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11th Cafritz Awards Winners

Tameka Borges
Recreation Specialist
DC Parks and RecreationIf anyone deserves cheers for her efforts on behalf of the young women of the District, it is Tameka Borges.

As a coach and coordinator for more than 15 years, Tameka has overseen the growth of the Cougars Competitive Cheer program, based in Ward 5, from a small squad of girls into a national championship-winning program with 105 participants, a coaching staff of nine, and a parent board.

In addition to leading the award-winning, nationally ranked cheerleading program, in 2004, Tameka—along with other colleagues in the DC Department of Parks and Recreation—designed the Just Us Girls (JUGS) Program, otherwise known as the Young Ladies on the Rise Program for the Wards 5 and 6 recreation and community service centers. This program serves adolescent girls who otherwise would be at risk for teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and violence. It empowers them through recreational activities, educational enrichment, cultural programming, and volunteer services.

Tameka provides a variety of other outstanding programs for youth and adults. These include: Breast Cancer Awareness Walks; a Health & Fitness Expo, which includes eye vision testing, lessons on personal hygiene, exercise, body measurements, food labeling, and counting calories; Girls Winter Tea program, during which girls learn etiquette; financial education workshops to teach participants about banking and investments; and community service activities such as one where girls help put together care baskets for a battered women’s shelter.

Tameka has been, and continues to be, a mentor to young women, her co-workers, and peers. As one of her nominees wrote, “She has provided me with the wisdom I have needed in my personal life, encouraging me to stay on the right path. She has become one of my biggest cheerleaders in life, and I cannot think of another person who is more deserving of this award.”

José L. Colón, Jr.
IT Software & GIS Manager
District Department of TransportationIn his current position as IT Software and GIS Manager, he has transformed the way DDOT issues and enforces public space permitting. He developed a state-of-the-art Transportation Online Permitting System (TOPS) and, in effect, took on the roles of Architect, Business Analyst, and Project Manager, in order to create and coordinate all the milestones and deliverables of the program.

TOPS has dramatically improved customer service. It streamlines the permitting process by providing online accessibility and document management capabilities. The system serves an unlimited number of users and saves the District thousands of dollars by eliminating annual licensing fees and freeing up DDOT staff time. Customers can now conduct electronic reviews, make payments online and print documents anywhere. Users can also print their own “Emergency No Parking” signs and can visit remote kiosks at any of the six MPD District Stations. Since its launch, TOPS has processed and issued more than 60,000 electronic permits and has served more than 25,000 registered users.

To his numerous accomplishments, José can add the implementation of a web-based Cityworks Work Order Management System. This initiative helps DDOT employees to facilitate internal work orders and service requests that are generated through the City’s 311 system. José also helped implement Envista, a Utility Work Notification System that allows DDOT and Utility companies the ability to coordinate projects, identify cost sharing opportunities, and reduce erroneous roadway cuts on newly paved roads.
While José’s technical expertise is obvious, his co-workers also cite his personal characteristics and communication skills. “He has the ability to communicate very complex technological issues to non-technical staff,” writes of one of his nominators. “But, of greater importance, he has the ability to take problems, ideas, or concepts from non-technical program staff to create technological solutions.”

Jerry C. Crayton, Sr.
Dean of StudentsCardozo Senior High SchoolJerry Crayton, Sr., has one official job title and responsibility—managing student conduct and behavior as the Dean of Students at Cardozo Senior High School.

But as those who nominated him for the 2012 Cafritz Awards indicated, the roles he plays in his interactions with students are numerous and go far beyond his job description.

There is Jerry the Educator, who works with students when they need additional help in tutoring, SAT preparations, or college applications.

There is Jerry the Community Ambassador, who lives across the street from the school and organizes meetings with community leaders to encourage their involvement with the school.

There is Jerry the Coach, who began last season as the volunteer coach for Cardozo’s junior varsity basketball team and, when the head coach departed suddenly, took over as the head coach for the varsity team, as well.

Then there is the Jerry who is, as one nominator put it, “The father, counselor, teacher, and probation officer” to the students of Cardozo.

Among his many accomplishments at Cardozo, Jerry started The Talented Tenth Program (TTT), which helps young men become leaders through academic excellence and leadership. Participants pledge to graduate from high school, and become leaders of their community. The program is highly successful: in the past seven years all of The Talented Tenth members graduated, and some went on to college, or started their own businesses.

