Molina Healthcare of South Carolina presented three individuals with its Community Champions Award at the 5th annual event celebrating outstanding leaders and advocates for underserved populations throughout the state. Each honoree received a trophy and a $3,000 grant to donate back to nonprofit organization(s) of their choice.
“Molina Healthcare of South Carolina is honored to recognize these three heroes who work tirelessly and selflessly to improve the health, well-being and success of youth, individuals and families across the state,” said Dora Wilson, President of Molina Healthcare of South Carolina. “Although they serve out of the goodness of their hearts and not for praise, these remarkable honorees, as well as the organizations they are a part of, remind us that giving back and making a positive impact on those in need is important and worthy of celebration.”
This year’s 2019 Community Champions Awards recipients included:
- Jamal Stroud of Columbia, the founder of Big Homie Lil Homie, which is a mentoring program for young males throughout Columbia, particularly at-risk youth and those that live in single-parent homes. In addition to his full-time position as an adoption specialist with the Department of Social Services, he makes being a positive influence in approximately 100 children’s lives in Richland County a full-time commitment. To further pay it forward, Jamal also established a $1,000 scholarship for an undergraduate student at his alma mater, Allen University, while he was in graduate school. Jamal is donating his $3,000 grant back to Big Homie Lil Homie, so they can continue to guide and nurture their young mentees.
- Taryn Copeland of Greenville, a dedicated volunteer to the Project Host soup kitchen, where she has served more than 1,000 hours of her free time and has fed at least 70,000 individuals over the last three years. She commits three days out of her week to helping at Project Host, cooking for and serving their guests. Taryn has an unmatched contagious energy and even volunteers on major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, despite having her own family commitments. Taryn is splitting her $3,000 grant between Project Host and Meals on Wheels of Greenville County, so they two organizations can continue to feed their communities.
- Shanika Maples Aiken of Orangeburg, a woman who has spent well over 2,000 hours volunteering for various organizations, including the Department of Juvenile Justice, Save the Children, Orangeburg Coalition for Youth Empowerment, Orangeburg Community Action Group and more. She is the president of The S.A.F.E. (Self-esteem, advocacy, faith and education) Organization, which she founded to help and guide local youth as they navigate through the social issues challenging them in today’s world. Shanika is contributing her $3,000 grant to The S.A.F.E. Organization so they can continue providing a safe haven for kids in the greater Orangeburg area.
The event took place at the EdVenture Children’s Museum on Thursday, May 23. Connor Shaw, NFL veteran and former University of South Carolina quarterback who is one of Molina Healthcare’s community partners, was part of the event and delivered the keynote address.
In addition to representatives from numerous nonprofit organizations who were present, the event was attended by Freddie Gault, Outreach Director for Congressman William Timmons, and Briana Bateman, Representative for U.S. Senator Tim Scott. Upon completion of the awards presentation, guests were invited to explore the museum and continue enjoying food and refreshments. Fox Audio Visual provided their services during the event.