Monday, April 06

Brookdale Newsroom

30th Annual Wilbur Ray Community Service Award Winners

Steven Craig Bogard

Craig Bogard and his wife Lynn Ann grew up in New Mexico and attended Eastern New Mexico University. In his senior year of college, Craig was deeply influenced by the writings of British author and Cambridge Professor C.S. Lewis and decided to change his major from pre-medicine to religious studies. He graduated with summa cum laude honors in 1971. Lynn Ann graduated the same year with honors, earning a degree in elementary education.

After graduation the Bogards moved to New Jersey for a one-year commitment at Camp Shiloh, a practical Christian ministry to urban children at risk throughout the greater New York City area. After serving African-American children in the northeastern corner of Tinton Falls and on Red Bank’s west side, the Bogards transferred to Brooklyn through the summer of 1972.

Their experience with Shiloh impacted the Bogards deeply and set the course for their lives. In February of 1975 they returned to New Jersey to found Aslan Youth Ministries, a nondenominational, holistic ministry to urban, at-risk children with a particular emphasis on the underserved, African American community. Aslan’s relationship-driven programs include Right Choices classes (emphasizing core Christian values, behavior and ethics); remediation tutoring (in mathematics, reading and English); sports; cooking classes; summer camps; Christmas gift programs; mentoring programs and a host of other activities based in the education of the spirit, mind and body.

1996 the Bogards expanded Aslan’s outreach into Haiti. They desired to introduce Aslan children from America to the richness of their African heritage by taking small groups to visit Haiti – a program that continues today. Over the past 18 years, Aslan’s work in Haiti has gradually expanded into a full-time, year-round outreach with 200 Haitian children. In 2003 Aslan purchased six acres of land in a remote section of Haiti along the northeastern border of the Dominican Republic, and Aslan’s first project has been to build a medical center that will serve children and families in great need.

Aslan’s programs in Monmouth County expanded from the Red Bank/Tinton Falls area to Long Branch in 1991 and then into Asbury Park/Neptune in 1999. The group currently serves the needs of more than 150 at-risk children on a year-round basis, providing door-to-door transportation to all Aslan activities. With a staff of only five, Aslan benefits from the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who serve as teachers, tutors, office workers, bus and van drivers, teacher assistants, chaperones, Haiti workers, summer camp workers, board members and in countless other ways.

In recognition of Aslan’s work, President George H. W. Bush chose Aslan from among over 15,000 nominees as one of his 1,000 Presidential Points of Light. Aslan was also honored by former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as a recipient of six years of funding through her New Jersey Faith-Based Initiative.

Craig continues to serve as the Executive Director of Aslan, and Lynn Ann serves as the International Program Director. Craig was ordained as a pastor in 1978. The Bogards hope that the Aslan ministry will outlive them and continue to be a beacon of light and hope for at-risk children for many years to come.

Each and every day, we are called upon to leave the 99 to find the 1,” said the Bogards. “The heart of each individual child is always most important.”

Daniel A. Harris III

Daniel A. Harris III attended Ridge Avenue School and was part of the first integrated class to attend Neptune Intermediate School in the mid-1960’s. As a child, Mr. Harris accepted the leadership responsibilities that came with being the oldest of his four siblings. Balancing baseball, football, basketball and the Shoreliners Marching Band, Mr. Harris also began working in his father’s auto body repair shop at the age of 11, for $5 a week. He would continue working until his retirement at age 61.

Mr. Harris attended Monmouth College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1974 and an MBA in 1978. Later he received his teaching certificate and supervisor’s certification from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. While in college, Mr. Harris operated his own auto body repair shop with his brother Timothy before accepting a vocational teaching position at the Edison Job Corps Center. He finished his career in education as the attendance officer and athletic director at Newark Tech – Essex County Vocational Technical School – in June 2012.

With Mr. Harris as athletic director, the school won five NJSIAA State Group I Track championships, one NJSIAA Group II Basketball championship, three Essex County Track titles and numerous sectional and vocational titles in various sports. He says he took the most pride, however, in the countless young people who earned athletic scholarships to a wide range of colleges and universities as a result of their performance at Newark Tech.

Mr. Harris accepted Christ at the age of 12, and was soon after baptized at Second Baptist Church in Asbury Park by Rev. Alfred L. Pugh. There he participated in the youth choir, Baptist Youth Fellowship, Boy Scout Troop 37 and the church basketball team.

Later he became a member of the men’s chorus, the mixed choir, and the men’s ministry; all of which he still participates in. Presently he is chairman of the Men’s Ministry and a member of the Deacon Board, and he still enjoys singing duets with his sister Velda in the mixed choir.

Some of his achievements as chairman of the Men’s Ministry include bringing the Honorable Baruti Kafele to speak for Black History Month and sponsoring family trips to Faith. Mr. Harris serves on the Christian Education Committee and teaches Wednesday noon bible study in the pastor’s absence. On many occasions he has brought in Asbury Park Board of Education members and Asbury Park city developers to speak with the congregation on issues affecting the parishioners and the neighborhood.

