(BlackNews.com) — “No good deed goes unpunished.” This age-old adage can mislead the kindhearted into believing good deeds backfire. The reality is good deeds often go unnoticed. ACCOLADE Celebrations, LLC was founded in 2014 in hopes of celebrating those who take it upon themselves to help another, purely out of kindness.
The Acts of Kindness Awards Gala honors members of the community for selfless acts that have brightened a stranger’s day, made a difference in someone else’s life, or brought hope and promise to dismal circumstances. Honorees are acknowledged in a beautiful, ballroom setting. The evening’s festivities will include an exquisitely catered banquet and mini-concert. The 2018 Acts of Kindness Awards Gala will be held from 7pm to 11pm on Saturday, April 28th at Martin’s Crosswinds, located at 7400 Greenway Center Drive in Greenbelt, Maryland.
“This will be our 3rd annual event,” says Wanda Adams, ACCOLADE Celebrations, LLC founder, Chief Executive Officer, and producer of the Acts of Kindness Awards. “Tragic events around the country are growing more disturbing. Regardless of what goes on in politics and society, there is so much good in the world. We work to remind people of that, as often as we can. Anyone in the D.C., Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan areas can nominate someone they know for any of four award categories. It is our pleasure to seek out, highlight, and celebrate kindness wherever we find it, especially now.”
Nominations were accepted through an online nomination process that concluded in January. Finalists have since been selected for awards offered in three (3) categories. This year’s Award Finalists are as follows:
Outstanding Community Service Award Finalists
* DaJuan Gay: This 20-year-old student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore returned home for Summer vacation. Learning many of his neighbors in Eastport Terrace in Annapolis had to endure the heat wave and sweltering 100-degree weather without air conditioning, he partnered with other neighbors and launched a crowdfunding campaign, raising over $11,000 for those who needed units. Next, the college student entered the race for Alderman of Anapolis’s Ward 6. “It’s not in me to see people hurting or without, and turn a blind eye.”
* Kristine Davis: Kristine Davis, a 20-year member of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, organized a successful donation drive for those devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Ms. Davis rounded up toiletries, baby food, other non-perishable foods, and pet food, as well as walkers and wheelchairs for the elderly, sending these items to residents in the Houston area. “Responding to emergencies and lending a helping hand is my first instinct.”
* Minister Maurice Winn: Minister Maurice Winn of First Baptist Church of Glenarden started the Lion’s Den Program, which teaches life skills to boys, grades 6 thru 8. He also voluntarily coaches three youth boys’ soccer teams for the Greater Laurel United Soccer Club. “When I am in service to others, it’s like ripples in an ocean.”
Outstanding Human Service Award Finalists
* The Re-Entry Roundtable for Prince George’s County, MD: This diverse group of individuals and organizations is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of formerly incarcerated individuals returning to citizenship. They provide resources and opportunities, as well as the support and services needed to become productive citizens. “We help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reintegrate into society.” Connect via Facebook @ReEntryRoundtable.
* The Arc Southern Maryland: The Arc Southern Maryland promotes community involvement, independence, and personal success for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “We advocate for improving the quality of life for people with different abilities.” Connect @arcsomd.
* The Society for Girls, Inc: The Society for Girls is a group of bright, business savvy, passionate young women, determined to empower the next generation of girls to be smart, resourceful, and confident. Through community involvement and volunteerism in their communities, they help build the confidence in young women and prepare them to make a positive mark on the world. “Empowering young girls and building strong women is what we do.” Connect @Society4girls.
* TheWISEorg: TheWISEorg, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (serving the Mid-Atlantic area) focused on women’s development, providing resources and educational development to women in crisis through social, community and self-development. “Hard times come to us all – you and I are not alone, nor are we stuck there.” To make a tax-deductible donation, get involved or learn more, visit www.thewiseorg.org.
* United Communities Against Poverty, Inc: UCAP, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading advocate for communities of people facing deficiencies in education, affordable housing, economic stability, and adequate health care access. “We work to maximize self-sufficiency for people in Prince George’s County, MD.” To make a tax-deductible donation, get involved or learn more, visit www.ucappgc.org
Good Samaritan-S/Hero Award Finalists
* Ann Dahms of Frederick, Maryland. After reading about a woman who’d lost most of her belongings in the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey on Houston residents, Ann Dahms reached out to help the stranger replace some of her lost valuables. “I’m an example of how kindness, between strangers, can unfold in ways unimaginable.”
* Officer Bennett Johns of the Laurel Police Department, city of Laurel, MD. Officer Johns, while responding to a report of a woman shoplifting, decided to take matters into his own hands. Upon learning the woman was stealing diapers because she could not afford to buy them for her baby, he selflessly paid for them out of his own pocket. “I felt compelled to help so that the young child would not suffer.”
Winners will be announced on April 28th at the Acts of Kindness Awards Gala. Each winner will be presented with a commemorative, engraved award, as well as congressional and/or governor’s citations. Winners and honorees receive a complimentary VIP Gala invitation for their selfless acts of kindness and generosity. Family, friends, community leaders, and noted guests will be treated to a banquet buffet, open bar, a copy of the Acts of Kindness Souvenir Booklet, and Acts of Kindness Swag Bag – all inclusive in the price of a ticket. “Dr. Nick” Johnson, Washington, D.C. radio Personality from 89.3 WPFW-FM, will lead the Gala, as host. This year’s featured, guest performance will be a harmonious montage of classic and contemporary selections by the Tacoma Academy Choir. This 80-member youth choir was named winners of the Montgomery County Martin Luther King Talent Search Award and was recently selected to represent the United States in the upcoming World Choir Games in Tshwane, South Africa.
“I believe we do get more of what we pay attention to, but what’s shocking and scandalous seems to pique interests and go viral. With so many everyday people doing such wonderful things, it would be a shame not to roll out the red carpet and acknowledge them,” says Wanda Adams. “Since 2014, we have presented Acts of Kindness Awards to 37 individuals in the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia areas. And these are upstanding individuals whose good deeds have earned nominations because they’ve resonated with ‘the people,'” she adds. “I am just so grateful for being able to do my part to help see it through.”
Those interested in attending the Acts of Kindness Awards Gala can RSVP through the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/