An Evanston outreach worker won the first Community Achievement Award from the University of Illinois at Chicago at an early April forum.
Stacey Moragne Sr., who works under Evanston’s Youth and Young Adult Division, received the award at an April 2 event called “Relationship Matters: Black Dads, the Streets and the Justice System.” The UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work sponsored the forum, which focused on offering strategies to help black fathers focus on their roles as parents.
“(Moragne’s) work with our certificate of rehabilitation project has been immense,” said Kathy Lyons, director of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, where Moragne worked. “He’s really brought so many people to our services.”
Joseph Strickland, a researcher at the UIC Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research, presented Moragne with the award.
The award recognizes community contributions that are often overlooked, Strickland said. Next time the Community Achievement Award is given, Strickland said there will be a focus on creating specific criteria for the award and for nominees, which will include women.
Moragne works alongside the Moran Center for a legal program that helps people with criminal records attain employment, Lyons said. Moragne has been connecting Evanston residents with pro bono lawyers at the center.
Lyons said the program is a joint project between the city and the center that helps individuals receive a certificate of rehabilitation to enable them to find work. Lyons said the program has been in the works since the fall and has helped about 130 people.
Often after men are released from prison, they do work at home that is criticized or does not receive the recognition it deserves, Strickland said.
“It’s a really, really important thing to put people back to work who want to be working,” Lyons said.
The Moran Center has a number of other programs, Lyons said, including programs for residents under 21 and violence prevention. Lyons noted alongside these programs, Moragne’s work is a “tremendous” asset for the community, especially for people who want to get back to work.
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