8 North State Street | Suite 300 | Painesville, OH 44077

Community Services: 440-354-2148 | Energy Assistance: 440-350-9160

8 North State Street | Suite 300 | Painesville, OH 44077

Community Services: 440-354-2148
Energy Assistance: 440-350-9160

8 North State Street | Suite 300
Painesville, OH 44077

Community Services: 440-354-2148
Energy Assistance: 440-350-9160

News Release

Lifeline for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers, Inc.
PO Box 496, Painesville, OH 44077
Contact: Carrie Dotson | (440) 354-2148 | carried@lclifeline.org

Lifeline, Inc. Honors Lake County Residents, Organizations at 2017 Annual Awards Dinner

May 19, 2017
PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Lifeline, Inc., Lake County’s Community Action Agency, is pleased to announce its 2017 award winners and to recognize agency volunteers and community partners for their commitment to Lake County’s low-income citizens. The awards were presented at Lifeline’s Annual Dinner held on May 17 at the Grand River Cellars in Madison.

“We gave out four different awards to numerous recipients this year,” said Carrie Dotson, Executive Director of Lifeline. “We are so excited to be able to recognize those who partner with and support Lifeline and its programs, and our community.”

The 13th Annual Mildred P. Wilson Award was presented to Frank Vaccariello, who has demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to Lifeline. The Mildred P. Wilson Award is named for the late Mildred Wilson, a dedicated Lifeline employee for many years. Mildred’s commitment and service to both Lifeline and Lake County’s low-income community were remarkable. This award was established in 2004 to honor an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in working to benefit Lifeline and the consumers we serve.

Previous recipients have included William Margalis, past Lifeline Board member; Barb Crabtree, fiscal consultant; Janet Gockel, Lifeline volunteer; Rita C. McMahon, Lifeline Board member; Donna Zabarsky, past Lifeline Board member and community partner; Bob Zaluski, past Lifeline Board member; Mark Alderman, Ohio Development Services Agency Field Representative; Gwen Corban, former Lifeline Executive Director; Cate Hearn, former Lifeline staff member; Jeremy & Vanessa Iosue, past Lifeline Board member and volunteers; Elaine Waytes, Lifeline volunteer; and Joe & Ali Hughes, Lifeline volunteers/celebrity dancers.

Frank has given his time to the VITA program selflessly since the inception of the program in 2010. This year was his seventh year with Lifeline and he commits with enthusiasm to the program in this seventh year as he did in the first. Frank also single-handedly expands the service that we offer to the Lake County community by completing the local tax returns for our VITA clients. This is a unique offering within this type of program.

Without Frank’s commitment to the local returns Lifeline’s clients would either not file these returns or have the collecting authority complete the forms for them. If our clients don’t file the outcome could result in owed back taxes, fines and penalties and if our clients have the collection authority complete the returns they don’t have the opportunity or assurance that someone advocated on their behalf. Frank also takes the time to make sure that our clients understand what and why they are filing. As an example, this year we completed returns for a repeat client and Frank personally delivered their completed local tax return to their home and sat with the client and explained the taxes to them. He also advocated with collection authority on their behalf by informing the agency that the sole income for these clients was social security disability and that they should not be filing local returns as the agency was indicating.

The primary benefit that Frank provides aligns with our program mission statement in that our clients are being empowered and achieving self-sufficiency in their fiscal responsibility. However, there is a secondary benefit that elevates lake county overall. When residents are actively and responsibly participating in the appropriate collection of local taxes, the local governments can better achieve their own fiscal responsibilities goals.

“In my experience with Frank over these two seasons that I have worked with him, he has been a self-motivator with this program. Being a retired accountant, Frank knows when tax season begins and he contacts us before we can reach out to him about the program. This truly is a passion for Frank and it shows through his commitment to the process,” said Lifeline VITA Site Coordinator, Tiffany Menosky. “Frank is also very easy going and patient in his nature and interactions with the clients and the Lifeline staff. He has been known to sit and wait for a client for a few hours on clinic days without any complaint. He is always friendly and cordial with staff when he is in the offices.”

The Outstanding Community Spirit Award was given to two groups for their commitment to Lifeline, Inc.’s mission and the clients that we serve, as well as their support of the community. The awards were given jointly to local communications consultant Robin Baum and to LBL Printing, as well as to the Painesville Walgreens Pharmacy. The award The Community Spirit Award is bestowed upon a local business or organization who displays outstanding dedication and service to improving the quality of life for Lake County’s low-income families.

Lifeline prefers to work with local businesses whenever possible to accomplish work projects successfully. Printing needs are just one of the basic business functions that could include envelopes, letterhead, posters, and other items of a variety of complexity and importance.  Most recently, Lifeline had the opportunity to work with Robin Baum, a local communications consultant, and again with Brian Gidley and his team at LBL Printing on a large project that will change the face of Lifeline. The agency was awarded a grant by the Cleveland Foundation to rebrand the agency and design a new logo that would reflect the ever evolving expansion of Lifeline.

