a local real estate business who has donated to more than 30 non-profits in the first 18 months of being in business, won the Inclusion Award.
  • EmbodyGR, a non-profit organization that offers free yoga and meditation for the underserved, won the Health Award.
  • Julie Lake, health and wellness coordinator for Senior Neighbors, won the Health Award.
  • Grand Rapids Ballet School won the Arts Award.
  • Steffanie Rosalez, curator of Cultura Collective, won the Arts Award.
  • Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization that unites veterans with first responders, won the community Veterans Award.
  • Meegan Zickus, who works to raise awareness of social issues and the needs of children and families in Allendale through her Facebook page Allendale Advocacy, won the individual Education Award.
  • SLD Read, an organization that helps individuals with dyslexia, learning differences and other reading challenges, won the community Education Award.

Posted on January 15, 2018

A total of 13 people or organizations received an "I Have Made a Difference" award from WGVU Public Media, in recognition for their contributions in the community.

Awards were given out by the WGVU Engage Committee in eight categories: Inclusion, Health, Arts, Veterans, Education, People's Choice, Non-profit of the Year, and Person of the Year.

Nominees were judged by a group of panelists representing the WGVU Engage Committee, WGVU Public Media and members of the community. Winners were honored at an awards luncheon January 10 at the Eberhard Center on Grand Valley's Pew Grand Rapids Campus. 

Award winners:

Person of the Year: Michelle Jokisch-Polo, director of storytelling for Urban Core Collective

People's Choice: Lori's Voice, an organization that helps young people with disabilities

Non-profit of the Year: Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan

Inclusion 

• Community Award: Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW)

• Individual Award: Bryant Mitchell, owner of a local real estate business who has donated to more than 30 non-profits in the first 18 months of being in business.

Health 

• Community Award: EmbodyGR, a non-profit organization that offers free yoga and meditation for the underserved

• Individual Award: Julie Lake, health and wellness coordinator for Senior Neighbors, has served thousands of Kent County's most vulnerable residents over 60, providing direct patient care to keep seniors healthy and independent as long as possible.

Arts 

• Community Award: Grand Rapids Ballet School

• Individual Award: Steffanie Rosalez, curator of Cultura Collective, creates space for people of color to convene and create beyond the existing framework of the contemporary art world.

Veterans 

• Community Award: Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization that unites veterans with first responders

• Individual Award: David McClymont was instrumental in securing a float for LZ Michigan events, along with supplies, storage for the float and rebuilding it from scratch. 

Education 

• Community Award: SLD Read, an organization that helps individuals with dyslexia, learning differences and other reading challenges

• Individual Award: Meegan Zickus has served on the Allendale School Board for 10 years and works to raise awareness of social issues and the needs of children and families in Allendale through her Facebook page Allendale Advocacy.