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National Hook Up of Black Women, Inc. Joliet Chapter receives community serivce award

Chapter was honored with 4th Quarter of 2021 Reverend James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community

Project Acclaim has selected the National Hook Up of Black Women, Inc. Joliet Chapter (NHBW) to receive the 4th Quarter of 2021 Reverend James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community.  Pictured are  President Debra Upshaw (middle) and (from left): Kristine Schlismann, Jayne Bernhard and Larry Crawford.

The National Hook Up of Black Women, Inc. Joliet Chapter (NHBW) to receive the 4th Quarter of 2021 Reverend James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community.

Project Acclaim created the Rev. James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community in 2014 in honor of Allen, who had received numerous awards for his own service. Allen (deceased) started Project Pride in 1985 (later renamed Project Acclaim).

According to a news release from Project Acclaim, NHBW served the community by:

· Hosting numerous vaccine clinics and encouraging vaccination

· Giving out free books at community events

· Establishing and opening the NHBW Labor of Love Food Pantry

· Providing District 86 and 70C students with virtual after-school tutoring

· Providing virtual multicultural classes for adults and youth to learn Spanish

· Establishing a community garden with 28 raised beds for fruits and vegetables

· Building a mile walking trail and half basketball court for the community youth

· Partnering with Huggies to provide diapers and baby food to new mother

· Obtaining a federal grant to provide seniors 55 and older with the necessary skills to enter the workforce

· Partnering with After the Peanut for a STEAM afterschool program.

In addition, NHBW formed a collaborative with seven other community-based organizations to apply for grant funding through the State’s R3 (Renew, Reinvest, and Restore) program. The goal was to address “identified gaps in legal, social, and mental health services in the community,” the release said.

The groups then received funding to hire two “culturally competent and bilingual attorneys to represent in the community through a community lawyering lens in varied areas of law, including family, housing, education, criminal, and immigration; seven caseworkers who will adopt the same model that IDHS Welcoming Centers have for immigrants but redesigned to also center the needs of Black communities, including resource and referral, workshops, and community coordination meetings within community centers in different neighborhoods; and two trauma-informed, culturally competent, and bilingual therapists who can provide individual and group therapies grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR),” the release said.

NHBW will oversee the two licensed clinical therapist/counselors and one of the case managers, the release said.

For more information, visit nhbwjoliet.com and projectacclaim.org.