The Avicenna Board of Directors established the Avicenna Healthcare Distinguished Service Award in 2012 to recognize individuals and institutions that foster meaningful and outcome-based collaboration and work diligently to address healthcare or social disparities in Champaign County. The award reflects on the promotion of collaboration across free clinics, public healthcare service providers, large area clinics, and other stakeholders including the University of Illinois, community organizations, and faith-based organizations. Past award recipients include Jeff Trask (2013), who founded the Champaign County Christian Health Center, Claudia Lennhoff (2014), the Executive Director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers, and Ellen McDowell (2015), the Founder and President of the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. This year we are proud to present this award to Dawn M. Blackman.
Dawn Blackman is the steward of the Randolph Street Community Garden in Champaign, IL. Starting with eight box-shaped plots in 2006, the garden expanded and is currently around 40 plots of various sizes. The garden is currently a source of food for many food distributional events such as food drives and soup kitchens. Dawn has hosted food pantries within Champaign, organized distribution of grown foods from the community garden, and been actively involved with the Champaign Church of the Bretheren.
Through Dawn and many others’ efforts at the Randolph Street Community Garden, grown food has been provided to homeless shelters, food banks, and distributed in care packages to those in need. The garden has helped unite parts of the community, bringing families, students, and businesses together to help plant healthy crops. Avicenna is pleased to add Dawn to the list of recipients of this award in honor of her positive impact towards the community and her forward movements in ensuring everyone has access to healthy foods.
Blog post by Kareem Al-Qadi