BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – At the Greater Falls Connections barbeque recently, Mike Malick was the recipient of the Active Community Engagement Award for public service.
Ed Cooney-Moore, the past director of the justice center, nominated Malick for the award, noting that he “has always pulled up everyone he can.”
Malick is also a former director of the Greater Bellows Falls Community Justice Center, and a former town employee who has worked at wastewater and public works departments.
Malick shared his philosophy about relating to people in trouble.
“To affect a change you need to earn the person’s trust and that doesn’t come easy, if it comes at all,” Malick said after the event. “Some of the people I’ve dealt with are traumatized and all you can do is be kind and lead by example.”
Malick is the sixth recipient of this award given annually by Greater Falls Connections.
“In an effort to recognize the inspired, positive action happening every day, Greater Falls Connections is excited to announce the recipient of the sixth Active Community Engagement Award,” the award read. “A.C.E. recipients are the unsung heroes within our community who foster positive change and are dedicated to creating safe, healthy and fun options for youth, families and the community at large.”
Malick, who lives in Saxtons River, currently volunteers at Greater Falls Connections, and works part time at the justice center.
The center is a citizen-governed nonprofit that operates with input from the Village of Bellows Falls and its residents, as well as the surrounding towns of Westminster, Athens, Saxton’s River and the greater Rockingham area.
The organization seeks to provide a safe environment for resolving conflicts, and promoting restorative justice and victim sensitivity.
A study released by researchers at Sam Houston State University found that restorative justice programs such as victim-offender mediation and community impact panels are more effective at reducing recidivism rates among juvenile offenders than is traditional court processing.
The nomination process was conducted online, where residents could select a “diligent and deserving individual who they felt was an unsung hero and an asset to the community, quietly affecting change and contributing to the quality of life in the community.”
Malick was one of four candidates selected for the award. Others were Deb Witkus, Greater Falls Connections Community outreach coordinator; Hailee Galandak, former Boys and Girls Club Acting director; and Bonnie Anderson, founder of the Bellows Falls Community Bike Project.
Youth and community volunteers were also recognized by Greater Falls Connections staffers with “Warm and Fuzzy” awards for 2016. Certificates were given to Hailee Galandak, Sherrie Foster, Jason Jacques, Allison Aither, James Gaplin, Ciara Rickard, Andrew Malshuk, and Gina DeCampo.
The event was held at the Rockingham Recreation Center.
Greater Falls Connections stated mission is to build a healthy, nurturing and supportive community. Their mission is to connect the community of Windham Northeast by inspiring and empowering people through education and collaboration to promote wellness and prevent the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.” – Jean Vanier, Community and Growth