Presenting: Our 2016 Community Champions
Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, Inc. (MVCAA) is celebrating 50 years of helping people, changing lives and ending poverty in Oneida & Herkimer Counties. MVCAA is delighted to announce the Community Champions for this significant anniversary year.
The awards were presented at MVCAA’s 50th Anniversary Gala held May 13th at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro. Mr. Bill Phillips was the Honorary Chair of the evening of celebration.
Rev. Maritza Perez
Treva Wood Community Activist
Alice J. Savino
Rev. Maritza Perez is the pastor of the Maranatha Church in Rome. Rev. Perez is a leader in the community who is always striving to improve the quality of life of the Latino community. She has been a source of inspiration for many families. Her Church provides a safe, welcoming community for people in Rome. She has been the champion of Latino representation throughout the City, and she has been instrumental in getting the needs of the community heard. An active member of MVCAA’s Rome Advisory, Rev. Perez has partnered with the Agency to bring “Getting Ahead” trainings to Church families and has always shared the Church’s resources with the Agency to further MVCAA’s anti-poverty work in the community. A tireless advocate, Rev. Perez is passionate about helping people improve their situations and become active, successful members of the community. Her work as an advocate and role as a leader is an excellent example of Treva Wood’s legacy.
Alice Savino is Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties, a not-for-profit organization with a 40-member board representing business, education and the community. The WIB sets regional workforce development strategy for the 20-partner Working Solutions consortium, which operates four Working Solutions Centers. The WIB has an outstanding record of success in developing a demand-driven workforce system. Under Ms. Savino’s leadership, the WIB has been a pioneer in implementing the National Information Technology Apprenticeship System (NITAS), and it has been cited four times by the New York State Dept. of Labor for Promising Practices. The WIB was also cited by the Workforce Excellence Network for a promising practice. Ms. Savino’s vision of the community is the driving force behind many initiatives for job training throughout the area. She is an active member of numerous organizations, committees and coalitions. Ms. Savino is a key driver of bridging the gap between business and the community’s workforce.
Timothy Seymour, Commissioner of Social Services, Herkimer County, is the 2016 Community Visionary winner. Commissioner Seymour was selected for his dedication to helping low-income families throughout Herkimer County. He has worked to create a strong partnership with MVCAA, as well as other service organizations, to insure that the help families need is easily available. His leadership was instrumental in assisting numerous Herkimer County Residents during the floods of 2006 and 2013 who suffered the loss of their homes and property. He acted quickly and worked with MVCAA and families to insure that people got the immediate and long-term help that they needed. Commissioner Seymour has been one of the first to address homelessness in Herkimer County. We applaud his tenacity and compassion towards those who do not have this most basic necessity. His continued efforts will have an impact on those who are homeless throughout the County.
MVCAA is pleased to present two Community Achiever Awards this year. Tyler Maggiolino and Joshua Williams both received a Community Achiever Award for their outstanding attitude, conviction and strength. Both young men entered an on-the-job training program that is a joint program through MVCAA and Workforce Investment Board. They both excelled in the 12-week program. Upon completion, they applied, interviewed and were hired by MVCAA. Mr. Maggiolino is now a Crew Laborer and Mr. Williams is a Head Start Classroom Aide. Both gentlemen came a long way to improve their situations. They are now active, contributing members of the community who are giving back to other families.
Bill Phillips is the City Councilman for the City of Utica’s 5th District. He is the Chair of the Public Safety, Law and Judiciary Committee and sits on the Codes Committee and Recreation, Youth, Parks, Seniors, Veterans, and Education Committee. Mr. Phillips was selected as the 2016 Honorary Chair of the Gala because of his work to improve not only his district but the lives of the entire community. He is a vocal advocate for youth, seniors, and veterans.
Also recognized at the Gala was Michael Nobis. Mr. Nobis is the recipient of the Fathers & Families Coalition of America 2016 Honorable Stanley Seiderman National Father of the Year Award. This is a national award given to men who work to increase the involvement of fathers and other significant men in the lives of children. Mr. Nobis is an active member of MVCAA’s Policy Council, who often counsels other fathers involved in Head Start. Mr. Nobis was instrumental in bringing AYSO to the Camden area so young children would have the opportunity to participate in sports. He continues to be an active volunteer not only with MVCAA but in the community in general.