Mr. Harris is a member of the Asbury Park/Neptune NAACP, Asbury Park Community Action Network, Asbury Park Diversity Group, the neighborhood watch association and serves on the Asbury Park Zoning Board. One of his proudest achievements was coaching in the Neptune Biddy Basketball League, leading him team to a state championship and a 3-2 record in the national tournament.

He and his wife Emily have been married for more than 32 years. They have one daughter, Nicolle Danielle Harris. He credits his unwavering belief in God to his parents, who brought him into Second Baptist Church as a child. He attributes his humility to serve to his mother and his desire to succeed against all odds to his father.

“One must believe that courage is not the absence of fear, but the acceptance of fear and the will to go on,” he said.

Tyrone K. Laws

Tyrone Laws is an artist, actor, playwright, community and cultural activist and public speaker with more than 30 years of experience. He resides in Lake Como with his wife, Valerie.

He has committed his life work to “Teaching the Children the Truth” and fostering the creation of a middle class from the indigenous and largely indigent populations. He understands the need for “creating communities of choice,” “one person, one family and one neighborhood at a time.”

Mr. Laws is a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Presbyterian Church of Neptune, where he serves as an elder and clerk of session. He is the current vice chair of the Stop the Violence Action Committee in Asbury Park, and was an active member of the Asbury Park Civic Participation Project (APCPP) and the Monmouth County Leadership Dialogue.

As chairman of the APCPP’s voter education committee, Mr. Laws was chosen as a panelist on the Strivers Panel at Harvard University for the 2005 “Tribute to the Blackman” Program sponsored by the Black Women of Harvard University. He is also the founder and director of Kwest for Truth – a multicultural, “edu-tainment” performance group specializing in civic, corporate and educational presentations to community members of all ages. Utilizing historical theatrical classroom presentations based on current curriculum called “Snapshots in Time,” Kwest for Truth also provides a wide range of cultural workshops, lessons and interactive demonstrations.

Mr. Laws received theater training at Rutgers University under a number of notable teachers including Bernard Johnson and Avery Brooks. He has been active in Monmouth County’s Dunbar Repertory Company where his stage credits include 19 years as Malcolm X in Jeff Stetson’s, “The Meeting”; Luke in James Baldwin’s “Amen Corner”; and co-playwright and co-director of “For Black Women Only.”

Mr. Laws is also the former executive director of the West Side Community Center in Asbury Park, former director of the Asbury Park Job Training Center, and former executive director of the Center of Love, Inc. As a community volunteer, he has served as a charter member of the Belmar/South Belmar Human Relations Commission, and a member of the Monmouth County 4H Executive Committee and the Long Branch NAACP, among other organizations. Mr. Laws has also volunteered as a juvenile mentor with the superior court of Monmouth County.

Phyllis Ledbetter

Ms. Ledbetter has worked with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) for more than 12 years, providing community information and support services in the greater Asbury Park area. She served as a peer outreach coordinator and the manager of HIV outreach services with the VNA for six years. In 2008 Ms. Ledbetter was named director of the Asbury Park High School SPOT, a school-based youth services program.

She helped to design and build the program, which provided support to area youth in both their academic pursuits and personal growth goals. She has served as a role model and mentor for students in grades 9 – 12, providing them with a safe place to learn, a chance to discover new interests and to become aware of the greater world around them. Ms. Ledbetter has worked with Brookdale Community College and other colleges and workforce development programs throughout the region to highlight the achievements of graduating AP high school students and college readiness programs for underclassmen.

During the summer of 2014, Ms. Ledbetter collaborated with Brookdale to ensure the success of the College Readiness Now Summer Camp. It was through her efforts that several Asbury Park High School students had the opportunity to take advantage of a positive and productive program.

Throughout her years as a community outreach professional and as an educator, Ms. Ledbetter has continued to champion the positive development of local youth youth. Through her passion and commitment, she has played an instrumental part in connecting the young people of Asbury Park to positive opportunities, building their self-esteem and helping them to realize their potential both in the classroom and in the community.

Franklyn M. Rother

Franklyn M. Rother began his human services and social justice career in 1963, and participated in the integration of public facilities in the St. Louis metropolitan area in 1964. He worked with the Boy’s Clubs of America in Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO from 1967 to 1970. In the early 1970’s he worked with street gangs and drug addicts at the Bronx River Neighborhood Center, a settlement house in New York City. Rother was then hired by Brooklyn College-CUNY as a counselor for students working in the social services sector who were returning to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Rother went on to serve in a wide range of positions including director of student tuition resources, college bursar and lecturer of human development in the Graduate School of Education-Guidance and Counseling Program. Upon completing his doctoral coursework at Teacher’s College-Columbia University in 1980, Rother was hired as a full-time faculty member at the College for Human Services, now Metropolitan College of New York, where he is now an adjunct in the MPA-public affairs and administration program. He was awarded the 2009 Crystal Award for his college and community service.

