CPA Essays

All Nominating Community Peacemaker Essays 2013

The House of the Good Shepherd was nominated by Carrie E. Conte LMSW who writes: We hear all of the time “Oh you work there? Isn’t that where all of the bad kids go?” No, Sir: We provide services to children and families who have strengths that society fails to see. I am writing to nominate the House of the Good Shepherd for the 2013 Community Peacemaker Awards. We provide a safe haven for more than 200 children and families at any given time. All of the children we serve have experienced some sort of traumatic event which has led to an out of home placement. We aim to provide an environment in which these children feel safe, where they can continue to connect with their community, and work to resolve any issues which would hold them back from being a happy and productive member of the community. “ An eye for and eye makes the whole world go blind” -Ghandi. If we practiced an eye for an eye, any mistake made by a child would result in an influx of placements in a juvenile detention center. Instead, we build upon existing strengths and work with non-punitive means for children to learn and grow while also managing services the biological parents need in order for a successful reunification. Our agency is not about producing perfect children or being a consequence to a poor choice, we are about giving children and families an opportunity to start growing again and giving them another chance at life. How do we make the community a more peaceful place?

Corporate Peacemaker Award 2013

St. Elizabeth Medical Center

St. E’s was nominated by Tracy Soules who writes: It is with great pleasure I nominate St. Elizabeth Medical Center for the Community Peacemaker award.  St. Elizabeth Medical Center exemplifies the highest ideals and standards of healthcare and education in this community.   Day by Day, moment by moment, they are impacting people’s lives in countless ways.  They most certainly fill the criteria for the Community Peacemaker award by using innovative techniques and ideas that show appreciable change in our community.   At every level of this organization you will be met with astounding kindness, compassion, and skill. 

I spend many hours at St. E’s due to the fact that my mother is chronically ill.  Over the past years her admissions run the gamut from moderate illness to critical, life threatening situations.  Every time my family and I are at St. E’s we have been treated  professionally ,with respect, and compassion that goes above normal standards.  Every person we have come in contact with shows concern and compassion for the patient, the family,  and  the situation. The friendly demeanor of  Administration, nursing, specialists,  food service, maintenance, nursing aides, etc , lets us know that there is someone who genuinely cares about us.   Time is taken to answer your questions and explain procedures.  Effort is made to make you feel relieved and reassured that everything will be OK.  Every person that enters the room smiles and addresses you politely and with kindness.  One day a nurse noticed I was reading a fitness magazine and we had a conversation about yoga.   The next day she brought me a yoga book to read.   On another day a lab tech noticed I was interested in cooking and the next day she came in with several delicious recipes to try.  And,  on a very stressful day , as I was waiting for my mother to return from a serious procedure , a perceptive Nurse gave me hug, a cross, and a prayer book.  My Savior on a day when I really needed that hug!  All of  those little actions and the ability to connect make such an appreciable impact that enrich the lives of people around us.   A visit or admission to the hospital when a loved one is ill can be very intimidating and overwhelming.  St. Elizabeth staff is able to humanize the experience and remove some of the “trauma” patients and family feel.  My family and I are among the thousands of people that benefit from the valuable services, education, and emotional support they have to offer.

History of St. Elizabeth Medical Center which supports this nomination:  

MISSION:  St. Elizabeth Medical Center Community, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi and faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, is committed to excellence in healthcare and education. We pledge to do this with compassion and respect for the dignity for all.

HISTORY:  The hospital was established in 1866 by the Sisters of St. Francis in a small house on Columbia Street that was donated by St. Joseph Church in Utica. Two Sisters were especially important in this work, Mother Marianne Cope and Mother M. Bernardina. In 1862, Mother Marianne entered religious life in Syracuse and participated in the establishment of St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, two of the first hospitals in Central New York and among the first 50 general hospitals in the U.S. Mother Marianne Cope was canonized a saint October 21, 2012 based upon her work caring for women and children with leprosy on the Hawaiian Islands with five other Sisters for 35 years. Mother M. Bernardina is the founder of the Order of St. Francis, a religious community of Sisters in Syracuse, New York. She was a teacher at St. Joseph School in Utica, but the black-robed Franciscan often made her way through the streets of West Utica to visit the sick. She often found poverty and neglect and resolved to find a place where the sick could be cared for by the Sisters. 