Robin donated her time to act as a consultant and facilitator throughout the process, first gathering valuable opinions and data through the Board focus group and later to work through selection of the updated logo and look. We are incredibly grateful for Robin’s expertise and for the donation of her valuable time. LBL Printing was selected to design a logo that was fresh and would represent the work of the agency. LBL worked closely with a Robin, Lifeline’s executive Director and Board of Directors to choose a new logo. LBL staff has been open to input as the logo morphed into its current look. The positive support and flexibility of Mr. Gidley and LBL made the process much easier and Lifeline is proud of the new logo that shares Lifeline’s goal of empowering clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

The second recipient was Painesville’s Walgreens Pharmacy. Throughout Walgreens history they have demonstrated that they are truly a community pharmacy. Their founder, Charles R. Walgreen, believed that a business should provide excellent customer service, the best quality products, and help the community in any way possible. Those values still hold true today as Walgreens continues to develop programs that benefit communities all over the world.

For several years the Walgreens in Painesville has worked closely with Lifeline to provide medication access to those whom otherwise would not be able to afford their prescriptions.

“The staff at Walgreens has always conducted themselves in a friendly manner and recognizes the connection between a strong community and good business,” said Maribel Young, Lifeline Program Coordinator. “It is very heartening to know that a business in Lake County is so driven to lend a hand and help people in need.”

The Outstanding Community Partnership Award was presented jointly to Laketran and the City of Painesville’s Parks & Recreation Department for their collaboration on Lifeline’s alternative transportation Bike Program. The Outstanding Community Partnership Award recognizes a program or collaboration that shows both innovation and results in helping low-income families achieve self-sufficiency.

Last summer Lifeline hosted its first program designed to expand alternative transportation options for community members. The Bike Program’s first year was a success and helped 20 people learn about safe bike travel in Lake County. Participants also received a bike, helmet and lock after successful completion of the program. Laketran and the City of Painesville Parks & Recreation Department partnered with Lifeline to create a comprehensive, yet simple, forum where eligible low income residents could combine classroom and hands-on application of skills.

The Painesville City Parks & Recreation Department’s Dave Whittaker instructed students on bike safety and the basic mechanics of bike riding. Mr. Whittaker brought a bike to each class and demonstrated skills such as adjusting the seat and handlebars, checking tire pressure and the importance of using a helmet and lock. Mr. Whittaker recalled situations he had been in as a biker to explore different circumstance our participants might encounter.

In conjunction with the classroom education, Pat Pryatel from Laketan, brought a bus to Lifeline and assisted participants with learning to place their bike on and off the bus safely. Often times, community members use Laketran as well as their bikes to get to necessary appointments, work or personal errands.  The ability to use both the bus and their bike opens up more options for them to travel independently. Pat emphasized safety with participants because many of the Laketran routes operate on busy roads.

The feedback on the Bike Program from both participants and case managers was overwhelmingly positive.  Lifeline will continue to operate programs such as the Bike Program that meet gaps in service, but also promote collaboration among community partners.

The Outstanding Achievement Award was given to Lifeline program participant, Tiara Kaseda, to recognize her significant progress in achieving self-sufficiency.

Tiara enrolled in Lifeline’s Supportive Housing Program in March of 2016 and completed the program in February 2017. At the age of 24 years old, Tiara is a full time nursing student at the Willoughby School of Practical Nursing and is a single mom to her 3 year old daughter.

During her time in the program, Tiara has made outstanding strides in accomplishing the goals that she has set for herself. This includes seeking and obtaining part time employment through Lake Health, in addition to a part time position as a Home Health Care Aide. Tiara’s work performance and knowledge that she has gained through her schooling, has led to a full time nursing position at Lake Health upon her graduation.

Tiara has also accomplished several personal goals for her family. A few of these include learning and utilizing budgeting skills to better manage her family’s finances; linkage with community resources; and researching childcare facilities to enroll her daughter to provide her with additional socialization and educational opportunities.

“I feel that Tiara is a great example to other single parents who are struggling to balance time and finances while putting themselves through school,” said her Lifeline case manager Angela Wrana. “With determination and a positive attitude, it is possible to accomplish educational and career goals to better yourself and provide for your family.”

This year Lifeline’s Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation were held in conjunction with National Community Action Awareness Month and featured remarks by both Lifeline Board President, Anne Curwen and by Dotson.

Dotson says that because Lifeline, Inc. is such a locally-focused organization, they work to recognize those who have made an impact locally with these awards.

“As a Community Action Agency, we are obviously a very community-based organization. Last year we served close to 7,000 households from nearly every community in Lake County with our community services programs and answered nearly 35,000 calls for information and referrals through 2-1-1,” said Dotson. “We’ve strived to continue that effort by recognizing local individuals, organizations and program participants who have been successful in the past year.”

Lifeline for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers was founded in 1973 with the mission of helping Lake County residents by providing them assistance and life skills programming that is designed to increase self-sufficiency. In 1980 Lifeline became a participating agency of the United Way of Lake County, UWLC, and in 1987 was designated a community action agency by the Ohio Development Services Agency, ODSA.  In 2008, Lifeline was designated as a mental health agency by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Today Lifeline continues with the same mission of helping Lake County’s low-income residents break the cycle of poverty and make the transition from agency-dependency to self-sufficiency. Lifeline’s current programming includes services in the healthcare, housing & energy assistance, information & referral services and consumer education & job training areas. Our motto is ‘helping people, changing lives.’ Lifeline is currently funded by the UWLC and by grants through the ODSA, the Lake County Board of Commissioners, the Lake County ADAMHS Board, Lake County Department of Job & Family Services, the City of Mentor, the Western Reserve Junior Service League and through private donors.