The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association has awarded 2020 Lennon Life Prizes to the Notre Dame Clubs of Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and St. Louis in recognition of the clubs’ special impacts in defense of human life.
The Lennon Life Prize is part of the Chuck and Joan Lennon Gospel of Life Initiative, a set of programs aimed at activating the University’s robust clubs network to be forces of good in upholding the value of life at all stages.
The winning clubs will receive $5,000 each to execute projects that support vulnerable populations.
Five clubs will receive $500 honorable mention awards: Atlanta, Boca Raton, Williamsport, Greensburg/Uniontown and Hilton Head.
The Lennon Gospel of Life Initiative was co-created with Chuck and Joan Lennon. Chuck Lennon, who served as executive director of the Alumni Association and associate vice president of University relations for 31 years, retired in 2011 and died in 2019.
As a result of donations to the Lennon Gospel of Life Initiative in his memory, the Alumni Association was able to expand the Lennon Life Prize from three to four winners this year.
“Even during challenging times such as these, we continue to be inspired by the initiative and creativity of so many of our clubs, especially in this sacred work of protecting the vulnerable in the world,” said Dolly Duffy, class of ’84, executive director of the Alumni Association and associate vice president of University relations. “While we all miss Chuck dearly, it is wonderful to witness his legacy living on through this initiative and to see it expand this year due to funds donated in his memory.”
The Notre Dame Club of Chicago will be working with underserved mothers who are pregnant or have recently had a child. In conjunction with St. Bernard Hospital in inner-city Chicago, the club will work to educate and assist mothers during the crucial times of their pregnancies and the early years of raising their children, reducing infant mortality and creating a network of support.
The Notre Dame Club of Dallas plans to focus on victims of domestic violence along with a local organization, The Family Place. The club plans to develop a number of projects such as care kits, site improvements and food and linen drives. The overall goal is to further the outreach of caring for families affected by violence, especially as they transition from abusive situations to points of recovery.
The Notre Dame Club of Los Angeles seeks to aid women experiencing homelessness or abusive situations. The club’s strategy is to provide networking, skills training and job opportunities as women rebuild their lives and help their children. Hosting a number of events throughout the year, the club hopes to develop best practices that can be shared across the clubs network.
The Notre Dame Club of St. Louis aims to serve disadvantaged youth in need of additional educational access. The club plans to work with Claver House, a local organization that normally works with Notre Dame students through the Center for Social Concerns Summer Service Learning Program. The club and the students will eventually offer transportation, mentorship and educational opportunities to at-risk youth in the area.
The five clubs earning honorable mentions will perform a diverse array of projects that include outreach to those with disabilities, expectant mothers and babies, and those lacking food, educational or medical access.
Celebrating its 152nd year in 2020, the Notre Dame Alumni Association furthers the University’s mission of faith, learning and service by facilitating more meaningful, lifelong relationships within the global Notre Dame family.
For more information, visit my.nd.edu.
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