Reynita Marcia McMillan, 22, and Kismet Loftin Bell, 31, have received 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Young Dreamers Awards from the Winston-Salem City Council and the Human Relations Commission.
The Commission established the honor in 2009 to encourage young adults to participate in philanthropic, altruistic community involvement, much like Dr. King did before he was propelled onto the international Civil Rights stage.
Each year, two local young leaders between the ages of 18 and 40 are selected for making a tangible difference in the lives of those who otherwise might have been overlooked, ignored or disadvantaged.
McMillan, a student at Forsyth Technical Community College and a member of the school’s Student Government Association, had racked up more than 1,000 hours of community service by the time she graduated from Carver High School, earning the Girl Scouts Gold Award and the Better Business Bureau Character Award in the process.
A budding playwright, McMillian most recently penned the Civil Rights play, “Taking a Seat at Freedom’s Table.” The play, which centers around the sit-in movements of the 1960s in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem, was staged by a multi-racial cast that included students from Forsyth Tech, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University and Carver.
Bell, a teacher at STEAM Academy and chief idea strategist for Beyond the Box Innovative Solutions, has built her professional career on serving the community. She has worked for the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Division of Public Health Sciences and the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity. At the nonprofit Forsyth Futures, she helped to build collaborations to improve the outcomes of local young people and others. She also managed the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, which is responsible for providing alternatives for at-risk youth.
As president of the Winston-Salem Urban League Young Professionals, she led the group in a number of community service projects. Bell ran a food bank, clothing closet and a number of other programs to help those in need as the executive director of the Shalom Project.
McMillan and Bell received their awards during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.