Phoenix Family Blog

introducing the 2017 Clifton R. Cohn Community Leaders


We're getting ready to enter into one of our favorite times of the year. It's award season! Every year, Phoenix Family recognizes three people we serve for their courage, leadership, and determination with the Clifton R. Cohn Community Leaders.

Named after our founder, the Clifton R. Cohn Community Leaders awards are the highest honor we give and recognize the hard journey and the unwaivering determination of the people we serve to exit poverty and to impact the community around them.

This year's winners are:

Velda Moorman: Senior Community Leader

Velda Moorman - 2017 Senior Community Leader

If Velda Moorman had a life slogan, it would be “never give up.” When Velda first arrived at Elsie Apartments, one year ago, she was grieving the loss of her husband and life she once had. Her world had shrunk down to the four walls of her apartment, isolating herself from family and friends. Velda had always seen herself as a strong, independent person, good wife, good mother and good grandmother. When her husband died, she lost that part of herself and she wanted to get back to that point. Over the past year, Velda has worked on improving her financial situation, securing employment, and increasing her focus on her health and wellness. Velda says her body is feeling better, she lost over 62 pounds, and her mental health is better. Each day Velda is grateful for her experiences with Phoenix Family and the support she has received there. She would say that she found her true self again.

Adrianna Baston: Adult Community Leader

Adrianna Baston

Adrianna Baston is a force to be reckoned with. She's the type of person who sets a goal and takes on every challenge you throw her way, but never loses sight of her goal. Adrianna came into Phoenix Family's offices as a senior in high school completely determined to go to a university and graduate with a bachelors in fashion design and merchandising. She had been admitted to Missouri State University in Springfield Missouri, and had chosen to leave the comfort of her home to pursue her dream. Deciding to attend was the easy part. First, as one of the few in her family to go to college and needing financial assistance, she had to figure out how to find help filling out her FASFA, then how to pay for her dorm fees, her books, and, event how to get to college, since her family didn't own a car. After completing her first year at Springfield, Adrianna returned to Kansas City and made the difficult decision to transfer to Penn Valley, which would allow her to save money and use the metro for transportation until she could purchase a car. Although Adrianna was disappointed about this decision, she felt that it was in her best interest to remain persistent, and realistic. She has continued on with her studies, and was even hired as the part-time Program Assistant for Friendship Village. Every day has a set of challenges that most people don’t even think of, such as, doing homework without having internet access in her home, taking the bus to school and back every day, and still making it to work on time. Yet she never gives up; each challenge that has been thrown her way, Adrianna has met head on, and it is her no holds attitude is exactly what is going to give her a bright future.

Dahab Hailu: Youth Community Leader

Dahab Hailu

Dahab is an extremely bright 15-year-old young woman who has been an active participant in Phoenix Family’s youth programs for over five years. She was born in Kenya and her parents are immigrants from Ethiopia. When she first joined the youth program she was a quiet and reserved child and we have been privileged to watch her grow into a confident, talented, and determined young lady. Dahab is a true leader, both in the classroom and to the Parvin Estates community. A sophomore at North Kansas City High School, she excels in the International Baccalaureate diploma program with a 4.0 GPA. In addition, she has taken on multiple leadership roles in the HIKE program and has become a role model for other participants who look up to her and try to emulate her academic and personal successes. Dahab has always expressed an interest in helping others and determined that she really wants to save lives and would like to become a cardiologist. She has high aspirations to attend an Ivy League university, with Princeton at the top of her list.

One of the important core life skills taught in the Phoenix Family youth programs is about building and demonstrating positive character traits (trustworthiness, responsibility, fairness, respect, caring, and citizenship). Dahab embodies each of these traits and is an exceptional role model for the other children on site.

Please join us in congratulating this year's winners and join us at this year's Un*Gala: Heroes vs. Villains.

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