Today, St. Elizabeth Medical Center (SEMC), now located at 2209 Genesee St., is a 25-acre facility with 201 beds. Much has changed since the days of a one-bed facility. Additions have been built and technology has advanced greatly but, through it all, we maintain the beliefs of our founding Sisters. Each person has the right to quality healthcare and the hospital strives to administer to the whole person to promote physical, spiritual and emotional wellness.

 SCOPE OF SERVICES:  St. Elizabeth now includes the Area Trauma Center, Mohawk Valley Heart Institute, Mohawk Valley Sleep Disorders Center, Marian Medical Professional Building and five schools: The College of Nursing, The School of Radiography, The St. Elizabeth Family Medicine Residency Program, the Fellowship in Hospital Medicine and the Fellowship in Gynecologic Endoscopy.

 St. Elizabeth Medical Center operates 16 clinics with approximately 122,000 patient visits to its community offices annually. Its healthcare services include Primary Care Specialties of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, with a focus on health maintenance and disease prevention. Additional services are also provided at the Women’s Health Center, including Prenatal Care and Gynecology. St. Elizabeth Medical Center partnered with Kernan Elementary School to establish a School-Based Health Center, which provides quality primary healthcare services to enrolled Kernan Elementary students on site at the elementary school.

St. Elizabeth has served the Mohawk Valley for over 146 years and, with more than 1,900 employees, is an employment and economic anchor in the community.

We are truly privileged and fortunate to have an outstanding Medical Center with a strong history and exceptional reputation in this community.   They employ some of the most dedicated and seasoned staff and volunteers and we should be proud to honor them. 

United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area was nominated by Patti Robinson who writes: The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area is an agency that works collaboratively with other agencies, companies and individuals in order to make our area a better place for everyone who lives here, not just those they serve. It is a perfect example of “community activism that promotes collaborative conflict resolution.” The mission of our local United Way is to mobilize the caring power of the Valley & Greater Utica Area by connecting people, resources and ideas to create a thriving community. In its simplest form, United Way is a social change organization. With the help of volunteers, they attempt to identify community issues, gather the community around the issue and then get funding to support the solution. The United Way does not function outside of collaboration because their staff partners with community volunteers in order to determine how to best serve the Mohawk Valley. Local volunteers staff all the board of directors, allocation panels and funding committees. The money raised stays in this area to fund agencies that are vetted by local volunteers to make sure the funds are being used effectively according to the standards that local volunteers help determine.

Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce Catalysts was nominated by John Nogas who writes: The Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce recently started a young professionals organization called catalysts. This organization is for young professionals from age 21 - 40. Their goal is to promote peace and prosperity and camaraderie. They are trying to get young people to stay in the Mohawk valley and not leave. They are the future and are trying very hard to keep them in this area. These young professionals are the key to the growth of this area. One of there after hours took part at the Utica zoo. They are really helping local organizations and trying to make this area a better place to live in. They just got organized about a year ago but already have several Young Professionals joining the Catalysts. They are exactly what the peacemaker project stands for. Young people working for a better peaceful and loving community. 

