Women honored for mentoring youth

ALBANY, Ga. — Officials at Turner Job Corps Center recently honored a group of local women who they say have gone to extraordinary lengths to mentor youth throughout the community.

2011 Legacy Ladies

Annette Allen

Muarlean Edwards

Catherine Glover

Charlene Jackson

Pamela Green-Jackson

Denise Marshall

Lisa A. Moore

Rhudine Nelson

Mary Ann Petty

Toni Pickel

Judy Randle

Velvet Riggins

Freddie Powell-Sims

Phyllis Banks-Whitley

Chandra Wilson

The Leadership Legacy Luncheon was held to recognize those women in the community who work with youth in an effort to better the community.

In letter addressed to the honorees, Brian Fox, the president and CEO of Turner Job Corps Center, said that by being a positive force in the lives of young people, the honorees are literally changing lives for the better.

“Today, we are recognizing many women in our community for their leadership, service, professional achievements, and support of the Turner Job Corps Center,” Fox wrote. “Like most of you being recognized today, I had the opportunity to have several mentors throughout my professional life. I know firsthand, that mentors can, and do, change lives.”

Rose Walker-Cook, the center’s director, said that the luncheon gave the center an opportunity not only to recognize area women who were making a difference in the community, but to expose them to some of the female Turner Job Corps students as examples of what they can accomplish.

“As a Job Corps Center our primary responsibility is to prepare young adults for the future careers. The Legacy luncheon was very much a part of that mission,” Cook said. “The luncheon served several functions. We were able to acknowledge women who’ve distinguished themselves in their lives and their careers but who have also taken the time to give back to their community.

“Their willingness to share their time and their stories with our young women was admirable, highly valued and clearly points to legacy there are building by simple living their lives in this way.”

District 3 Dougherty County Commissioner Muarlean Edwards was just one of the women recognized during the event.

As a founder of Project SHIELD, the former social worker and Albany State University professor has most recently undertaken a joint venture with the Dougherty County School System and ASU to host a pilot program aimed at reducing truancy and tardiness in the public school system.

“It’s a honor to be recognized for our work,” Edwards said. “There is still a lot of work to be done. We believe that there is a link between a lot of our social problems like crime and poverty and people not being in school.”

“If we can keep kids in school, the better their chances of succeeding; whether that’s finding a job, going to college or a tech school or whatever. If they aren’t educated, it’s hard to do anything.”

The list of honorees includes a wide swath of area professionals from Edwards’ daughter and Board of Education member Velvet Riggins, who also is the member manager for the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, to Judy Randle, the owner and president of Central Monitoring and the current chair of the Albany-Area Chamber of Commerce.

Albany Police Department Spokesperson Phyllis Banks, who was also tapped by the group because of her work with youth and through her work with programs such as Albany Crime Stoppers and the Citizens Police Academy, said it was high praise just to be in the company of such a diverse and qualified group of women.

“It was a pleasure just to be asked to be part of it,” Banks said. “It really is an honor just to be able to give back. To have an opportunity to sit down with these young ladies from Turner Job Corps and hear their stories...I think it betters the mentor as much as it helps the person being mentored.

“It gives you hope for the future of our community and region.”

Cook said that in choosing the list of honorees Job Corps officials could’ve easily found themselves with more honorees than they had room for.

“The willingness of successful local women to participate in this event, far outweighed our seating capacity,” she said. “It was a tremendous success and great honor to host the Legacy Ladies. We look forward to future opportunities to engage our local professionals as mentors for the many promising young women enrolled in the program.”