By Jewel Fisk

People of Color Wellness Alliance  

The People of Color Wellness Alliance (POCWA) coalition is proud of announce the recipients of its annual “Community Gems – A Night of Elegance’’ gala Nov. 17 at The Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, 151 Goodman Dr., Cincinnati, 45219. The theme is Honoring the Honorable: Cincinnati’s Legacy of Grassroots Community Service.

Cameron Foster, POWCA board president, said this formal affair honors individuals or agencies that have worked to bring about a positive change in the community. Marsha Polk, POCWA executive director, said the coalition’s work of community-based trauma informed care has had a profound impact on community/family dynamics.

Ann Everson-Price is master of ceremonies. Special guest speakers are Mamie Harris, CEO of IV-CHARIS, and Sandra Driggins-Smith, program director, Central Community Health Board. They will discuss how coalitions of color are an essential means to address drug abuse and trauma in the community.

For information or to purchase tickets, call Alysia Longmire at 513 636-5094.

POCWA’s Community Gems for 2018 are:


Debora K. Burstion: Debbie Burstion, deceased, dedicated 30 years of her life to combat the spread of HIV by educating anyone she came in contact with. She was also a huge supporter of Women’s Rights and Civil Rights.

Elizabeth Cone: Cone is a resource coordinator for William H. Taft Elementary School. She has served in this role in the Cincinnati Public School District for 21 years, developing, coordinating and implementing programs to serve students and their families. Elizabeth has facilitated groups through CPS for Raising Great Kids, Amer-I-Can and the Center for Peace Education.

Ramone Davenport: Davenport, director, Dohn Community High School, said he believes strength is Leadership. When Davenport arrived at Dohn in 2009, the school had one location with 50 students. Under his leadership, Dohn now has five locations, with over 800 students.

Nathaniel “Nate” Foster: Foster, deceased, in 2002 founded the EndZone Club with his wife, Gwen, at the Findlay Street Neighborhood House. Through the EndZone Club, Foster provided professional mentors for over 500 youth and implemented his own character-building curriculum.


Photo credit: Shellee Fisher

Annie Ruth: Ruth is an internationally respected artist, arts educator, author and a community activist based in Cincinnati. Her work positively influences audiences in Europe, Africa, and throughout the United States. She is an award-winning author, who has published 25 volumes of poetry and books.

Amber C. Simpson: Simpson has taught at Lafayette Bloom Back-on-Track Accelerated Middle School, North Avondale Montessori and Sands Montessori, and in 2014 was named principal at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy in June, 2014.

Rosemary D. Oglesby-Henry: Oglesby-Henry is the founder and CEO of Rosemary’s Babies Co., a non-profit committed to helping teen parents master the concepts of self-leadership to leave a legacy.

Danielle Jones: Jones is assistant vice president and senior public relations manager at Fifth Third Bank. Jones is a mentor. In 2015 after the death of her infant son, she started the Angel Baby Network as a way to help families cope with the devastating effects of child loss.

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