Congratulations to Lee Scandinaro (Meadville) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards!
The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.
To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.
Lee Scandinaro, nominated by Amara Geffen, was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.
“The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.”
Lee Scandinaro was selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award for his impressive service to Meadville during the COVID-19 shutdown. He took it upon himself to assess the needs of his community and determined that food accessibility was a major issue. He then worked to establish a vital school lunch program which will continue providing food to area children through the summer.
Scandinaro is deeply rooted in his community and works collaboratively with residents and local organizations to assist those in need. He currently is employed by Arc of Crawford County, helping to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community.
“That's always been what my MO is -- trying to fill what needs there are and serving the public as much as possible and in whatever way I can... not in a way that's about me but in a way that's about all of us just moving together,” said Scandinaro.