Larry Honors Our Hometown Heroes
PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Once again we’re honoring those in this region who make a difference, but don’t ask for anything in return.
Learn about the 2014 Hometown Heroes here.
Hazel Jackson is a former Home Economics Teacher at Peabody and Westinghouse High Schools. She is dedicated to helping the youth and the elderly through service. Hazel’s current focus is improving the lives of youth in the community through a culinary program and food service ministry founded and established by her at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Under Hazel’s direction, she has 20 trainees, ages 12 and up. The trainees learn and manage all aspects of the dining experience which include setting up, serving customers, and cleaning with an attitude of love and respect. Dinners are served to members within the surrounding Pittsburgh area the fourth Sunday of every month. Her motto is Proverbs 22:6 – “Training Up Children in the Way They Should Go.” Hazel’s vision is to offer our youth an opportunity to experience the benefits of Home Economics which is very much needed today.
In addition Mrs. Jackson serves as the president of the Willie E. Ellard Education Ministry which recognizes youth in the congregation who have achieved Citizenship and Academic Honor Roll. She shares her love to every child by encouraging them to continue their education and letting them know they are the key to an empowering future.
Ms. Jackson also served as the Program Coordinator for the Lemington Community Services Senior Center. She now coordinates their birthday celebration brunch which honors about 80 seniors monthly.
Anne and Joel Davis:
Anne Davis and her husband Joel are proud parents of an 11 year old daughter Jamie Lynn. During her pregnancy, Anne and Joel learned that their daughter would be a very special baby, and would be born with Down syndrome. Through research Anne came across therapeutic horse-back riding as a form of therapy often used by parents of children with special needs. Being a previous horse owner in her own childhood, Anne knew this was to be in her future. She would soon walk away from her airline career and with support from her siblings, the Davis family moved to Bethel Park in 2005.
After taking several courses and receiving instructor certifications, Anne began her own therapeutic riding center in Houston, PA in 2007. In 2012, she founded her second program in Bethel Park called Horses with Hope, a nonprofit organization that was created solely to provide safe therapeutic activities for children of all ages.
Anne says, “there is a real need for new and creative therapy techniques in working with challenging populations and individuals seeking a non-traditional physical therapy. The implementations of positive and effective therapeutic interventions are critical at the adolescent stage of a child’s emotional/social development. Animal assisted therapy has been shown to significantly benefit cognitive, psychological, and social domains. In addition, research has also suggested that animal assisted therapy influences physiological factors such as lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and decreased anxiety levels.”
Overall, her program is designed to create a center that can be used by the community, for programs, research studies within medical fields and offer services to our veterans. Each of us is capable of making a difference, big or small. Together we can do so much more!
Megs Yun is the founder of Beverly’s Birthdays, a nonprofit organization that provides birthday celebrations for homeless children living in shelters in the Pittsburgh region. In 2013, Beverly’s Birthdays partnered with 12 local shelters to provide birthday celebrations to over 355 homeless children.
Yunn is also a trained professional in youth program and volunteer development. She has years of experience working in both K-12 and higher education. She specializes in designing and implementing afterschool and in-school leadership development curriculum.
She has a M.B.A from Point Park University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marietta College. Yunn resides in North Huntingdon, PA with her husband and son.
Terrie Ann Suica:
The youngest of four children, Terrie Ann Suica was born to Nick and Elvira Suica in Eldersville, PA and is a graduate of Burgettstown High School and Franciscan University with various degrees.
Following a successful career as an international corporate controller — and also surviving a life-threatening battle with breast cancer — Terrie returned to college and earned her education degrees through attending Franciscan University with a desire to make a difference in the lives of our country’s youth.
As a highly respected and influential leader and co-Founder, President and CEO of the largest independent private provider of alternative education, PHASE 4 Learning Center, Inc., Terrie and her colleagues have built a non-profit, community-based organization from the ground up to serve youth who are at high risk for dropping out of school. Terrie has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those who are less fortunate so that they can thrive and become contributing members of their communities. PHASE 4 partners with school districts statewide at six PHASE 4 locations and the graduates earn their own district diploma. PHASE 4 has a 98% graduation rate with 47% entering employment; 40% enrolling in higher education; 13% enlisting in the US Military.
Terrie’s equal commitment is to that of our U.S. Military and troops. Without hesitation, she is the first to volunteer and rally support for those who serve our country. For over a decade she has successfully led initiatives that promote a partnership between the Army and the public, conveying a clear understanding of the Army’s objectives, as well as advising the Army on the public’s perspectives.
Through her allegiance and passion to help our nation and citizenry, Ms. Suica-Reed has received numerous awards and recognitions that acknowledge her passion and perseverance.
Terrie is married to Tom Reed where they live on a farmette in Beaver County and enjoy their kids, grandkids, critters — as well as their “extended” family through PHASE 4 and the U.S. Military.
Monica Michna, 27, of Pleasant Hills is the Chapter President of Achilles International- Pittsburgh. Achilles International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life.
Since it’s start in February 2013, Michna has grown the chapter to a database of over 180 members. Michna spearheaded an Achilles chapter in Pittsburgh after her long-time boyfriend was injured in Afghanistan while serving on behalf of the United States Marine Corps. Her introduction to the Achilles program came via her employer (Cigna) who has partnered with Achilles to assist their Long Term Disability customers in their goals of living a healthier lifestyle.
In their first year, Achilles Pittsburgh had a presence in the Baltimore, Scranton, New York City, and Disney marathons. For 2014, Achilles Pittsburgh athletes will compete in Los Angeles, our hometown of Pittsburgh, and even host their very own race of hope and possibility in North Park which will benefit the chapter and it’s growing population of athletes. Please join Monica Michna in her quest to assist people of all abilities– both military and civilian– to become more active.