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TRENTON – During Thursday’s meeting, Council Members honored Vonzella’s Crown, Jermaine White, Jr., Lourine Ware, and Clara Blakely Sampson. Each honoree was given their own resolution recognizing their contributions to the city of Trenton.
According to the resolution, Vonzella’s Crown is a faith-based nonprofit-charitable organization whose mission is to educate, transform, and empower, women youth, and seniors through advocacy, community service, intergenerational, and multigenerational programming, music, and the arts. The organization was founded in March 2020 by sisters Tara Butler and Melanie Clayton after the passing of their mother, Vonzella Clayton.
Since its inception, the non-profit has serviced over 200+ Senior Citizens, women, and young girls in the City of Trenton, and the greater Trenton area by addressing food insecurities, promoting financial fitness, and therapeutic art for women and teenage girls through multiple initiatives.
“Unbroken Women” provides a safe, loving, and non-judgmental environment through discussion groups, workshops, and creative activities. It aims to create a self-healing community for women, teenage girls, and senior citizens bridging the intergenerational and multigenerational gap. While “Von’s Seasoned Seniors” addresses the social and emotional needs of the Senior Citizen population.
Team members are highly educated and qualified individuals with multiple Master’s and Bachelor’s graduates as well as certifications in Criminal Justice Pre-Law, Human Services, Business Administration, Information Technology, Advance Cultural Competency Counseling, Youth Development, and Justice.
Founder, CEO, and Board Chair Tara R. Butler took to the podium to thank Council members on behalf of everyone at Vonzella’s Crown and announce the 3 year anniversary of it’s founding on March 10.
Jermaine White Jr. was honored for his various creative, innovative, exemplary volunteer work and contributions to the teenage and young adult community in the City of Trenton according to the resolution.
At the age of 10, White began volunteering with the North Trenton Ladies Association at a community feeding. After developing a growing interest in community service, he organized multiple community events, volunteered at Rivera Middle School, and helped his father establish “Don’t Shoot Guns Shoot Hoops.” The summer program transports youth to local basketball courts to learn basketball skills free of charge.
By 14, Jermaine began his own summer camp for teens. This program took young kids in Trenton to the pool, skating, Six Flags, The New Jersey State Museum, and the Trenton Police and Fire Departments where they learned about law enforcement and first responders.
To raise capital, White found innovative ways to fund his programs. He created his own hot sauce to support his first annual toy drive where he purchased over 200 toys in December of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was hosted at the North Trenton batting cages and featured photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
White has also distributed care packages for the homeless, clean up the streets with his father after the uproar following the death of George Floyd, organized a “Back to School BBQ” providing 100 bookbags full of supplies along with school uniforms, and hosted a second toy drive at his alma mater, Rivera Middle School.
White Jr. called the honor “truly a blessing” and announced he hopes to keep helping more kids.
Lourine Ware was honored for her many contributions and tireless efforts to help the elderly and those in need within the City of Trenton, according to the resolution.
A graduate of the Trenton Public School system, the same place she began work as a Nurse’s Aide. Ware continued her career at Mercer County Geriatric Hospital in Hamilton, NJ where she retired after 28 years of service.
Ware would continue helping others who could not do for themselves by abiding by her mother’s words, “When you extend a hand to someone in need, the Lord will bless you.”
In 2018, Ms. Ware became President of “The Willing Workers” of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, serving the greater Trenton community with meals, groceries, clothing, and toy drives.
Ms. Ware was not present to accept the award, but she is known as an “ever-bright shining light; a beacon of hope and caring, and an example for all of us to remember to help one another,” according to her resolution.
The final recipient was Clara Blakely Sampson who was honored for her many contributions and tireless efforts to help those in need within the City of Trenton. Sampson started “The Willing Workers” in 1982 at Jerusalem Baptist Church which operated for just over 40 years.
The two-time cancer survivor promised God, “If you spare my life, I will dedicate the rest of my life to giving to others,” which she did until she was unable to anymore.
Sampson’s son, Brian Blakely started “Clara’s Heart” to honor his mother and her work by continuing the giving in the community. Ms. Sampson can be seen at every event produced by Clara’s Heart, LLC where she still servers the public with love and compassion.
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