(Chicago) – TASC Board Chairman Rev. Calvin Morris and TASC President Pamela Rodriguez greeted more than 250 donors, volunteers, colleagues, board members, and staff who gathered at the Westin Michigan Avenue on December 1 to honor the work of two extraordinary leaders, Melody M. Heaps and Hon. George W. Timberlake.
TASC’s 2010 Leadership Awards Luncheon was a celebration, Ms. Rodriguez said, of “our leaders of vision, those we honor today and countless others, who see the challenges in families and communities across the state and are not content to sit complacently by, but rather push themselves and others to create and implement new ideas that are based on collaboration, research, proven practice, and fiscal responsibility.”
Judge Timberlake, chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and retired chief judge of the Second Judicial Circuit, received TASC’s Public Voice Leadership Award. A resident of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, he was recognized for his commitment to addressing the distinct challenges facing adolescents.
“His leadership and vision are evident in many successful youth initiatives today,” said Ms. Rodriguez, “from the Mission Possible substance abuse prevention coalition in Jefferson County to a wing at the Franklin County Detention Center where young people’s health and social needs are evaluated to be addressed locally, rather than in the more costly confines of state prisons.”
Ms. Heaps, founder of Illinois TASC and the agency’s president from 1976 to 2009, received TASC’s Justice Leadership Award. Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-Chicago) praised TASC’s leadership team and introduced Ms. Heaps as “one of the most visionary persons I have ever encountered.” In accepting the award, Ms. Heaps conveyed her passion for building systems that address addiction as a public health issue and public policies that confront the disproportionate incarceration of people of color.
Speaking from personal experience, TASC case manager Antanya Knapp said she’d known years ago that she wanted to work for TASC one day, since it was TASC that had helped turn her mother’s life around. Ms. Knapp described the confusing and frightening experiences that she and her young siblings faced when her mother was actively using. After her mother was sent to TASC and began her path to recovery, “from that point on, all the memories were positive.”
In addition to being a celebration of TASC’s partners, clients, and staff throughout Illinois, the event also raised nearly $100,000 for TASC’s programs and services. TASC gratefully acknowledges our donors, including patrons, friends, supporters, raffle donors, and all who contributed to TASC’s work this year.
Photos by Boris Uk.