Community Solutions, Inc. would like to recognize the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative's fourth annual Reentry Awards Ceremony, which was held on Friday, March 27, 2015. CSI's Bridgeport AIC (BAIC) was well-represented at the ceremony, with three staff members and three clients receiving awards for their outstanding work and accomplishments. BAIC Program Director Verla Michel and Assistant Program Director Tim Rizzio were in attendance, alongside a number of Connecticut politicians and businesspeople.
The event was emceed by Scott Wilderman, the President and CEO of Career Resources, Inc. Opening reflections were made by Imam Nasif Muhammad from the Al-Aziz Islamic Community of Bridgeport. Following Mr. Muhammad, United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill and Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy gave speeches. During his remarks, Governor Malloy spoke about his recently-proposed Second Chance Society initiatives. Also in attendance were State Senators Ed Gomes and Tony Hwang, both of whom presented awards.
Awards were given in the categories of "Outstanding Student", "Personal Achievement", "Professional of the Year", "Business Partner of the Year", "Community Partner of the Year", and "Advocate of the Year". BAIC Case Managers Jocelyn Kingwood and Wilfred Robinson, as well as Intervention Specialist Lori Hayducky, won three of the "Professional of the Year" awards. BAIC's clients Luis B. ("Outstanding Student"), Cesar C. ("Outstanding Student"), and Barry W. ("Personal Achievement") also took home honors.
Following the award presentations, Mr. and Mrs. Scott Semple bestowed the first Matthew Semple Memorial Scholarship to Angel Reyes, from The Council of Churches CO-OP Center. The Scholarship recognizes the person chosen by the Scholarship Review Committee who best demonstrated dedication towards their education and the determination to create a better life for themselves and others. Mr. Reyes, who was also a recipient of an "Outstanding Student" award, received $3,000 towards furthering his education.
The final accolade of the evening was the 2015 Urdang-Torres Community Impact Award, which honors the memories of Stephanie Urdang and Jose Torres, two special people who dedicated their lives to helping reentry in Bridgeport. The award recognizes a person, agency, or advocate who has worked tirelessly to promote the betterment of individuals reentering society. The award was won by the Malta Justice Initiative's book, The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream.
CSI would like to thank the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative for their work throughout the year and for hosting the Reentry Awards Ceremony. In addition, CSI sends its thanks to every person and organization involved in the event, as well as their coworkers, clients, and peers, for all that they do to positively affect reentry in their communities.