“Instinctively, you would think that when the Dean of Students walks down the school hallway, students would run the other way,” said one of his recommendations. “Quite the contrary — students flock to him, simply because his love for them is so apparent.”

Christopher Yancey Holmes
District of Columbia Fire and EMS DepartmentChristopher Yancey Holmes has successfully created and implemented the agency’s first Urban Search and Rescue Canine Unit.

During his 11 years as a member of the District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department (DCFEMS), Chris became aware of a gap in the department’s capability to locate victims within collapsed buildings, during water rescues, and in trench collapse incidents. He also realized that the department lacked the ability to find missing children and senior citizens in open and wilderness areas.

Given that there were only 218 certified FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) search canines in the entire country and that financial resources were not available, Chris secured a loan from the District of Columbia Federal Credit Union to purchase an untrained K-9 named “Cazo” and another loan from the DC Fire Department Credit Union to pay for the FEMA Canine Search Specialist Course. After many months of training, Chris was successful—on his first attempt—in getting K-9 Cazo certified as a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Canine.

While Chris has become one of only 20 canine handlers in the entire United States to respond to such international disasters as the earthquake in Haiti, he says the greatest success of the Urban Search and Rescue Canine Unit is its educational presence and effect in the community. Chris and Cazo visit more than 50 schools and senior citizen homes every year, teaching personal safety.

“Using Cazo has allowed us to connect with children and seniors in ways that traditional fire safety methods haven’t,” says Chris.

Marcia Harrington
Supervisory Education SpecialistDistrict of Columbia Public Library Adult Literacy Resource Center

In late 1986, Marcia Harrington was the education director of a District non-profit adult literacy program when her boss encouraged her to apply for a position with the DC Public Library. The Library needed an adult education specialist to weed through and expand its timeworn collection of reading materials for adults with literacy needs, to train library staff in sensitivity to adults with lower literacy skills, to network with city adult literacy providers, and to recommend other needed adult literacy services.

Twenty-six years after taking the job, she has accomplished all of those tasks—and so much more. Thanks to the efforts of Marcia and her staff, adult learning and literacy is now one of DC Public Library’s five major focus areas, and the library is a strong and recognized partner in the city’s adult and family literacy efforts.

Among her many accomplishments are the following:

In 1987, Marcia founded the DC Adult Literacy Network, an informal network of adult literacy providers and stakeholders who met to share resources and best practices. That network eventually became DC LEARNs, the city’s literacy coalition.
In 1990, she established the Regional Literacy Helpline information and referral system.
A Feel for Books, a book discussion series for adult developing readers, completed its 20th year in the spring of 2011.
“Adult literacy is my passion,” Marcia says. “I have tried over the years to involve and challenge the library at the point of its strengths: obvious mission linked to literacy and learning, stability, presence in DC’s neighborhoods, print and media resources, and programming for a vulnerable and at-risk population.”

2012 Cafritz Awards Finalists

Victoria Cole-Rolon
Supervisory Therapeutic Recreation Therapist
DC Parks and Recreation

Geraldine Ide Gardner
Associate Director
Office of Planning

Yusif Gasimov
Supervisory Paralegal Specialist
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Daniela Grigioni, MD
Interim Director and Manager of External Relations for Afterschool Programs
Office of Out-of-School Time Programs
District of Columbia Public Schools

Desiré P. Grogan
Customer Training Coordinator/DCPL Free Computer Class Program
DC Public Library

Diana M. Havlin
Senior Crime Analyst
Tactical Analysis & Intelligence Branch
Metropolitan Police Department

Stella L. Hodge
Chief, Problem Resolution Officer
Office of Tax and Revenue

Kentrel J. Jones
Civil Engineer, Technology/Transportation Training Specialist
Department of Public Works
District Department of Transportation

Fitzroy A. Lee, Ph.D.
Deputy CFO/Chief Economist
Office of the Chief Financial Officer

Stephen B. Lyons
Deputy General Counsel
Office of the Chief Financial Officer

Lasana K. Mack
DC Treasurer and Deputy Chief Financial Officer
Office of Finance and Treasury
Office of the Chief Financial Officer

Senayet Meaza, MBA, CFE, CPM
Assistant Director
Examinations Division, Securities Bureau
Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Randolph Moses, Jr.
Chief, Emergency Management
Department of Human Services

Norman Nixon, Sr.
Supervisory Manpower Development Specialist
Department of Employment Services

Earl Simpson
Sanitation Supervisor
Department of Public Works

Aleazor King Taylor
Juvenile Firesetter Counselor
DC Fire and EMS Department

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