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Diversity Awards honor contributions

September 22, 2018

Six people and two organizations were honored with Welcoming Fort Wayne Diversity Awards on Friday during a breakfast at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The Diversity Awards are designed to honor the contributions of local immigrants and refugees, as well as the organizations and individuals who support them.

Individuals and organizations were honored in the following seven categories:

• Positive Role Model: Pong Simon, who works for Fort Wayne Community Schools as an interpreter and also volunteers to teach Mon students as well as organize local Mon festivals.

• Positive Role Model: Alice Jordan-Miles, director of the Purdue University Fort Wayne Behavioral Health & Family Studies Institute.

• Community Organization: International House, a nonprofit organization that supports refugees and immigrants.

• Entrepreneur of Excellence: Fernando Zapari, the creator and lead editor of El Mexicano, a Latino-focused newspaper that’s distributed throughout northern Indiana, northwestern Ohio and southern Michigan.

• Diverse Company of the Year: Catholic Charities, a nonprofit organization committed to eradicating poverty and strengthening families while engaging with diverse populations.

• Lifetime Achiever: Josefina Cervantes, who works for Amani Family Services as a program manager.

• Youth Leader: Rabia Ibrahim, who was nominated three times by three separate individuals. Rabia came to the U.S. as a refugee from Myanmar and is now a U.S. citizen.

• Social Justice: Samuel W. Jarjour, a second generation Syrian-American. He is an attorney and past president of the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace and chair of Arab Fest Fort Wayne.

Organizations supporting the Diversity Awards Breakfast include: Welcoming Fort Wayne, Purdue University Fort Wayne, the city of Fort Wayne, Amani Family Services, Trinity English Lutheran Church, the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne, Friends of the Third World, Associated Churches, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Catholic Charities and Many Nations Church.

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