South Bend Community Hall of Fame
Distinguished Community Service Award Recipients
An award given to individuals or groups of people who have demonstrated, by their actions, that they wish to assist their fellow citizens in a time of need
Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County
The Boys & Girls Clubs have been in the South Bend community since 1974. The organization was founded in response to rising gang activity involving youths. It works with at-risk children and teens to provide them with a safe place to develop their academic skills, along with health and fitness and character development. Its mission is “To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible adults.” The club works out of five sites in the county. Its flagship site is the O.C. Carmichael Youth Center on the south side of South Bend, but it also has programs at Harrison and Wilson Primary Centers in South Bend and at Battell and LaSalle Elementary Schools in Mishawaka. Clubs are open five days a week after school and when parents are working, and in the summer during the hours when parents typically are at work.
Mamas Against Violence
Mamas Against Violence was started in 2003 by Bobbie Woods, whose 28-year-old son was shot and killed in a downtown restaurant. Five grieving women came together to pray, support and encourage each other, and they became known as Mamas Against Violence. Their mission was to offer prayer, emotional support and encouragement to those who have lost a loved one to violence. The organization works with schools, businesses and other organizations to increase awareness of violence and to prevent its recurrence. It hosts an annual remembrance service and walk in memory of those who died similar deaths, and an annual conference for children in fifth through 12th grades to help them learn how to avoid violence. The group also gives out a scholarship and learning materials.
The 21st Century Scholars Program partners with the South Bend Community School Corp. to help students, beginning in the sixth grade, learn about and prepare for the opportunity to receive up to four years of undergraduate college tuition. Students who meet income eligibility can enroll formally in the program in the seventh or eighth grade. They sign a pledge to meet specific guidelines, such as to remain drug-free and have a GPA of at least 2.5, in order to receive a state scholarship. Started in 1990 by then-Gov. Evan Bayh, the program provides opportunities that students would never experience, from job fairs to college visits. Under the leadershhip of Nikki Hutchinson, regional director, students have a chance to succeed. Ms. Hutchinson has been with the program since 1997.
The Children’s Dispensary has been serving children in the South Bend community for more than 100 years. Founded in 1909 by Dr. Charles Hansel, the Dispensary originally provided free health care to the children of working-class families, primarily on the city’s west side. In the 1930s it worked with the South Bend school system to conduct a “crippled children’s school,” known as the Sunshine Room. The Dispensary created Camp Milhouse in 1940 after Mr. and Mrs. Charles Millhouse donated land for the endeavor. Doctors performed pediatric services at the clinic until 1966, when the Dispensary changed its focus to serve children with special needs. As its motto says, it offers such children “A Place to Be Me.” It does that with summer camps, field trips locally and out of town, a social and recreation program, bowling, a teen club, fashion shows and programs focused on the arts.
Joan Lennon is one of only 38 individuals who have been named an honorary alumna of the University of Notre Dame for her unique contributions to the community. A cancer survivor she has become a leader in the fight against breast cancer founding the Women’s Task Force of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend. The Task Force, of which she is the director, is a volunteer group that provides support for cancer patients in St. Joseph County. Her service to others was reason for Louis Nanni, a vice-president at Notre Dame to say “She has embraced the opportunity, not only to provide education to others, but also to serve as a mentor to those who are facing the same challenge she faced.” Joan is a graduate of St. Francis College in Joliet, Illinois and Indiana University, she and her husband Charles Lennon, Jr. have been married 49 years and they have filve children and 16 grandchildren.
Mary Jane Stanley began her volunteer service at the age of fourteen when she wa a teacher’s aide at Logan Center. She has since compiled an extensive list of charitable, service and care giving organizations she serves. She is the past president of the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, the Life Treatment Center and Woman’s Care Center to name some. The past five years she has been an 11th hour volunteer for the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care. She is active in the Arts, Historical Museum , Real Services and numerous fund raising efforts for care giving and educational institutions.
She was educated locally and graduated from the University of Dayton in Ohio. She and her husband, William have been married for 40 years and they lhave three sons, Michael, Brlian and Kevin.
2008 Recipient Joseph Szalay
Joseph Szalay spent much of his life pursuing two lifelong vocations; tailoring clothes and inspiring young people. He was born in Hungary and in 1949 was put in work camps, farms and jails by the Russian Communists. He was a Hungarian Freedom Fighter and was a part of the revolution there in 1956. He and his wife, Emma, fled to America where he later became a proud naturalized citizen. A 15th generation tailor he built a thriving business and academy where he mentored young people encouraging them to overcome adversity and strive to achieve their potential. Mr. Szalay made commitments to his profession, his community, his church and his government by being active in organizations that fostered the well being of people. He has been named Indiana Catholic Layman of the Year, appointed a representative to the Governor’s White House Conference on Children and Youth in Indiana. He was presented the esteemed DAR Americanism Medal for a naturalized American citizen for assisting foreign-born persons in becoming American citizens.
2006 Recipients Tish & Mike Brey
Tish & Mike Brey have been very active in giving of their time and celebrity to focus on finding a cure for Cancer. Mike is the successful head coach of the Men’s Basketball team at the University of Notre Dame. Their involvement in the ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ program has set record setting fund raising numbers for several years and has placed Notre Dame in the top 5 in the nation.
The Hall of Fame Committee accepts recommendations from the public for this award. Contact the South Bend Alumni Association for details. A recommendation for this award should be made before July 1 for consideration in that calendar year.