Legendary Local Advocate Inspires Student Award

(l. to r.): Mary Powell, Pastor Ron Weinbaum of the King's Chapel, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Ed Jaworski at MMHCA's 2009 Holiday Party

Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association (MMH) is creating an award for civic-minded students of Marine Park Junior High School in memory of their long-time president Mary Powell, who passed away in February.

The Mary Powell Award is a $250 cash gift to an eighth grade student of the school that demonstrates a commitment to civic duty through volunteering in the school or community.

“After the passing of Mary we wanted some kind of fitting living memorial to her,” said Anthony Giacobbe, a board member of MMH that is coordinating with the school. “Not only do we want to be a watchdog, but we’re also trying to get involved in community activities … We thought that by honoring one of our local eighth graders at Marine Park Junior High School it would be fitting.”

The organization is planning to make the award an annual occurrence, taking place this year at the school’s end-of-year awards ceremony on June 16. This year, members of Powell’s family will present the award. The student will be picked by a committee at the junior high school. The school is contributing a plaque that with the recipient’s name, to hang in the hallways to inspire future generations.

To raise funds for the event, MMH is organizing a community yard sale on Saturday, June 12. For $25, residents of the area can book a table at The Kings Chapel on Quentin Road and East 27th Street. Revenues from the table reservations will be used to replenish the fund for future years, and sellers are welcome to contribute all or part of the profits back to the organization. To book a table contact Joe at 718-382-0812 or jfsetaro@verizon.net; or Pat at 718-627-3335. Reservations are required by June 5.

Born in 1918, Mary Powell was a long-time community advocate working for Marine Park and Southern Brooklyn’s interests. She began working for others in the 1950s as part of a social worker’s union, and established the Erasmus neighborhood association in the 1970s. Her work included securing state, federal, and local grants to beautify and protect Flatbush and the Marine Park area. She passed in February, at 91, following a stroke.

According to MMH President Ed Jaworski, this isn’t the first time the organization is giving out awards to students for civic service. Back in the early days of the organization, they worked with local schools to find students to honor. The passing of an inspirational leader like Powell struck them as an opportunity to continue recognizing future advocates, according to Jaworski.

“I’m just delighted we’re getting back to something like this,” Jaworski said. “It’s nice that we’re able to resurrect the habit in Mary’s name … we can only hope that young people that get these kinds of awards will get involved in civics in their lifetimes.”


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