Eleven people, two groups receive Wheaton’s Good Citizens Awards

The Wheaton Community Relations Commission typically invites the recipients of its annual Good Citizens Awards program to City Hall to be honored by the City Council. This year’s awards, however, were presented via Zoom during a recent City Council meeting, and the accomplishments of 11 individuals and two groups were recognized.

In the adult category, the recipients are:

• Bill Anderson, who dedicated more than 400 hours of his time over the last year to the People’s Resource Center.

• Anjali Bharadwa, leader/founder of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for D200, who spearheaded the successful creation of the “Talking about Race” series, a five-part series of discussions to engage the community.

• Jacob Kniep, the founder of OUTspoken Leaders, a local nonprofit dedicated to serving, empowering and lifting up voices of LGBTQ+ members of society, who helped create safe groups for LGBTQ+ people to support each other online and in person.

• Chuck Smith, chairman of Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT Council), who organized an effort to shop for seniors at risk during COVID-19.

• Vickie Tabbert, DuPage PADS Board of Trustees chair, who helped make it possible for 379 individuals to receive safe shelter so far during the pandemic.

In the student category, the recipients are:

• Kyla Farrell, a founding member of the Baking to Give Back Cookies program, which bakes and sells cookies to support the Naomi’s House shelter.

• Michael Foster, co-president of the Wheaton Warrenville South High School Key Club, who tutored a 5th grade student who struggled with ADHD, building a lasting relationship and helping the student to succeed.

• Henry Lytle, who demonstrated concern and awareness for teen drivers with special needs and coordinated with Wheaton North High School and the Wheaton Police Department to host a Teen Driver Safety Event.

• Jackson Moran, who each year volunteers with Re-member, an organization with the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and raised $5,000 for the organization by biking 100 miles and soliciting donations while the reservation was closed to outsiders in 2020.

• Maryam Tourk, who participates in Medium and Communications Practicum at Wheaton North High School and co-founded a virtual summer camp through Civics Unplugged Fellowship to help more than 150 students address feelings of isolation during the pandemic.

• Natalie Worniak, who held a quarter drive to help Bridge Communities, an organization that assists homeless families build a better future, and set up a GoFundMe site for the organization, raising more than $1,000.

In the group category, the recipients are:

• Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, which provided weekly, monthly and pop-up food distributions during 2020 to help the Latino community in DuPage County, and has arranged 100 vaccinations in the past month for community members.

• Milton Township CERT Team, which provided numerous volunteers in several instances over the past year, including searching for a young missing person who had fallen into Branch River in Winfield, assisting with searching for a missing person in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve and assisting in redirecting traffic away from a serious automobile accident on Butterfield Road.