The Chronicle’s ‘Day in the Park’ recognizes Community Service Award honorees

The Chronicle’s ‘Day in the Park’ recognizes Community Service Award honorees
August 29
21:03 2023

When The Chronicle staff decided to change the format for the Community Service Awards, the goal was to make it a good old fashioned “day in the park” and with help from the local police department, vendors and sponsors and others, the event was a huge success. 

The event, which was held at The Quarry at Grant Park, began with the Winston-Salem Police Foundation and Winston-Salem Police Department’s annual Backpack Giveaway. The line for the backpack giveaway started to form more than an hour before the scheduled start time, with the line of cars stretching from the park all the way to William Roscoe Anderson Community Center (Reynolds Park). 

According to organizers, officers and other volunteers passed out well over 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. 

Following the backpack giveaway, hundreds of families stayed in the park and enjoyed free hotdogs, a bouncy house and slide, vendors, and more, while DJ Fame and the JAM (Just Authentic Musicians) Band provided the soundtrack for the afternoon.

The awards ceremony began with the welcome from James Taylor, publisher of The Chronicle. Since 1986 The Chronicle has recognized people, businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations in our community that go beyond the call of duty to serve others in Winston-Salem and surrounding areas. 

During his welcome, Taylor also thanked the sponsors: the City of Winston-Salem, Russell Funeral Home, Food Lion, Maximum Enterprises, and the Winston-Salem Urban League. 

Woman of the Year and Man of the Year awards were presented to Ja’Net Adams and Antonio Stevenson. 

Adams is an international speaker, author and owner of EMACK consulting LLC. She started the business in 2010 after paying off $50,000 of debt in just two years. Adams now speaks to audiences all around the world as a professional financial literacy speaker. She has also been featured in several publications including Forbes, Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, and JET, just to name a few. After accepting her award last Friday, Adams said she was devoted to helping people reach financial freedom because it’s something she loves to do. 

“I love what I do and I love for people to reach financial freedom,” Adams said. “Before I came up here, someone just let me know they got $15,000 in student loan forgiveness. They wanted to add to my numbers: I’m at $3 million now for student loan forgiveness for people, so I truly love what I do.” 

While a lot of people may know Antonio Stevenson for his hall of fame football careers at Carver High School and Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), Stevenson is probably most known for his fight to uplift young men in our community through his organization My Brother’s Second Chance (MBSC). MBSC is devoted to helping youth by providing knowledge and teaching life skills that will prepare them to become productive and successful adults. Stevenson is also  a published author. His book, “Lessons Learned,” details his life and the struggles he faced growing up. 

Stevenson said he has devoted his time to helping young men in the community because when he was their age, he was lost. “I do what I do because I used to be one of these lost young men in the city,” he said. Stevenson then encouraged the crowd gathered in the park to be a guardian to young people in the community. 

“My message for you today is to be a guardian. Be a guardian in our community when kids come to you for help,” he continued. “Let’s stop saying, ‘I don’t have anywhere for you to go, I don’t have anything to give you.’ If you made it past 25, you have something to give every young child. Be a guardian today and help save a life.”

The Paulette Lewis Moore Lifetime Achievement and the Carl H. Russell Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Renee Vaughn and Tim Grant. 

After working in radio for over 30 years, Renee Vaughn has earned the title ‘Queen of Triad Radio.’ Vaughn started working for 97.1 WQMG in 2000 as a morning show producer of the Tom Joyner Morning Show. She held that position until 2005. Following a short stint at FM Talk WZTK Burlington, Vaughn returned to 97.1 in 2006, and has been there since. Vaughn, who is a native of Washington, D.C., said since the moment she moved here in 1988 the Triad has felt like home and she wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

“This has been home for me,” Vaughn said. “Not that I would mind working anywhere, but it wouldn’t be the same,”

Tim Grant was appointed the director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Winston-Salem on Aug. 4, 2004, and he retired Aug. 1, 2016. Grant is credited for starting the city’s WePlay (We Provide Leisure All Year) slogan and television program, and several other initiatives that are still active today. Grant, who is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), was also a longtime assistant to Clarence “Big House” Gaines, up until his retirement in 1993. The Quarry at Grant Park was named in honor of Grant in 2021. 

After accepting his award from Cedric Russell, son of Carl H. Russell, Grant said he got up and went to work every day with one goal in mind: to make a difference. 

“I didn’t go to work to get awards, I went to work to make a difference, and my 19 years with the City of Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks, then another 15 years at Winston-Salem State, I tried to make a difference. And any award I receive I have to share with the people who worked with me because as a leader, you can’t lead unless people follow.” 

Here’s a list of the other honorees recognized during The Chronicle’s 37th Annual Community Service Awards:

Youth of the Year: Kyndall Williams 

For Seniors Only Award: Chef Don McMillan 

Organization of the Year: Hispanic League

Hope & Faith Award: Love Out Loud

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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