FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. --The Atlanta Falcons today announced the four winners of the 2009 Community Quarterback Award. The recipients of the award are Narva Farris (Carroll County Branch NAACP Re-Entry Services), Denise Wheeler (The Reece Center for Handicapped Horsemanship), Rayonta Whitfield (Georgia Amateur Boxing Association) and Regina Faye Butts (Hancock County Family Connection). The award honors individuals who are committed to improving their community through volunteerism.
The winners were selected by a panel of civic and community leaders and will be honored during an on-field presentation during the Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles game on Sunday, December 6, 2009. In addition, a $2,000 grant will be awarded to the non-profit organization each winner serves.
Narva Farris – Carroll County Branch NAACP Re-Entry ServicesFor the past 40 years, Farris has been a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and has served as a volunteer District Coordinator for six years, Chairman of Voter Registration Drives for seven years, President of the Carroll County Branch for seven years, Legal Redress Advisor for six years and Assistant Director of the Re-Entry Services Program for three years. He has assisted individuals with enrolling back in school, completing their high school education, serves as a mentor to young boys in a home without a father and at the golden age of 79 years goes in everyday to assist someone that needs encouraging.
The vision of the NAACP Re-Entry Services is to assist formerly incarcerated persons returning to Carroll County (Carrollton, GA) and surrounding counties from correctional facilities to have opportunities for developing a productive life and reducing barriers for successful transition back into the community.
Denise Wheeler – The Reece Center for Handicapped HorsemanshipWheeler has served as a volunteer Assistant Director of The Reece Center for the past 15 years. She coordinates all of the volunteers and riders, does the bookkeeping, cleans, collects donations and various other duties. Wheeler has dedicated her life to The Reece Center and loves each rider as if they were her own.
The mission of The Reece Center for Handicapped Horsemanship has is to provide equine assisted therapy to the disabled children and adults of metro-Atlanta. Equine assisted therapy helps build muscle tone, coordination, self confidence, provide emotional support and a host of other benefits to riders and their families.
Rayonta Whitfield - Georgia Amateur Boxing Association
For the past five years, Whitfield has served as a volunteer Assistant Boxing Coach to over 100 area youth that are members of the Augusta Boxing Club. In addition to weekly practices, he transports, supervises and coaches youth in out of town tournaments at his own expense. Whitfield has assumed the role of advisor, counselor, mentor and more importantly role model to the youth that look up to him and strive to be a champion like him some day.
The Georgia Amateur Boxing Association is an inner city after school activities program that focuses on athletics with an emphasis on boxing.
Regina Faye Butts – Hancock County Family Connection
Butts has worked diligently to increase literacy and improve the quality of living for the children and families of Hancock County (Sparta, GA). She currently serves as Head Start Family Service Manager and has enrolled over 400 pre-school students to the program. Additionally, she has assisted in coordinating a county-wide health clinic for a community of nearly 10,000 that does not have access to a local hospital and many struggle with limited or no health care coverage. This clinic provides medical services, food and clothing to those in need.
The Hancock County Family Connection is part of statewide network of 159 community collaborative partnerships committed to making measurable improvements for children and families in Georgia.