White House Highlights “Champions of Change” Who Are Giving Back

Dec 14, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, Thursday, December 15th, ten local leaders who are helping to give back to their community will be honored at the White House as Champions of Change. These men and women, who include non-profit leaders, community activists and mentors, have each taken great strides to improve the lives of others through charitable work, faith and advocacy.

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.

“These individuals are innovators and reformers that are making a difference in communities across the nation,” said Robert Velasco, II, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We thank them for their commitment and commend them for setting an example for others to follow.”

To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 9:30 am ET December 15th.

The White House's “Champions of Change” are:


Lieutenant Colonel David O. Treadwell, US Army (Retired)
Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Lieutenant Colonel David O. Treadwell, US Army (Retired) serves as executive director of Washington's historic Central Union Mission. Under Dave's leadership since 1998, the Mission's 127-year history of service to homeless men and needy children and families has continued at full capacity, and focused service to Hispanics and other immigrants has grown greatly. Additionally, the Mission distributed over 400,000 bags of groceries and served 150,000 meals to people in need last year.

Terry Araman
Madison Street Veterans Association, Phoenix, Arizona

Terry Araman is the Program Director of the Madison Street Veterans Association, one of the nation's first homeless veteran service organizations based on the principle of peer support. Terry has worked at the Human Services Campus for the homelessin Phoenixsince November 2006 in various positions, as a volunteer and employee of theLodestar Day Resource Center.

For the past three years, Terry has drawn on his 25 years of experience in business, along with his knowledge as an educator, to provide leadershippromoting the growth and development of Madison Street Veterans Association (MSVA). In 2009, MSVA opened the Veterans Outreach Center for homeless veterans; in 2010, MSVA opened a transitional living facility currently offeringhousing for 51 homeless veterans, MANA House (MANA = Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force).

Terry's passion for working with homeless veterans stems from his three years as an Army medic, during which he served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division in 1968 and 1969. Terry has also been an adjunct faculty member in the Business Department at Mesa Community College since 2003, and completed a successful 20 year career at Motorola/Freescale Semiconductor in 2006.

Lynn Brantley
Capital Area Food Bank, Washington, DC

Lynn J. Brantley is the President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank and co-founded the food bank in 1980 as a faith-based nonprofit and was appointed executive director in 1988. Under her leadership, the CAFB has become the largest nonprofit food provider in the Washington metro area. This year, the CAFB is distributing 30 million pounds of food, half of which is fresh produce, through more than 700 partner agencies to 478,000 residents in the region. Brantley has dedicated much of her life to the problem of hunger in her community, because she believes that having nutritious food is a basic human right.

Linda Sarsour
National Network for Arab American Communities, Brooklyn, New York

Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. Currently she is the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a network of 22 Arab American organizations in 11 states including the District of Columbia, nationwide where she conducts trainings nationally on the importance of civic engagement in the Arab and Muslim American community.

Locally she serves as the Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service agency serving the Arab community in NYC. Linda's strengths are in the areas of community development, youth empowerment, community organizing, civic engagement and immigrants' rights advocacy.


Sarah DeGrandpre
Youth Service Opportunities Project, Washington, DC

Sarah DeGrandpre is the Washington, D.C. Program Director at Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), a non-profit dedicated toproviding youth and young adults from around the country with comprehensive service-learning experiences in D.C. and New York City. She began at YSOP in July 2008 as an AmeriCorps State and National member. Throughout her two years of service, Sarah played a lead role in developing the AmeriCorps Leadership Council of Washington, D.C. Sarah was chair of the council from 2009-2010, helping to provide networking and service opportunities to current and former AmeriCorps members in the greater D.C. area.

Sarah was hired as YSOP's D.C. Associate Program Director after completing her second term of service and most recently, was promoted to her current position. She holds a bachelor's degree from St. Michael's College in Vermont, where she was inspired to pursue a profession in the service sector. While a student there, Sarahorganized a campus-wide donation program to produce $10,000 each year to help support a local service organization.


Rev. Dr. Judy Talbert
Faith Tabernacle of Prayer, Washington, DC

Rev. Dr. Judith Talbert is the Pastor of Faith Tabernacle of Prayer and Executive Director of Reintegrating Alternatives Personal Program (RAPP), a nonprofit reentry organization, in Washington, DC. In an outreach effort to respond to families affected by incarceration of a loved one, Dr. Talbert enlarged her prison outreach ministry by establishing RAPP. Her outreach and commitment to effecting change is nationwide. RAPP provides mentoring services to residents in local and federal correctional institutions. Her work helps to ensure public safety and prevents recidivism.

