â€œWe are going to make it!â€ These were the words of Senator Debbie Stabenow that were met with thunderous applause at ACCESSâ€™ 38th Anniversary Dinner.
Over 2,000 people came out to the Marriott in the Detroit Renaissance Center to celebrate the Dearborn-based human services organization on Saturday, May 2nd. The event brought together members of the community along with over 200 public officials for an evening filled with comedy, commemoration, and a message of optimism for the future.
Gerald Smith, Comcast Area Director of Corporate Affairs, longstanding ACCESS board member and the eveningâ€™s emcee welcomed guests with news of successful ACCESS-led programs and events. He noted the organization had reached an annual client contact level of 900,000, which translates into 29 client contacts every three minutes! Board President Andrea Awada-Zeaiter reiterated ACCESSâ€™ ability to face the regionâ€™s economic challenges with resilience, citing its use of innovative programming, the dedication of its staff, and its commitment to youth. Also on the program was a whoâ€™s who of Michigan-area leadership, including Michigan Chief Operating Officer Dan Krichbaum, Dearborn Mayor John B. Oâ€™Reilly, and Deputy Wayne County Executive Azzam Elder.
Louisiana Congressman Charles W. Boustany received ACCESSâ€™ Arab American of the Year award and offered words of hope for the economy and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow was honored with the â€œMaking an Impactâ€ award for her long-standing service to Michigan and the nation. Finally, student Eric Salem received the first-ever Russell J. Ebeid ACCESS Scholarship. Mr. Ebeid himself presented the award, noting Salemâ€™s outstanding academic record and his commitment to the Arab American community. The eveningâ€™s entertainment was provided by rising comedian Mo Amer and the program concluded with a performance by saxophonist Kamal Khalil.
The Dinner, which was co-sponsored by Comerica Bank and the Chrysler Foundation, was a striking reflection of ACCESSâ€™ success in garnering support from community partners, local and national organizations, government, businesses and corporations, for the purpose of providing much-needed services to the community.