My mother meant the world to me and was my greatest inspiration. She encouraged me, loved me and supported me unconditionally. She also taught me to appreciate the role of motherhood.
After my mother died several years ago, I sought a way to honor her memory. I also wanted to celebrate and honor the mothers I have had the privilege to meet in shelters. Mothers in shelters have taught me strength and resilience in the face of adversity; over the years they have inspired and encouraged me. Clearly, I saw some of the lessons my own mother had taught me in these mothers.
In spring 2014, I shared my thoughts with our HHI colleagues at Jane Addams Place, and together we created just the right legacy and blessing that would both honor my mother’s memory and encourage and support mothers in shelter. Establishing the Annual Geneva Burney Maxwell Memorial Service Award has been extremely rewarding for me — a dream fulfilled!
The award honors the tremendous efforts of a Jane Addams shelter resident who has demonstrated leadership, positive community involvement and social responsibility. The first honoree was nominated by shelter staff and residents and was voted on by staff and myself. Several of my own family members were on hand to support me when I awarded the First Annual Geneva Burney Maxwell Memorial Service Award to Shawntay Coles. Congratulations, Shawntay!
— Karen M. Hudson, MSW, LSW