By Obediah Johnson
MONROVIA – A Liberian Humanitarian has received four prestigious awards from reputable organizations based in the United States for her consistent advocacy and untiring support towards the improvement of the wellbeing and dignity of thousands of less fortunate Liberians, including children and old folks in Liberia and other parts of the world.
Madam Kolu Sokodolo Walters, Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the Kolu Sokodolo International Children Foundation, based in Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively, was the only black among 60 persons who received awards from The Gawad Amerika Awards under the category of Outstanding Civic Leader at the ceremony held at the Celebrity Center International Pavilion in California, USA on Saturday, November 19, 2022
The Gawad Amerika started in 1996 as a civic organization called the “Gawad Amerika Foundation” was founded by its Chairman of the Board, leader and a visionary Charles Simbulan who has a strong and dynamic vision of helping and cultivating the talents of young Filipino-American achievers who lack the necessary resources to follow their dreams. The foundation also provides help to many struggling Filipino-American families with socio-economic opportunities that enable them to live with dignity and decent lives.
The commitment and dedication of the institution’s vision continue to reach out to more young achievers and families in need for years without any media coverage as it has about 275 students who are recipients of its financial support.
About 89 individuals and families were given shelter and provided jobs. As the foundation continues to grow, a lot of business and civic leaders, entrepreneurs and even some political figures in the Filipino-American communities started to recognize its efforts in reaching out to those in need. They began to offer support to the foundation and together, they used their resources and dedicated their time and resources to aggressively and passionately help deserving individuals to make their dreams a reality.
Along the way, more and more individuals who excel in their respective chosen careers and have done remarkable achievements in their communities were given recognition which became a yearly tradition of the Gawad Amerika Foundation which was later known as the Gawad Amerika Awards.
In September 2002, a year after the historic 9/11 attacks, the Gawad Amerika Awards held its 1st formal event in which the first half of the program was dedicated to honor the victims and fallen heroes.
Madam Sokodolo-Walters was awarded the accolade for being very instrumental and sensitive to addressing the plights of underprivileged Liberian children, visually impaired, physically challenged, abandoned and neglected citizens, among others.
“On behalf of the Gawad Amerika Awards Night Boards, committees and their respectable panels, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to you for having been recognized as one of the most outstanding individuals; 2021Outstanding Civic Leader,” a letter issued under the signature of the group’s Founding President/CEO Charles Simbulan and addressed to the Liberian humanitarian on November 9, 2022 stated.
The group pointed out that Madam Sokodolo-Walters “success and remarkable achievements as a civic leader has been recognized not only by this organization but most of all, by the heads of the local communities.”
“We are proud to have you as the recipient of the most respectable recognition and we hope that you will continue your sincere dedication and commitment in all your future endeavors,” the group noted.
She also received the Dr. Nina L Meyerhof Leadership Award at the 3rd Award ceremony of the Jacobs-Abbey Global Institute for Leadership Studies in the US. The award was presented at an event ceremony held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Centre, in the USA on November 12.
The Jacobs-Abbey Global Institute for Leadership Studies is a research, teaching, training and leadership institute that critically provides strategic transformational thinking as a philosophy designed to help anyone who applies it to improve their current and future reality with the premise that, if we want to change the world, we must first change our thinking.
It established a global leadership award named after Dr. Nina Meyerhof to create and recognize most outstanding individuals who dedicated their lives to bringing positive social change and devoted their time to fight poverty, injustice and whose accomplishments are consistent with Jacobs-Abbey Global Institute for Leadership Studies goals.
Samuel Jacobs-Abbey, the founder and president of the Jacobs-Abbey Global Institute for Leadership Studies was identified and mentored by Dr. Nina Meyerhof. Dr. Meyerhof played a significant role in mentoring, encouraging and grooming Samuel Jacobs-Abbey to become a globally respected leader in the area of leadership and good governance.
Madam Sokodolo-Walters shared the award with Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, who was represented at the occasion by Madam Sarah Fyneah Dorbort, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, DC. VP Howard-Taylor received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the group.
The City Mayor of Glenarden, Maryland, Cashenna A. Cross was also in attendance. Mayor Cross urged the guests and recipients to develop love for education. She reminded them to be great coaches and always consider service before self.
Early in April, Madam Sokodolo-Walters won the Virtuous Woman and Most Respected Individual Awards from the I Am Magazine based in the United States.
Madam Sokodolo-Walters expressed thanks and appreciation to the various groups for recognizing her efforts being applied to advocate for and promote dignity among her fellow humans.
She stated that the honors signify a new day in the lives of the underprivileged and less fortunate children and old folks across the African continent.
She said the awards will strengthen her towards engaging into “life-changing ventures and initiatives” for the benefit of the needy. Madam Sokodolo-Walters noted that though she has been rendering assistance to thousands of less fortunate and under-privileged citizens back home and in other areas, she expects nothing in return.
She sees her unflinching contributions to humanity through advocacy, outreach activities and donations, as a fulfillment of a biblical responsibility.
She vowed to continuously work and go the extra mile to help redeem the lives of future leaders across the Africa continent, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively.
Madam Sokodolo-Walters further observed that the future of the world would be threatened if adequate support and assistance are not given to those who are in need, especially educational opportunities for children, to become productive citizens in the future.
“I see these awards not as an accomplishment, but a motivation to get up and exert more efforts to do more for our people who are in need. We never knew that people were watching the kind of work that we do to put smiles on the faces of our underprivileged children and mothers. I want to assure you in this public gathering that we will continue to strive in providing our widow’s mat, along with the help of friends and others to always give to those who are in need of help. We do not expect anything in return for the works that we do because it is a biblical responsibility and we know that our rewards are above,” Madam Sokodolo-Walters stated.
Madam Sokodolo-Walters, however, extended thanks and appreciation to her husband Bishop Moses Walters, friends, and the heads of her foundation in Liberia and Sierra Leone for being more supportive towards fulfilling her dream and philanthropic agenda.
She shared the awards with them with a call for more sacrifices to be made and support provided to destitute children and others across the African continent.
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