The City Council and the Human Relations Commission will honor the five first-ever recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Young Dreamers Award at the City Council meeting Jan. 26.
The award recognizes those between the ages of 18 and 45 who have made a tangible difference in the lives of others who may have otherwise been overlooked, ignored, or disadvantaged.
Chosen to receive the inaugural awards are Lauren Burch, the chair of the Gang Prevention and Awareness program sponsored by the Black Political Awareness League; the Reverend Kelly Carpenter, a minister at Green Street Methodist Church; Doris Davis, a volunteer at Easton Elementary School; Derwin Montgomery, the president of the Winston-Salem State University chapter of the NAACP; and Dixie Yow, a local champion of the Safe Routes to School program.
The recipients were nominated by members of the City Council.
The Human Relations Commission established the Young Dreamers Award earlier this year to encourage young adults to participate in philanthropic, altruistic community involvement that is in the spirit of how Martin Luther King Jr. lived and encouraged others to live.
Profiles of the Recipients
Lauren Burch proudly serves as chairperson for “Gang Prevention and Awareness for the Youth” sponsored by the Black Political Awareness League. The program received a proclamation from the City of Winston-Salem proclaiming October 18th “Gang Awareness Day.” She also serves as chairperson of community events for the Black Political Awareness League. Ms. Burch continuously strives to bring awareness to the community by encouraging all people, especially youth, to vote. Ms. Burch serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Northeast Ward, hosts the Candidate’s Breakfast in primary election years, and is currently overseeing an upcoming community event which could easily involve 1000 guests on a federal, state, and local level. She is proudly co-sponsoring a bus trip to the inauguration of President Obama. Burch is also a strong advocate for senior citizens and their rights.
The Rev. Kelly Carpenter
The Rev. Kelly Carpenter is a minister at Green Street Methodist Church. He has been a leading force in his congregation’s activities to promote inclusiveness and help those in need. Under his guidance, his church has become active in the Winston-Salem Institute for Dismantling Racism, which builds teams to dismantle internalized racism and systemic racist structures, and C.H.A.N.G.E. (Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment), an inter-racial faith organization that trains people for action in the public arena.
Doris Davis is an unsung hero of Winston-Salem. Davis works at Easton Elementary as a volunteer every day. Even though she does not have any children who attend the school, she is sensitive to the racial make up of the enrollment and has made a deliberate effort to work at this school to help bridge understanding between and among the ethnic groups represented here. Doris has been a volunteer here for at least the past four years without missing a day. Some of the children she helps would not experience a birthday party without Davis' presence at Easton. She provides guidance and good council while also filling in as a surrogate parent. Most notably, she works to help all races see each other through the same lens. Hispanics, African Americans, and all others know that she has a genuine love for them. The teachers and school administration at Easton have come to rely on Davis’ ability to connect with the students. When asked why she chooses to do this, Doris' response is, “I just do it because I love the children and they need me.”
One example of this woman's dedication is the amount of personal resources she dedicates to helping the children learn math. By using change (quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies) Doris helps the teachers reinforce learning numbers and fractions. The children get to keep the money! Doris Davis is truly a quiet giant who never wants to see anything but a young child succeed and learn in spite of many barriers that may be present.
Derwin Montgomery is the president of the Winston-Salem State University chapter of the NAACP and has also served as political action chair. He is an organizer with C.H.A.N.G.E. (Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment) and has implemented plans to increase youth involvement and recruited five new members during his time there. He was a recipient of the 2008 Wake Forest/Winston-Salem State University Martin Luther King, Jr. Building the Dream Award. He is also a mentor for Family Services.
Along with another parent, Dixie Yow was instrumental in working with city staff to prepare and submit a grant application for the Safe Routes to School program. This program is funded by the state and provides money to build sidewalks around schools and surrounding communities. The sidewalks allow children to walk to school to promote physical fitness and a healthier lifestyle.