Shelley was truly honored and humbled to receive the Damen Award from Loyola University at their Founders' Dinner. This award recognizes the qualities of leadership in industry, leadership in community and service to others. The event celebrates those who have used their education for the common good and have accomplished great things in the field of service. Shelley was honored for her passionate work in generating crucial support for orphaned and needy children in Ghana.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center chose Shelley Nizynski Reese as the recipient of their inaugural Power of One Award. Shelley has exemplified the Power of One through her humanitarian mission to provide opportunities to children in need. Through the establishment of two non-profit organizations, one in Ghana called the Midian Education Support and the other in the U. S. called A Better Life for Kids, deaf children who are often shunned in Ghanaian society now attend a school that teaches them proper sign language, and orphanages in Ghana receive food, medicine, and other essential supplies, as well as receive mentoring and tutoring. A school teacher, Shelley has also galvanized the students at McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois to reach beyond their community and help their fellow students in Ghana.
The Museum presented Shelley Nizynski Reese with the award on March 6th, 2012. Executive Director Rich Hirschhaut said, "The Power of One Award is a recognition of someone who makes a difference in the world for the good and pays it forward, motivating and inspiring others. This award was created in an effort to demonstrate in a very tangible and visible way how one voice has the ability to change the future, just as it has changed thousands of people's lives in the past. Shelley is the ideal example of how one person can make a difference in the world." Shelley accepted the award at the Illinois Holocaust Museum's annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner in Chicago.
McCracken students sing, leap for Ghana