Henry Williams of Independence, Kansas, and community partner of the SEK-CAP, will receive the 2011 Sargent Shriver Annual Achievement Award, one of two prestigious recognitions presented annually by the national Community Action Partnership. Williams will be presented with the award at the annual CAP conference in San Francisco the week of August 22nd.
Henry Williams began working with SEK-CAP in 2000 and quickly achieved economic self-sufficiency, and in 2003, SEK-CAP presented him with a Personal Responsibility and Achievement Award. Happily, Henry’s amazing story did not end there. His desire to give back to his community led to the establishment of The Uppercut Boxing Club, the only stand-alone youth development organization in Independence, Kansas, focusing on enabling youth in a positive manner and preventing delinquency. Working out of his home in the beginning, Henry helped young people train for amateur boxing four nights a week, mowing lawns to obtain the funds necessary to purchase basic boxing equipment. Through persistent contact, he gained the support of churches, schools, and local law enforcement. The Club has developed a positive reputation through the local school district, Community Colleges, churches, banks, businesses, and social service agencies. The Club obtained a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, and many community partners participated in fundraising efforts. Additionally, individual and community supporters serve as board members and volunteers in the program.
SEK-CAP provided continuous encouragement and sometimes, financial support for boxing equipment, computers, and supplies. Today, The Uppercut Boxing Club operates out of a bona fide gym in the heart of Independence, and is open to all children and youth from 10 to 17 years of age, and at no cost.
Steve Lohr, SEK-CAP executive director said, “Over 1500 people, representing nearly 1,100 community action agencies across this country, will gather together in San Francisco to learn, to share experiences, and to acknowledge a few very special people who are making America a better place to live. Henry’s efforts and successes illustrate the tangible results of the Promise of Community Action. Through his interactions with SEK-CAP, Henry regained hope and bettered his life, and now he is improving his own community, making Independence Kansas a better place to live.”
The Community Action Partnership established the Sargent Shriver Achievement Award in 1995 to recognize and honor achievements by individuals who, with the assistance of a Community Action Agency like SEK-CAP, have changed their lives and achieved independence. With this award, the Community Action Partnership seeks to honor those individuals who have turned hope into reality.The Award is named after Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, and represents what Community Action is all about: Helping People and Changing Lives.