Employee Achievement Awards

Employee Achievement Awards

----------------------------Power of Service Recipients----------------------------

Spring 2014 Power of Service Winner 
Cindy Venable
Social Service Policy and Advocacy Supervisor
Office for Aging and Disabled Citizens 

At a full staff meeting on June 16th, Cindy Venable was presented with CSR’s Power of Service Award, just days following her receiving the Champion for Aging Award from ElderServe. Cindy’s reputation as a dedicated public servant and strong advocate for the senior and disabled population earned her these prestigious awards.

For over 20 years, Cindy has helped Metro Government develop programs and services that ensure senior and disabled citizens have the same opportunities as everyone else. Examples of her leadership include: directs Metro’s Office for Aging and Disabled Citizens; chairperson for TRIAD – a grassroots coalition of partnerships; lead for the Mayor’s ADA Roundtable; and organizer of Senior Day Out which draws more than 2,000 senior together each year.

When called upon, Cindy willingly took the role of supervising two federal grants, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Foster Grandparent Program (FGP). Cindy leads the Accessible City Project, which works with Public Health and Wellness, Metro Council and Public Works to improve accessibility for special populations and helped to establish a process for citizens to register their complaints.

Cindy’s legacy has shown us all that she exemplifies the words of Edward Everrett Hale “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do”. Cindy is a can-do person who always finds the ability to help others in everything she does.

(Pictured with Cindy are Virginia Peck, Darrell Aniton and Ron Loughry (green shirt), Executive Director of Fern Creek/Highview United Ministries.)

Winter 2014 Power of Service Winner 
Mike Purcell 
Housing Rehab Specialist 

Mike Purcell is an outstanding employee in Metro's Weatherization Assistance Program with 19 years’ experience in housing rehab. He continually goes out of his way to ensure that clients’, contractors’ and staff needs are met to achieve the overall goal of making low-income residents homes in our community safer and more energy-efficient. As a housing inspector, his duties are very technical and highly regulated, but Mike never loses sight of the “human side” of his work by taking time to inform and educate the homeowners. For all of these reasons, coupled with Mike's integrity and personal character, he was named the recipient of CSR's Winter 2014 Power of Service award.

"Mike is the kind of guy who gets things done", stated his supervisor. "He is a highly educated and skilled inspector, yet he is one of the most humble individuals I know who is always the first in line to help with other projects.”

Fall 2013 Power of Service Winner 
Kyle Moorman 
Information Systems Supervisor 

When Kyle Moorman was presented with the Power of Service award at the November 2013 CSR staff meeting, he received a standing ovation from fellow-co-workers. This heart-warming display was a testimony of the respect and appreciation that all team members have for Kyle and his worth ethic. For more than 18 years, Kyle has delivered fast, dependable and quality service to ensure the department’s computer equipment and software, and other communications systems, are up and running. His knowledge, expertise and technical assistance in maintaining and retrieving client and program data are vital in meeting departmental goals and objectives.

Kyle is a complete professional -- always presenting a calm and cool demeanor -- and always willing to take on a new task or challenge asking "how can we make it work" instead of "it can't be de done". In accepting the award, Kyle recognized the "power of the service" that each of us has when we perform our duties to the best of our ability.

Summer 2013 Power of Service Winner 
Vilma Jones 
Information and Referral Tech 
South Jefferson Neighborhood Place 

At a full staff meeting in August, Vilma Jones was celebrated as CSR’s first Power of Service recipient. This award is designed to present quarterly to individuals who have provided quality service for an extended period of time. Vilma -- a dedicated and caring employee for 34 years --certainly meets those criteria.

Vilma is just as committed to serving our community today as the day she first began. Her reputation as a hard worker and a team player with a “can-do” attitude is known by co-workers and supervisors alike. Every day she comes into work and says “how can I help”? When other staff members are away from work, Vilma is always willing to take on additional tasks.

Most of all, she loves her job and loves the people in the community she serves. She is always seeking ways to find services for families and never gives up when she is faced with a family who is in crisis. As the leadership team stated when presenting the award, “We need more Vilma’s in Louisville to help citizens reach their full potential”.

