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WVHub seeking nominees for Champions of Community award

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Now is the time to recognize those people who are working to improve their community and state.

The West Virginia Community Development Hub is now
 accepting nominations for the 2015 Jean Ambrose Award, which will recognize a West Virginian who has had a significant impact on the wellbeing of the state’s communities and citizens.

Jean Ambrose leads a recent meeting of the civic engagement initiative, What's Next WV.​ Photo courtesy of Catherine Moore/What's Next WV
Jean Ambrose leads a recent meeting of the civic engagement initiative, What’s Next WV.​ Photo courtesy of Catherine Moore/What’s Next WV
The award is named for Jean Ambrose, a Wood County resident who has worked for many decades on literacy and housing programs across the state, was the executive director of the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, and was a founding member of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life and the founding chair of The Hub. Her continuing commitment to
 improving West Virginia’s communities and the quality of life in them led The Hub board of directors to create this award to recognize others like her.This is the first year that the public has been invited to submit nominees for the award.
 According to The Hub’s executive director, Kent Spellman, the Jean Ambrose Award aims to celebrate those West Virginians whose work in the community development field has had a statewide impact. The deadline is April 15.“All across West Virginia there are relatively unheralded citizens doing remarkable work to
 improve the health of their communities, to educate and motivate young people, to provide better opportunities for business people and young families, or to protect their local natural and historic resources,” Spellman says. “We have found that these people have an outsized impact when they are able to share their successes and work with a broader network of partners to apply them to other communities, benefiting all West Virginians and making real improvements beyond their own local area.”

This award will be presented annually at the Hubapalooza community development networking meeting. Hubapalooza 2015 will be held on Thursday, April 30, at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center in Summersville, W.Va.

The Hub is inviting nominations of individuals who may be considered for this award. The
 winner will be chosen by a panel consisting of representatives of Hub staff and board members and community development organizations from a range of fields.

Spellman says one common trait shared by almost all effective community development
 practitioners is that they understand that community development is locally-determined and
 locally-driven.

“They are facilitators and motivators rather than people who come in and say ‘you should do this,’ or ‘your community really needs this,’” Spellman says. “When an idea for, say, a main street renovation or community fitness program or whatever it may be, when that idea comes from the people who live there that’s when you have buy in and commitment. That’s the only way the gains we make can become sustainable and everlasting — when they are grown from the roots of the community.”

Learn more, and nominate a champion: www.wvhub.org/jeanambroseaward

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