Human Rights Awards to be Presented May 17, 2011

The Fairfax County Human Rights Commission will present its 33rd annual Human Rights Awards at a ceremony on Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia.  The guest speaker will be Ms. Paula Young Shelton, Author/Teacher, and daughter of civil rights leader and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young.

Shelton is an Early Childhood Educator with nearly 20 years of experience teaching, and author of the children’s book, Child of the Civil Rights Movement.  She is a graduate of Duke University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  Ms. Shelton began her teaching career in Gulu, Uganda, instructing young teens in English and Religion.  This inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College in New York, which she completed in 1987.  Since that time, Shelton has committed herself to enriching the lives of young children through a multicultural, interactive, child‑centered approach to education which she has applied in her teaching. Throughout her career, Shelton has instituted many innovative ideas.  Her own educational experiences at the United Nations International School, aided her in developing respect and appreciation for all cultures.

This event is one of many conducted by the County and the County’s Human Rights Commission that celebrates the diversity of Fairfax County and our enduring efforts to make this area a home for all people from all walks of life.  A light buffet and beverages will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and the awards ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Auditorium.  Although reservations are not necessary, we would like to plan for your attendance.  Please contact the Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs at 703-324-2953.

The 2010 award winners are:

John Horejsi
John Horejsi is a key founding force behind the Social Action Linking Together Organization (SALT). SALT, which assists those with housing challenges, was initiated 25 years ago with a handful of volunteers, whose ranks have now swelled to over a thousand. The accomplishments of SALT include seeking legislation to aid Fairfax County and Virginia’s less advantaged, to include welfare-dependent families, the elderly and the homeless. One of the many successes that John championed was SALT’s creation and founding of the statewide Homeless Intervention Program (HIP).  HIP provides emergency assistance to keep over 7,000 distressed families in their homes and out of homeless shelters.  Other endeavors include acting as an alert system for participating organizations and individuals to keep them informed of critical, pending legislation that will impact those already hit very hard by the economic downturn. 

Kenneth R. Fredgren
Kenneth R. Fredgren, a member of the Reston Citizens Association, heads the Reston Accessibility Committee (RAC) which partners with local owners and property managers to improve access for persons with mobility impairments. As an advocate at the local, county, and state levels, Ken drives initiatives so that all people can live full lives without impediment. He worked to propose that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors include in the annual legislative program an amendment to the Virginia Uniform Building Code.  Subsequently, he testified for that same amendment before a House of Delegates subcommittee during the 2011 session. Ken has initiated and participated on panels that discuss the needs of those with mobility challenges as exemplified in the Fall, 2010 symposium, "Disability Rights & Accessibility: A Practical Approach for the Reston Community.” By serving as a knowledgeable champion, Ken has and continues to educate people of the challenges facing a growing number of citizens with disabilities. 

Good Spoon
Good Spoon, a community service organization, was founded by Reverend Jae Euk Kim. The organization works to empower the Latino population in Fairfax County through job searches, employment assistance, conflict mediation and resolution, counseling and English and Spanish classes.  With the help of community volunteers and donors, Good Spoon operates a daily food bank that serves over 20,000 meals a year; provides free medical treatment, eyeglasses, vaccinations and clothing; fosters community spirit through soccer tournaments and picnics; and provides financial support through a consignment store and a vehicle donation program.

Langley Residential Support Services
Langley Residential Support Services (Langley) helps those who are intellectually challenged; learn to live successful, healthy lives through one-on-one and group coaching. Langley operates four homes of varying levels of support where individuals can learn skills that are essential for self-sufficiency. Langley also coaches and supports those who are already living independently or with families by continued education on life skills such as shopping, cooking, utilizing community resources and managing their health and money. 

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