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Local organizations, individuals recognized for community impact

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GR Initiative for Leaders presents a Community IMPACT award to individuals and organizations which have made a positive contribution to their communities.
Tall Turf LIT's-Xavier Edwards, Marcus Thomas, and Robbyin Bell

Tall Turf LIT's-Xavier Edwards, Marcus Thomas, and Robbyin Bell /Photo courtesy of GRIL

Samaria Jordan

Samaria Jordan /Photo courtesy of GRIL

Pastor Troy Evans

Pastor Troy Evans /Photo courtesy of GRIL

GR Initiative for Leaders recognized and celebrated several individuals and organizations for their positive service in the Grand Rapids community, as part of the GRIL graduation ceremony. The categories for the IMPACT awards are: Youth, Adult, and Organization award winners.

The recipients of the 2013 IMPACT award are:

Youth award co-winners

Tall Turf Ministries Leaders In Training

In December our city experienced a large number of deaths through gun violence. Teens involved in the Tall Turf Leader In Training program had enough, and they decided to take a stand. Led by Marcus Thomas, Xavier Edwards and Robbyin Bell, the teens attended, and stood up as young leaders, at all of the community wide Stop the Violence meetings and forums. They also recruited other teens to participate in several “silent demonstrations” around the city in an effort to increase awareness about the violence in the community. They focused in the area of Madison and Hall, and Madison and Franklin.

Samaria Jordan

Since the age of five Samaria has been working with the National Kidney foundation, with the Breast Cancer Walk, and with local food drives or “packing heat” with Brown-Hutcherson Ministries. She also volunteers with Arbor Day planting and she created her own initiative - “Global Journey”. Samaria is a 5th grader and a committed humanitarian.

"She may be the one to find a cure [for cancer and diabetes] in the future," says her mother.

Adult award winner

Pastor Troy Evans, pastor at The EDGE Urban Fellowship.

The EDGE’s mission is to "relevantly reach the hip-hop church for Christ." In a short three years God has saved 350 people through the ministry of The EDGE. PE, as he is know many people, travels the country proclaiming peace for our youth and young adults speaking to 60,000 people per year. He consults on urban church planting and has been featured on dozens of national TV and radio shows including the 700 Club and Harvest Show.

Community Organization award winner

Grand Rapids F.I.R.E.-Focus In Reaching Excellence

Grand Rapids F.I.R.E. exists to provide youth with opportunities to succeed in sports and in life. The team targets urban youth ages 8-18. Coaches of the F.I.R.E. team inspire and empower youth to reach their dreams and aspirations through the disciplines of track and field. In addition to sportsmanship, athletes learn character development, leadership, and self-discipline.

F.I.R.E. athletes have competed in the AAU Jr. Olympics in places such as Hampton, VA; New Orleans, LA and Houston, TX to name a few. Since 2007 over 300 youth have participated in the G.R. F.I.R.E. team. The team has produced more than 46 national qualifiers, 10 All-Americans, two national champions and a national record holder. 

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