ACCESS 38th Anniversary Dinner Recap

By IMG_0744Houmam Saker

“We are going to make it!” These were the words of Senator Debbie Stabenow that were met with thunderous applause at ACCESS’ 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 evening’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 ACCESS’ ability to face the region’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 who’s who of Michigan-area leadership, including Michigan Chief Operating Officer Dan Krichbaum, Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly, and Deputy Wayne County Executive Azzam Elder.

IMG_0754Louisiana Congressman Charles W. Boustany received ACCESS’ Arab American of the Year award and offered words of hope for the economy and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow was honored with the “Making an Impact” 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 Salem’s outstanding academic record and his commitment to the Arab American community.  The evening’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 ACCESS’ 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.


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