Dr. Talbert has dedicated 36 years helping at-risk and challenged populations, i.e., homeless, ex-offenders, members of gangs, and persons with HIV-AIDS. The Feed and Lead Program provides weekly food and clothing to needy families and shelters throughout the Washington Metropolitan area. Dr. Talbert considers the harsh reality and effects of crime, hunger, and poverty as a call to action and our duty. She provides a safe haven for gang intervention where clients are taught conflict resolution and job readiness and seizes this opportunity to feed and clothe homeless and poverty-stricken families. These same resources are also transported and distributed to those who have no means by which to travel.

For seven years, Dr. Talbert has directed a Fatherhood Initiative program which has counseled custodial and non-custodial parents throughout the District of Columbia. As President of the Joe Arthur Talbert, Jr. Foundation, hundreds of students are helped through Foundation scholarships. Dr. Talbert genuinely believes we are our brother's keeper. She views poverty, injustice, and discrimination as an opportunity to educate and thereby successfully effect change.


Rebecca Linton
Christmas Cash for Kids, Martinsburg, West Virginia

M. Rebecca Linton has lived her entire life in Martinsburg, WV. She responded to a desperate appeal in 2006 when the Dept. of Human Services did not have the resources to provide Christmas presents for 164 children whose families had fallen victim to layoffs and reduced income. Due to the overwhelming success following the Christmas Cash for Kids fundraiser, the following year Rebecca Linton was asked by the United Way to chair the event annually and continues to earn the necessary support to serve an ever increasing need.

Christmas Cash for Kids continues to grow each year. From serving 164 children at is start in 2006 to 768 in 2010. The program serves children from birth to sixteen. Each child receives an outfit and a toy. All money raised is divided between the number of children to determine the amount that is spent each year. The main objective of the Christmas Cash for Kids program is to provide Christmas gifts to children who otherwise may not receive anything for Christmas.

Tim Solano
Habitat for Humanity International, McKinney, Texas

As a National Service Specialist for Habitat for Humanity International, Timothy Solano oversees AmeriCorps National and VISTA members as they coordinate home construction, develop financial and physical resources, engage veterans, volunteers and community partners, and support homeowners at local affiliates across the nation. Solano, a Habitat for Humanity homeowner and former AmeriCorps member himself, publicly shares his personal and compelling story of overcoming homelessness, substance abuse and single parenthood to effectively motivate and engage others in service. Each of Solano's three adult children volunteer at local Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other NPOs through military and/or civic organizations.

Curtis Cannon (Represented by Billy Fettweis, Director of Volunteer Services, HandsOn Greater DC Cares)
HandsOn Greater DC Cares, Washington, DC

Curtis Cannon is the Vice President of Partner Services at HandsOn Greater DC Cares. In this role, he oversees the services provided to HGDCC's partners, which are aimed at building powerful nonprofits, strengthening businesses, and increasing volunteer activism and leadership. Before HGDCC, Curtis served as Enterprise Manager at Juma Ventures in San Francisco, a social enterprise nonprofit dedicated to youth development.

Curtis received his B.S. in Marketing and Logistics from University of Maryland and recently received a National Certification in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. He has also recently completed The Nonprofit Roundtable's Future Executive Directors Fellowship Program, an intensive twelve-month program designed to prepare participants for executive directorships.

Deena Gerber
Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans, Metairie, Louisiana

Deena Y. Gerber is the Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans. Jewish Family Service is a social service agency that reaches out to people of all ages and faiths in the New Orleans area, providing mental health counseling, case management, educational programs and in-home services for older adults. Deena has served as director since 1994.

Less than two weeks after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures that devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area, Jewish Family Service established emergency offices in Baton Rouge and Mandeville, Louisiana and was one of the first social service agencies to re-open its New Orleans area offices. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and resultant flooding, Jewish Family Service reorganized and reprioritized in order to provide financial assistance, trauma counseling and crisis management to thousands of people affected by this tragedy.

In 2009, Jewish Family Service conducted a comprehensive study, funded by the Administration on Aging, on the psychological effects of Hurricane Katrina on older adults. Jewish Family Service continues to provide needed social services in the greater New Orleans area.


Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 491-8250

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