GAINESVILLE - The Drug Free Coalition of Hall County held its annual meeting and awards ceremony Thursday night, with awards presented for the Coalition Partner Organization of the Year and the first Mary Parks Youth Champion. The event was held at The Oaks at Lanier Charter Career Academy.
JP Banks, Coalition Director said: "Mary Parks was a champion for youth who dedicated her life to creating positive opportunities for young people throughout Hall County." The award criterion included: 1) a professional or volunteer that has made significant impact on the lives of youth; 2) has affected a community-wide change on the behalf of youth - resulting in an environmental impact; and 3) brought people and ideas together for the benefit of youth maximizing community resources.
There were seven nominations for the youth champion award. The nominees were: Corporal Joe Britte, Gainesville Police Department; Judge Mary Carden, juvenile court judge, Dr. Merrianne Dyer, superintendent Gainesville City Schools; Corporal Kevin Holbrook, Gainesville Police Department; Shannon Hughs, Rape Response; Reuben & Mary Mauricio, L.A.M.P.; and Jakim T. Johnson, THINK.
It was presented to Judge Carden and Dr. Dyer.
"Mary Parks was a visionary and exemplary leader who believed in the mission of the Drug Free Coalition to empower the youth and adults of Hall County to choose a drug-free lifestyle by uniting citizens and organizations to reduce substance abuse through community-based education, awareness, and advocacy. Through their steadfast commitment to the cause of youth and to our community, Mary Parks and our partner organizations set the stage for the current and future successes of the coalition," said Angel Randolph, Coalition Chair-elect.
Hall County Schools was awarded the 2013 Partner Organization of the Year. Previous partner organizations of the year are Fairway Outdoor Advertising (2011) and the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation (2012). The award is presented to an organization that has exemplified partnership and true collaboration with the Coalition and its goal to reduce substance abuse among youth in Hall County.