Janet Butler is an amazing volunteer and was nominated by Teresa Huggins who writes: Janet creates peace through her interactions with individuals and through her volunteer work. Never seeking recognition, she guides with optimism and curiosity allowing individuals to discover their own answers. She finds solutions when people are challenged. As a volunteer with Leaders for Life International, she has lead presentations that inspired teens to see life with new hope and perspectives that give them courage to reach out to others in needs. She volunteers with Hospice and shares ways for children to remember their parents who have died. She inspires college students in ways to engage all teens in our programs. Her individual conversations empower people to find strength during challenging times and to take action to make a positive ripple. She has volunteered for school programs, summer trainings and weekend events. Her presence brings joy, compassion, faith and peace. People leave feeling renewed and inspired to live life in new ways. In this summer's program, we had teens and college students shared stories of loved ones who inspired them and some of them had died. One by one, Janet found a way to quietly connect with each youth and let them know by sharing their memories, they were honoring their loved ones. Her gentle conversations creates inner peace and a desire to reach out to others in need. Teens have created service projects, written stories honoring loved ones all with simple prompts from Janet. Gandhi shared "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World." Janet embodies this thought with her actions. Be Peace. Be Enthusiasm. Be Joy. Be Love = Janet Butler

Adam J. Lawless is the Community Engagement & Marketing Manager at the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area.

Adam was nominated by both Michelle Roberts and Patti Robinson,  Patti writes: Adam has one of the most contagiously positive attitudes anyone can have the pleasure of coming across. Delightful, funny, smart and witty would be some of the attributes that people would throw around about Adam. He is the life of any party. Look deeper, however, and you will find a man who knows himself who loves his life and who only wants to give to his community. Whether you are a mom needing diapers, a gay teen looking for direction and acceptance, a child needing to learn to read or a song needing to be sung…Adam is there. Adam is the man behind many of the initiatives that give the United Way its active presence with the people who need them. Adam created and runs the Day of Action, an annual day of service that brings people together to help make an impact in neighborhoods. Set during the workweek, many companies allow employees to utilize work time to volunteer for this one day. Under his direction, in 2012, nearly 80 volunteers helped to paint over graffiti throughout the city of Utica. The United Way’s popular drives are Adam’s concepts also. The Diaper, Summer Reading, and Back-to-School drives all help to collect much-needed supplies to aid children and families struggling to make ends meet. Volunteers help to spread the word throughout the community and collect supplies within their workplaces and/or civic organizations. This year the Back-to-School drive donated over 2,500 lbs of school supplies to local agencies, who then distribute the supplies to their clients. Adam also developed the idea for Day of Caring, a program that provides direction and aid to companies, agencies and other organizations that need help putting on an event or who have members or employees that would like to volunteer around the community. Adam is active in local theater playing lead roles in Game Show and RENT the Musical among many others. Live theater gives people a chance to come together and feel part of a community that is alive and vibrant. It increases our quality of life. One of Adam’s many interests includes the LGBTQ community. He was proactive in putting the strength of his public relations expertise towards the support of the New York State Marriage Equality Act. In October of 2011, Adam married his long time boyfriend Don Shipman becoming one of the first couples in Oneida County to take advantage of the newly passed Marriage Equality Act. True to Adam’s nature, he courageously leads the way so other’s lives will be easier. Having thought about this award for two years now, I cannot think of another person who spends the majority of their time behind the scenes, doing the hard hands-on-work that makes our community vibrant and peaceful. Nor one who is more fitting for an award such as the Community Peacemaker Award.


 Adam was also nominated by Michelle Roberts who writes: Adam should receive this award for his leadership and strong sense of giving to the community. Adam has been helping me with my business for years with this amazing writing and people skills. His positive attitude, delightful demeanor and love for the community has shown through in a million ways. Adam helped me start my business up by bartering services a few years ago. He has helped me publicize my work in a way that the media picks up on it and with today's social media it can be very difficult to stand out. His help with PR has been incredible to my business. He has become part of my creative team through the years helping my small business in a very unselfish way. He really is helping other's by helping me get my business heard and seen and in a lot of ways he is helping me bring art to the life's of people everyday. I really hope that Adam receives this award, he is well deserving of it! Thank you!

Tanya Davis is Executive Director for Keep America Beautiful of Rome, New York.  


