Small Seeds celebrates family service

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In just 11 years, Small Seeds Development Inc. has grown from a mustard seed to a great oak tree, its branches reaching far and wide supporting families. Small Seeds celebrated these achievements with its second annual Signature Event at the LeMont Restaurant.

Taking on the dual role of honorary chairs and mistress and master of ceremonies, Brenda J. Waters, reporter and anchor for KDKA/WPCW-TV, and Chuck Saunders, owner of Savoy Restaurant and president of Urban Settlement Services Inc., facilitated the evening’s events.

Awardees
AWARDEES—From left: William E. Strickland Jr., Leadership and Community Service Award; Evan Frazier, Outstanding Corporate Award; Melita Terry, accepting for Elbert Hartley, her father, The Outstanding Service Award; Doris Carson Williams, Pioneer Award; Mel Blount, Chairman Award; Malik G. Bankston, Pioneer Award. (Photos by Rossano P. Stewart)

Small Seeds honored those who have contributed significantly to the community and provided special support and assistance to the organization with an awards ceremony. Honorees included: Mel Blount, Malik Bankston, Doris Carson Williams, Bill Strickland, Albert Hatley and Highmark received the outstanding corporation award.

“People support Small Seeds because they believe in our ability to empower families and to provide hope for communities,” explains Andrew Cheeseboro, Small Seeds CEO.

Through its three programs, Small Seeds commits to resolving problems that weaken individuals, families, and communities. The Family Group Decision Making Program empowers families to tap in to extended family and community resources to address issues, make healthy decisions, and meet challenges of raising children. The Mother to Son Program helps to meet the unique needs of single mothers raising young males with practical, preventive, and faith-based approaches to help keep young males in school, out of the juvenile justice system, and out of trouble.

Lastly, Inua Ubuntu (Swahili and Bantu for Lift up, I am because we are) uses social service and community-based organizations to improve the quality of life of male children and young adults. The program is a culturally based intervention and child protection service aimed at keeping young African-American males safely in their homes and to reduce the rate of out-of-home placements.

To date Small Seeds’ three programs have provided direct services to more than 1,600 families and 5,800 children. The organization plans to expand its programs, build new partnerships, and continue to collaborate with organizations that can step in and provide additional supports and services.

Three mothers who have participated in each of the programs gave testimony to how their families have benefited from the programs.

“The event was a success because participants told their stories, we honored special community leaders, and welcomed new friends,” Cheeseboro said. “It was an evening to celebrate accomplishments for the year and to declare our efforts to become more effective.”

The organization remains dedicated to the philosophy of self-determination and continues to make an impact for thousands of children and families. “2011 was a year of significant progress and the community continues to recognize the value of Small Seeds work,” Cheeseboro said. “As we look ahead to priorities for 2012 and beyond, we will empower more families and youth, expand service reach, and collaborate with new partners and maximize resources.”

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