-------------------------Power of Achievement Recipients-------------------------

June 2014 Power of Achievement Winner
Ajeenah Sharif
Social Service Program Specialist
Long-Term Housing and Support Team

As a Social Service Program Specialist for Community Services’ Long-Term Housing and Support Team, Ajeenah Sharif also shares her talents on the community’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Consumer Participation Task Force. Recently Ajeenah volunteered to lead research and analysis of data collected for the Spring 2014 Housing Barriers project, which involved committee members interviewing long-term shelter utilizers to identify the reasons individuals and families remain in shelters or on the streets for prolonged periods of times without taking advantage of available housing opportunities.

Ajeenah’s hard work and devotion ensured that the highest standards of data quality and analysis were met, and she engaged other resources such as recruiting Dr. Greg Leichty -- a professor of communications at University of Louisville who teaches quantitative and qualitative research methods -- to review the research protocol she developed. Furthermore, she conducted qualitative data analysis of the 33 interviews collected, and then wrote a report on the project that thoroughly describes respondent demographics, emerging themes from the data, shelter-specific issues and recommendations, and recommendations for CoC activities/policies.

Her report will serve as an important tool for Community Services and our partner agencies providing homeless services, and also help the CoC develop better mechanisms for moving long-term shelter utilizers from shelter or on the streets into permanent housing. In recognition of her exemplary dedication to this project and incredible skills, Ajeenah was named the Power of Achievement recipient for June 2004.

(Pictured above are Curtis Stauffer, Grants Coordinator who submitted the nomination, along with Assistant Director Katina Whitlock who helped present the award to Ajeenah at the monthly Continuum of Care meeting. Ajeenah appreciates the recognition, along with the support of her peers, but prefers not to be photographed.)

April 2014 Power of Achievement Winners
Dianne Gooch and Elizabeth Daniels
Program Supervisor and Program Coordinator, Crisis Prevention Programs
Outreach and Advocacy Division

As the Program Supervisor and Program Coordinator for CSR’s Crisis Prevention Programs, Dianne Gooch and Elizabeth Daniels lead an area which provide essential services for our community. One of the programs under their charge is LIHEAP, a highly visible program because more than 25,000 applications are processed over a 6-month period. It’s a fast-paced, stressful environment for the staff --- and for the families who apply, LIHEAP assistance can prevent extreme utility hardships or crisis during the coldest months of the year.

Recently LIHEAP was monitored for program compliance by Community Action Kentucky (CAK) and received ZERO findings! This is an outstanding accomplishment keeping in mind the strict eligibility and documentation requirements set by the State and Federal regulators, and the vast number of clients served. It is crucial that the program run in compliance or potentially face consequences that could impact the services we provide.

The successful monitoring visit demonstrated not only the hours of work Dianne and Elizabeth dedicated to prepare for the monitors, but it is also a testament of the highly effective jobs they perform each and every day. They foster a culture of integrity and respect with the LIHEAP staff across three sites, and maintain high standards with a seasonal staff that can change from year to year. The LIHEAP program serves as a model for “best practices” for the CSR department!

March 2014 Power of Achievement Winners
Syvoskia Bray Pope and Rebecca Brenzel
Microbusiness Coordinators
Financial Empowerment/economic Development Division 

As coordinators of CSR’s microbusiness program, Syvoskia Bray Pope and Rebecca Brenzel deliver vital services to budding entrepreneurs in our community, helping to provide training, technical assistance, and opportunities to provide for a loan. The financing piece is especially important for many of the low to moderate income residents served by this program because often they lack access to obtaining traditional financing.

Recently the microbusiness program underwent significant changes in its structure, moving from forgivable loans to revolving repayment loans. Syvoskia and Rebecca met this challenge head on by establishing new guidelines in how loan applications were accepted and processed, while maintaining great customer service to ensure the least amount of negative impact. The new structure has been highly successful -- as of March 31st, 15 revolving loans have been awarded, totaling $145,600 in funding to grow and expand businesses in Louisville.

