December 5, 2005
By MELISSA PIONZIO, Courant Staff Writer
After living in Hartford's sometimes troubled Frog Hollow neighborhood for the past 20 years, Edie Lacey has had her fair share of positive and negative experiences.
But through it all, she says, she has remained hopeful that residents, civic leaders and legislators can continue to work together to keep the city's neighborhoods strong, safe places to live.
"All of us who have been in civic involvement have had some pretty hard times in Hartford," said Lacey, who recently retired as chairwoman of the Frog Hollow South Neighborhood Revitalization Zone. "We have stuck through them, made alliances with the city and institutions. We all joined together to remediate the problems that we have encountered."
In honor of her contributions and devotion to Hartford, Lacey and four other community volunteers were recently given Neighborhood Service Awards by the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance. The mission of SINA, a coalition of Trinity College, Hartford Hospital and the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, is to work with the community to develop leadership and improve the economic and social characteristics of the Frog Hollow, Barry Square and South Green neighborhoods.
"It was just an incredible honor," said Lacey, who received a special Lifetime Achievement Award from SINA. "I feel really humbled by it and not deserving of it at all."
In addition to Lacey, other reward recipients were Carlos Gonzalez, supervisor of an after-school horticulture vocational training program at the Institute of Living, part of Hartford Hospital's Mental Health Network; Reynaldo Morales, a volunteer "street captain" trained by the Citizens Police Academy, who works with residents of Madison Street in Frog Hollow; Shannon Raider, a program coordinator for Grow Hartford, a youth leadership and community education program run by Hartford Food System; and Maxine Sullivan, a retired school counselor from Bulkeley High School, who worked in the Hartford schools system for more than 30 years.
"What we try to do when we look at the nominations, which come from health services, education, community services communities, is to look at the people on the street who really don't get recognition," said Debra Borrero, a SINA board member and chairwoman of its education and community volunteer committee. "That was really the purpose of putting together the Neighborhood Service Awards. We were trying to recognize the unsung heroes in the neighborhood."
As associate director for community and institutional relations at Trinity College, Borrero said she has met a great number of people who are making a difference in the city through their volunteer work.
"That's why these community service awards are so important," she said.