Ohio Citizen Action

Ohio Citizen Action to present 2010 Emerging Leader Award to Akanni Thomas

CLEVELAND — This fall, Ohio Citizen Action will present community organizer Akanni Thomas with the 2010 Emerging Leader Award at our 35th anniversary event in Cleveland. This award recognizes a Northeast Ohio leader under the age of 35 for success in community building. Thomas lives in the Fairfax neighborhood of Cleveland and currently serves as an Americorps VISTA worker with Burten, Bell, Carr Development. Burten, Bell, Carr Development is a neighborhood development organization in Cleveland that serves the Central, Kinsman, and Garden Valley neighborhoods.

As an Americorps worker with Burten, Bell, Carr, Thomas started the organization’s first ever volunteer matching program. Through this program Thomas has helped the organization mobilize volunteers for immediate needs and has also improved the organization’s relationships with neighborhood churches and schools. Thomas is the community organizer for the Colfax block club and the E. 73rd block club, and has also worked to build the first alliance of all block clubs in the Central neighborhood. Thomas has been instrumental in bringing Ward 5 community members together to raise money for, design, and build their own new neighborhood playground. Thomas worked with Ward 5 neighbors to build committees for each task involved in making the new playground a reality, and organized a design day with neighborhood kids to have their input in the design of the playground.

— Liz Ilg, Cleveland Campaign Director, Ohio Citizen Action