Syvoskia and Rebecca are also deeply involved in the Shawnee NRSA helping to build the capacity and revitalization of the Shawnee Neighborhood. Their 8-week Power Up business training course at NorthWest Neighborhood Place ended on March 25th with 39 graduates. In addition, as members of CSR's Financial Empowerment/economic Development division, they also share their time and talents with numerous partnering agencies across the community.

In honor of the many creative ways that Syvoskia and Rebecca have supported CSR's mission, they were selected as the Power of Achievement recipients in March. (Thanks to Maribeth Schneber-Rhemrev for submitting this nomination.)

February 2014 Power of Achievement Winner
Curtis Stauffer
Grants Coordinator
Research, Planning and Compliance Division 

Curtis Stauffer is a bright, energetic, community-oriented staff member whose work as a Grants Coordinator is helping to open up many new doors for CSR. His commitment to CSR’s mission goes beyond his normal duties and work hours, as demonstrated by his recent involvement in the annual “street count” census of Louisville’s homeless population, coordinated by the Coalition for the Homeless. Volunteering his time – starting at 4 a.m. on a January morning with temperatures hovering around 9 degrees -- Curtis joined dozens of other individuals (including 5 CSR staff) physically count and survey homeless individuals living on the streets.

When an all-female team requested a male volunteer to accompany them to survey a homeless campsite where there had been a verbal threat to their safety, Curtis immediately agreed to join them, despite the potential danger. Curtis’ team was able to interview and assist fifteen homeless individuals, provide warm clothes and referrals to services, and collect essential data that will be used to help secure funding for homelessness service programs.  His team collected the most surveys out of all 40 teams that participated.

“Curtis being recognized as the Power of Achievement recipient for February exemplifies the selfless attitude that he brings to our team. His work is clearly more than just a job… it is part of a larger commitment to help those in need”, stated Laura Grawbowski, assistant director of the Research, Planning and Compliance Division.

November 2013 Power of Achievement Winner
Jennifer Clark 
Housing Program Coordinator
Research, Planning and Compliance Division

Congratulations to Jennifer Clark who was named CSR's Power of Achievement recipient for the month of November! In her role as Housing Program Coordinator in the Research, Planning and Compliance Division, Jennifer is widely respected for her dedication and hard work, particularly her passion for working with the homeless community.

For the last several months, Jennifer coordinated a steering committee to plan a new common assessment process to be used by homeless service providers. The goal of this process is to quickly access the needs of homeless residents with the goal of moving them into permanent housing. Jennifer's ability to work with a diverse group of individuals and agencies to seek new solutions earned her accolades from many partners in the Continuum of Care -- our community's collaborative effort to address Louisville's homeless.

Pictured with Jennifer on the left is Laura Grabowski (middle) and Virginia Peck (on the right).

October 2013 Power of Achievement Winner
Shelly Short
Senior Nutrition Site Manager
Sun Valley Community Center

Shelly Short's philosophy is "love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life." For more than 20 years, she has loved and cared about the seniors she serves as a staff member of Louisville Metro's Senior Nutrition Program. Because of her dedication -- combined with her willingness to grow with her job and learn new skills -- Shelley was selected as the recipient of the Power of Achievement Award for October. (Shelly is pictured 3rd from the left.)

For the past three years, Shelley has served as the senior nutrition site manager a Sun Valley Community Center, a very vibrant facility which provides hot meals to approximately 40 seniors each weekday, and Meals on Wheels to another 20 homebound seniors in the area. While Shelly's duties are primarily "hands-on" -- such as overseeing the volunteers who package and serve the meals, and building relationships with the senior participants -- she was recently given the added responsibility of maintaining all the data entry for the client database. Even though Shelly was inexperienced and uneasy with using computers, she took this new challenge "head on" and has done an incredible job of learning the new software. Shelly's commitment to lifelong learning not only has helped the program run more efficiently but also serves as an inspiration to fellow co-workers.

September 2013 Power of Achievement Winners
Paulina Michaud and Keith Evans
Senior Social Workers
South Jefferson Neighborhood Place and South Central Neighborhood Place

Congrats are in order to two CSR employees assigned to Neighborhood Place - Paulina Michaud and Keith Evans – who share the honor of Power of Achievement recipients for the month of September.