Tanya was nominated by Mike Keelan who writes: Tanya Davis has diligently worked towards the collective betterment of the Rome community. Among many projects Ms. Davis actively spearheaded the effort to establish the first community gardens in multiple locations within the Rome community with inspiring results, i.e. a bountiful harvest! Ms. Davis did not hesitate for a moment to physically labor in the building of “raised beds” and subsequent spring planting of various vegetables. In addition, Ms. Davis has equally inspired the community’s youth and “older” folks with her efforts. Tanya’s foray into all things green began through her volunteer efforts with the Parent Teacher Group at Staley, which serves all of the Rome School District's fifth and sixth graders. She served on the PTG for three years (beginning her fourth now), and two of those were spent as President of the association. During that time, Tanya realized that there weren't many efforts going on to recycle in the classrooms, which was shocking given that their #1 waste is paper! So, what began as an effort to obtain recycling bins led her to develop a yearlong plan to "green" the school. That plan won the school many accolades, including winning the 2012 DEC Green School's Challenge in two categories - Top elementary school, and top school overall (Greenest school in the STATE!). In turn the message delivered to the students at Staley was taken home with them and prompted expanded recycling efforts for the overall community. Last year, Tanya assisted Clean and Green in obtaining five grants - one from Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and Troy-Bilt, one from Scott's Miracle Gro GRO1000 for the community gardens, one from KAB and the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group for pubic (on-the-go) recycling, and yet another from KAB and Coca Cola for event recycling, and a fifth one from CVP (Curbside Value Partnership) for education for curbside recycling efforts. The group continues to work closely with the city on the three primary KAB pillars - Litter Prevention, Waste Reduction and Recycling, and Beautification and Community Greening. Ms. Davis is a major asset for our collective communities and more than deserves the recognition of being awarded the Community Peacemakers Award. If anyone defines the “Community Peacemaker Award” Ms. Davis is that person.

Todd Kubica is the director of Upward Bound which is a federally–funded, four–year academic enrichment program designed to prepare high school students for entry into college. The mission of Upward Bound is to help students build the skills necessary to enter college, pursue a degree and graduate successfully.


Todd was nominated by Linda Tettamant who writes: Todd's undying support of teenagers in Utica is evident in his work with Utica GEAR UP, a college-readiness program headquartered at Mohawk Valley Community College. Todd began a program through GEAR UP called Math Corps that brings members of Utica's Class of 2017 together with college and high school students to learn rigorous math concepts. Todd believes in challenging these learners to help them realize that anything is possible if they try hard enough.

Todd Kubica is the director of Upward Bound which is a federally–funded, four–year academic enrichment program designed to prepare high school students for entry into college. The mission of Upward Bound is to help students build the skills necessary to enter college, pursue a degree and graduate successfully.


Todd was nominated by Linda Tettamant who writes: Todd's undying support of teenagers in Utica is evident in his work with Utica GEAR UP, a college-readiness program headquartered at Mohawk Valley Community College. Todd began a program through GEAR UP called Math Corps that brings members of Utica's Class of 2017 together with college and high school students to learn rigorous math concepts. Todd believes in challenging these learners to help them realize that anything is possible if they try hard enough.

James Vaughan co-founder of Incarcerated Flavors - Incarcerated Flavors purpose is to provide ex-offenders in Central New York with a job working in the development and production of our not-for-profit magazine entitled Incarcerated Flavors.

The organization was founded by James Vaughan and Co-Founded by Brian Franco. Part of their goal is to bridge the gap between those who are serving time and us on the outside; by showcasing the art/literary work of said individuals.


James was nominated by Johanna Marie who writes: I have spent almost 3 full years watching this gentlemen dedicate himself to making changes to a community he just moved to. He has worked fulltime for ACR as first a community outreach specialist and now a case manager, taken care of home and family, developed a successful club at MVCC where he attends school for Substance Abuse as well as putting together his Not-For Profit Organization targeting the recidivism rate within our communities. He has made it his life's mission to provide positive alternatives to negative aspects of life in the inner city. He has made great strides in his own personal life and is always smiling and willing to help on any street at any time of day no matter the need. He has hosted several events in the hopes spreading his message and bringing this community together on a positive note. I couldn't think of a better nominee.