Roanoke City announces 2021 Neighborhood Partnership Awards winners

At the Monday, April 5, 2021 Roanoke City Council meeting, City officials recognized the winners of the 2021 Neighborhood Partnership Awards Program, honoring the outstanding contributions, excellence, and accomplishments achieved by neighborhood organizations and civic individuals who have partnered with City departments, schools, nonprofits, businesses, institutions, and others.

Nominees were evaluated on their ability to: Make physical and/or social improvements to our neighborhoods, connect neighbors and/or neighborhoods with one another, and/or build the capacity of their neighborhood organization to better serve our community.

Xavier Duckett

The Neighborhood All-Star Award — This year’s award is presented to Humble Hustle.  Xavier Duckett, founder of the Humble Hustle Company, uses his creativity and passion to fund community initiatives to teach love and foster hope within the community.  In 2020, Xavier and the Humble Hustle Company led a large community event that touched all quadrants of the City titled “Chalk Up the City with Love.”  This event was created in response to the experiences of social injustice as a way to spread love and positivity.  People from all background participated in sharing a unified message of love.  Xavier and the Humble Hustle community initiatives exemplifies the hustler spirit and humble mentality through serving others.  Humble Hustle Clothing Company was founded by Xavier in 2015 – it began as a simple idea that would fund the programs and initiatives of the non-profit organization.  Since then this team has helped host events such as Pretty Humble, a girls entrepreneurship program that helps provide scholarships for young girls; Humble Hikes exposing inner city youth to life-changing hikes and opportunities and they also provided 750 backpacks filled with school supplies and coats to underprivileged youth in our community.  In response to COVID19, the Humble Eats project was formed where they collaborated with local restaurants to provide over 525 meals to youth and their families.

The Neighborhood Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award — This year’s recipient is Jordan Bell. Jordan is a millennial, father, historian, mentor, camp director and neighborhood activist.  He is a member of Gainsborough Southwest Neighborhood Organization.  On Juneteenth 2020, he led a walking tour group of over 100 community members from all over Roanoke; spanning diverse backgrounds and multiple generations. The tour included homes, properties and businesses on Patton Avenue, North Jefferson Street, Gilmer Avenue, Henry Street and Wells Avenue.  He also showed courageous leadership through the Black Lives Matter, NAACP and social justice protests, art projects and marches. Jordan inspires people from all races and backgrounds within the City of Roanoke to get involved in issues that affect members of our Black Community. During COVID19 Jordan bought the vacant Barlow House on Gilmer Avenue and has been restoring it with the help of family and friends. His passion is recording the oral and written history of elders within the Gainsboro community. Jordan feels that it is his job and duty to educate future generations on Black History just as his elders and ancestors educated him.  He spends most of his time influencing and educating youth in the city because he says, “Our youth will change this city so we want to inspire them to do that in the process.”

The following is a list of awards and their winners: Neighborhood City Partnership Award: Tonya Pickett; Neighborhood Community Partnership Award: The Kiwanis Club of Roanoke; Neighborhood Improvement Award: The Southeast Plawkers; Neighborhood Youth Volunteer Award: Lynessa Yi; Neighborhood Communications Award: “Roanoke Moms Survive Corona” (Facebook Group); Neighborhood Unsung Hero Award: Kat Pascal and Jimmy Delgado; and Neighborhood Arts Award: The Urban Arts Project.

For more information about the Neighborhood Partnership Awards Program, contact the Office of Community Engagement at communityengagement@roanokeva.gov.