Paulina and Keith were nominated for their extraordinary work in executing the ESG Grant in an efficient and timely matter. Both served as referral points for ESG (a.k.a. Emergency Shelter Grant) and both went above and beyond the call of duty in learning a new set of policies and procedures to ensure that the clients referred met the eligibility criteria required by HUD, and that required documentation was complete.

Most importantly because of their leadership in building a collaboration with other Neighborhood Place staff as well as with CSR’s Research, Planning and Compliance and Legal Aid in completing the ESG, more than 100 families avoided eviction thanks to the assistance they received.

“It was critical to spend these funds quickly while still maintaining compliance with federal regulations. This wouldn’t have been possible without Neighborhood Place’s team stepping up to the plate”, stated Jennifer Clark a member of CSR’s Research, Planning and Compliance who nominated Paulina and Keith.

August 2013 Power of Achievement Winner
Caitlin Willenbrink
Bank On Louisville Intern
Financial Empowerment/economic Development (FEed) Team

Congrats to Caitlin Willenbrink, a valuable member CSR’s Financial Empowerment/economic Development (FEed) Team, who was named the recipient of the Power of Achievement Award for August. Caitlin originally joined the FEeD Team as an AmeriCorps-VISTA volunteer for Bank On Louisville (BOL) and has now transitioned into a part-time employee (who accomplishes so much work each week it seems like she is full-time!). She is a motivated, forward-thinking, self-starting individual who gives 100% effort to everything she touches.

Caitlin has greatly increased the capacity of the work BOL does in our community and across the state in numerous ways including: building new partnerships for the BOL initiative; bringing new financial education opportunities to CSR and our partnering agencies; and developing new marketing materials. Her collaborations with partnering agencies helped to develop a new Start Fresh training curriculum (for 2nd chance bank accounts) which will be an educational component used in the community–wide Financial Empowerment Provider Network. She also helped to adapt this curriculum to start a new pilot project with the Kentuckiana Girl Scouts called “Start Smart”. We are fortunate and proud to have Caitlin as a CSR staff member!
(Caitlin is pictured above - 2nd from the right.)

July 2013 Power of Achievement Winner
Charlene Welch
Senior Social Worker
Self-Sufficiency Services Team

Charlene Welch is a veteran CSR employee, who has a knack for getting her clients self-sufficient. Charlene works with formerly homeless families and individuals on long-term goals and other stability measures. Charlene currently provides long-term support to approximately 35 HOME TBRA households.

Charlene has had several recent stability successes with her clients. Three of Charlene’s clients have either recently purchased a home of their own or are in the final stage of purchase. All three of these households have gained greater income supports and increased financial security through Charlene’s guidance and counsel. In addition, another one of Charlene’s clients has now gone well over income for the program, and will no longer need public assistance going forward. These four cases are just a small example of the dedication and success that Charlene has brought to CSR’s Self-Sufficiency Services Team.

June 2013 Power of Achievement Winner

Fate Longino
Social Service Program Specialist
Community Action Partnership, Crisis & Prevention Programs

Fate began working last October 2012 as a seasonal employee with the LIHEAP utility assistance program, and was promoted to a full-time Social Service Program Specialist in January due to her hard work and dedication. During the Subsidy and Crisis Phases of the program, Fate processed over 2400 LIHEAP applications quickly and accurately. Her passion to provide clients with the best customer service possible also inspired her teammates to improve the quality of service they delivered.

Fate further exhibited her leadership skills by helping to guide the crew at the Southwest Government Center (a LIHEAP satellite site) through the winter months, and also by serving as a monitor for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) during the summer months. It’s no surprise that Faith did not hesitate to step in to fill in to monitor the SFSP sites for a fellow employee who was ill during this program. Fate is an exemplary employee and we are grateful for her contributions to CSR’s mission.

Thanks to our community partners -- the Kentucky Science Center and MPC Promotions -- for providing incentives to support our Employee Recognition Program.