Social justice awards announced

Social justice awards announced

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign County Health Care Consumers are among four winners of the 2013 McKinley Foundation Social Justice Awards.

The award winners — which also include Laura Taylor, Nicole Beck and La Colectiva — and 10 nominees will be honored at an event at 5:30 p.m. March 9 at the McKinley Foundation, 809 S. Fifth St., C. Tickets are $50 per person and may be ordered via or at the McKinley Foundation building.

The winners:

— Nicole Beck, Individual Student Award. She had worked with children with disabilities, assisting with the Buddy Walk for families with a Down syndrome member and spending time with children at the Little Angels facility in Elgin. Locally, she ended her student teaching in Mahomet by working with students with disabilities in the resource room. She was a resident adviser at Presby Hall for one and a half years.

— Former Urbana High School Principal Laura Taylor will receive the Community Individual Award for her work in the Urbana school district. She established the Social Justice Committee as a way to explore both the advantages and disadvantages that students encounter for a variety of reasons. The committee's goal was to provide equal access and opportunity for all students to be successful in public schools that traditionally serve the majority.

From 2007-'10, she helped plan a variety of activities that allowed for new student experiences and an opportunity for the minority to have access to opportunities. As a result, the school climate has become more inclusive and welcoming to all students and their families.

In July 2012, Taylor became the assistant superintendent for achievement and pupil services for the Champaign school district.

— The Champaign County Health Care Consumers will receive the Community Organization Award. With a 36-year history of working to provide health care equality for all, Health Care Consumers is currently active in efforts to educate consumers about the Affordable Care Act and to assist them with getting connected to health coverage.

— The Student Organization Award will go to La Colectiva, a group that formed to address the issues facing undocumented students. Currently its mission has expanded to include the immigrant community by providing resources through grass-roots initiatives such as tax workshops, volunteer work at the schools and college informational workshops.

La Colectiva's current project is to support and educate others about the DREAM Act, which would allow U.S. citizenship to students brought to this country as young children and to undocumented aliens who have been educated in U.S. high schools and have stayed out of trouble.

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