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Maps Community Awards, Part II

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Meet our 2023 Community Award winners!

Each year, the Maps Community Foundation honors several amazing locals with the Maps Community Awards. These awards recognize those who are going above and beyond to “Make a Difference” in the Mid-Willamette Valley. The winners (who are nominated by someone in their community) are then given the opportunity to select a charity that will be awarded a $1,000 grant in their name. Here are the uplifting stories of our 2023 winners (part 2 of 4).

Elinor Maroney and Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center

Grant winner: Elinor Maroney- Maps member (nominated by Margaret Manoogian)

About Maroney’s chosen charity: The Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center is a 501c3 organization that provides financial support for projects, activities, and capital improvements at the Monmouth Senior Community Center (MSCC).

Why Maroney picked Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center to receive the $1,000 grant: “The Senior Center has been valuable to me in getting to know my new neighborhood after moving to the area shortly before the beginning of the pandemic. I have made connections and enjoyed the activities at the Center. It did not take long for me to begin volunteering.”

Maroney’s give-back story: Maroney is a 91-year-old ceramics artist and a relatively recent transplant to the area who offers her expertise to others and her skills to local organizations like the MSCC and the Polk County Historical Society. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Senior Center, preparing the newsletter and assisting with the Monmouth-Independence Age-Friendly Community forum. She is also an active potter and regularly opens her garage studio to teach art to the public, particularly youth and those with disabilities.

“We…are hard-pressed to find as vibrant and engaged a community member as Elinor,” says nominator Margaret Manoogian. “She is a genuine and caring person. Her activities within the community may not be the most visible or even the largest across groups; however, in Elinor, we have a generative and caring older adult who is making a difference and showing all of us how to age with grace, curiosity, sensitivity, and engagement.”

Rosetta Wangerin and Love, INC of North Marion County

Grant winner: Rosetta Wangerin (nominated by Destinee Schuster)

About Wangerin’s chosen charity: Love INC is a non-profit that serves Aurora, Brooks, Butteville, Donald, Gervais, Hubbard, Mt. Angel, Scotts Mills, Silverton, St. Paul, and Woodburn. Their mission is to mobilize the church to transform lives and communities by offering supplies (like diapers, car seats, clothing, cleaning products, etc.), as well as family support, utility assistance, and suicide prevention services.

Why Wangerin picked Love, INC to receive the $1,000 grant: “They help members of our community in need. I have seen God’s miracles happen there day after day and where they have turned the impossible into the possible.”

Wangerin’s Give-back Story: Wangerin has devoted her career to social services and has continued to volunteer her time in the community after her retirement. She even volunteered to take on the leadership role (without compensation) at Love INC when the previous executive director left in 2022. Under her leadership, Love INC. has expanded the Utility Assistance Program to serve two additional cities and opened an infant and household goods closet.

Says nominator Destinee Schuster, “Rosetta has the energy, love, and skill set to truly make a difference in the North Marion County community…I have never seen a person in a volunteer position do so much good for such a wide service area in such a relatively short period of time.”

Mariah Sede and Grace House

Grant winner: Mariah Sede (nominated by Anne Naccarato and Grace Aguilera)

About Sede’s chosen charity: Women at the Well Grace House (a.k.a., Grace House) is a faith-based non-profit that supports homeless and disadvantaged adult women without dependents by offering refuge, support, hope, and love.

Why Sede chose Grace House to receive the $1,000 grant: “I work at Grace House because we are uniquely successful (92%) at ending the cycle of homelessness by helping women to become self-sufficient. I love that our approach is individualized, builds self-efficacy, and often results in our residents giving back to the community after getting on their feet. That’s what exponential success looks like.”

Sede’s give-back story: Sede is the executive director of Women at the Well Grace House and has implemented a bilingual case management program to reach Spanish-speaking homeless women. Through her work, Sede has raised enough money to break ground on an expansion that will double the number of women Grace House serves annually—and that means helping house over 50 unhoused women in Salem each year. Sede is a graduate of and strong supporter of Corban University, where she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. According to nominator Anne Naccarato, Sede serves as a community partner to all women through her empowerment work.

“Mariah shows compassion, grace, and intentionality in everything she does,” says nominator Grace Aguilera. “She is so passionate about empowering women from all walks of life to achieve goals they never thought they could achieve.”

Greg Locke and Liberty House

Grant Winner: Greg Locke- Maps member (nominated by Connor Locke)

About Locke’s chosen charity: Liberty House is the Children’s Advocacy Center that serves Marion and Polk Counties by providing child-focused assessment services and medical consultations in potential cases of abuse and neglect. Their mission is to “promote health and hope in children, youth, families, and communities” by offering children the opportunity to talk about what has happened to them in a neutral and sensitive manner. The goal of the Liberty House approach is to ensure both the objectivity of the assessment and the well-being of the child. To that end, they also offer mental health and other support services—like trauma-focused care, counseling, and abuse-prevention education—to both the child and the child’s family or caregivers. 

Why Locke chose Liberty House to receive the $1,000 grant: “I’ve recently become more involved in supporting the Liberty House.  The range of services it provides for children in abusive situations is so important to help this most vulnerable group in our communities.”

Locke’s Give-back Story: Locke is a local engineer and business owner who has donated countless hours to the community through non-profits and organizations such as Dallas High School, Camp Tapawingo, Salt Creek Baptist Church, and others—but he doesn’t just give back through non-profits. His for-profit work has benefited the Willamette Valley for three decades, as he and his company work to cultivate healthy communities.

“Growing up I have seen the hours my Dad spent at home in the evenings or on the weekends getting these projects done for groups who do not pay him a cent,” says nominator (and son) Connor Locke. “For decades he has balanced the demands of owning a business and the hard work it takes to sustain such an endeavor alongside the responsibilities of his family.”

We have more amazing give-back stories to share with you in the coming days. These four individuals are just a few of the 17 Community Awards we gave out this year. To our 2023 winners and nominees (and to all of the community members who nominated these amazing, inspiring candidates) thank you for sharing your stories. This annual program is such a joy to offer and such an integral part of how the Maps Community Foundation hopes to connect with and celebrate those who make life better for our members and all of the residents in the Willamette Valley basin.

Just catching up? You can meet the rest of the 2023 winners Part I, Part III, and Part IV

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