Recipients of 2009 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference – Honored at Ramapo College Ceremony
The Russell Berrie Foundation carries on the values and passions of the late Russell Berrie, through promoting the continuity of the Jewish people, fostering religious understanding and pluralism, supporting advances in diabetes and humanistic medical care, celebrating unsung heroes and elevating the profession of sales.
Last year the foundation honored Do1Thing founder Najlah Feanny Hicks for her work in co-founding the Heart Gallery of New Jersey Inc., a traveling portrait gallery that publicizes the plight of adoption-eligible children mired in the foster care system. To date, 191 New Jersey foster children have been adopted because of the Heart Gallery’s efforts.
She used most of her award to launch an organization called Do1Thing. It’s a nationwide effort of photographers, writers and Web designers to portray the face of homeless teenagers. The Web-based organization links to a number of non-profit partners that provide services to homeless teens. In recalling last year’s ceremony, Hicks said, “The beauty of this is that it allowed me to do one more thing. There is always something each of you can give.”
Read about the 2009 recipient: Patient care technician Angelica Mercado. Mercado assisteda driver whose gas tanker overturned and exploded. Driving by as the accident occured, she stopped, pulled the driver to safety and took him to the hospital. Healthcare professionals at The University Hospital in Newark, where the driver was taken, believe Mercado’s quick actions likely saved the man’s life.