In 1984, Rother joined Brookdale Community College as a full-time instructor in psychology and coordinator of the human services program. He currently serves as dean of the college’s social sciences and education division and retains his status as professor of psychology/human services. He received Brookdale’s Outstanding Faculty Member award in 1995. Rother co-edited the text “Human Services: Contemporary Issues and Trends,” which became the first human services text translated into Japanese. He presented a lecture series on the history and scope of the human service profession in May, 2006 at Kanagawa University of Human Services, Japan.

Rother co-authored Brookdale’s successful grant application for the MetLife-funded Roadmap Project through the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). He has lead the development of two Early College Academies; one private and one public high school in Monmouth County that opened in the fall of 2014. He served on the board of directors of the Center in Asbury Park, an HIV/AIDS residential and day service program, and he is the current interim president and member of the executive committee of the board of directors for the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS).

Rother has served as president and treasurer of the Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Human Services (MACHS) and president, vice president for regional development and treasurer of NOHS. He was awarded the Miriam Clubok Award for his long-time service and leadership in the organization. Throughout his more than forty years of experience in higher education, Rother has provided leadership at many levels in the national and regional human services movement.

Pauline Smith

Pauline Smith is known as a a compassionate role model, activist and community leader who has accomplished an extraordinary amount in her 88 years. A native of Carbondale, West Virginia, Mrs. Smith was married to her husband Richard for 66 years until his death in 2011. Together they had five children, nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and five foster children. Mrs. Smith also sponsored a child in Nairobi, Kenya through the Christian Children’s Fund, Inc.

She graduated from Simmons High School in Montgomery, West Virginia and came to New Jersey in 1953, where she immediately joined Pilgrim Baptist Church. There Mrs. Smith has helped the church purchase it’s current facility on Shrewsbury Avenue and served as chairperson of its scholarship committee, a member of the morning choir, president of the Missionary Ministry and the Willing Workers Ministry, a member of the Sunday School Ministry, Deaf Ministry, Secret Sisters Ministry, Marriage Ministry, Women’s Fellowship Ministry, Prayer and Bible Class Ministry, Bereavement Ministry, advisor to the Ruth Ministry, and chairperson of the Pastor’s Aid Ministry. Mrs. Smith has also run Pilgrim Baptist’s famed Vacation Bible School for the last 31 years.

In the 1960’s Mrs. Smith worked as an Avon Products representative in the greater Red Bank area, where she would often encounter local families in distress – children with nothing to eat or no coats during the winter, homes without heat, families unable to afford their rent or medical prescriptions.

She mobilized a donor network including the churches of the Westside Ministerium to deliver food, electricity, heat, rent or mortgage funds to those who needed it. To this day Mrs. Smith remains a resource to families in need. She maintains a pantry and fully stocked freezer in her basement in addition to the philanthropic connections she has maintained since the 1960’s.

Mrs. Smith also spent years working on the midnight shift as a certified nurse assistant at Riverview Medical Center, where she continues to visit and pray with the sick and elderly. She is an active member of the Seacoast Missionary Baptist Association and serves as chairperson of the field workers department, co-chair of worship and a member of the booklet committee.

Mrs. Smith has volunteered with a wide variety of other community boards and organizations since the 1960’s, including the Monmouth County Cotillion Committee, where she has worked on programs that have awarded over $1 million to local college-bound students. She also volunteers at Lunch Break in Red Bank, is a member of the NAACP’s Church Women United and serves as a trustee working to preserve the historic White Ridge Cemetery in Eatontown.

Her awards include the Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc; and the Certificate of Excellence from the Seacoast Missionary Baptist Association.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Smith has battled through multiple surgeries and two bouts with breast cancer. Through it all, she leaned on her faith in God and gave strength and inspiration to others. She could often be found counseling other patients, elevating their faith and praying with them during her waits for oncology appointments. She serves as an invaluable source of inspiration and hope to many.

Olivia W. Sparks

Olivia W. Sparks is the widow of the late Casby Sparks Sr. and the mother of four adult children. A Manalapan resident for more than 50 years, Mrs. Sparks attended the Byrman Business School in New Brunswick and worked as a human service technician for the State of New Jersey at the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital for 38 years.

More than forty years ago, Mrs. Sparks joined the Old Ship Yard of Zion Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Phillip Faison, where she served as a Sunday school teacher and sang in the senior choir. In 2001 she founded the Phillip Faison Scholarship Fund to help the young people of the church pursue a college education. Now president of the scholarship fund, Mrs. Sparks works in partnership with the church and the community to reach out to local youth and encourage them reach their fullest potential.

Mrs. Sparks is also a strong community advocate. She serves on an advisory committee for Manalapan Township and formerly worked as a library assistant at Milford Brook School and a switchboard operator at Clarks Mills School. She once successfully petitioned the township to install a new street light by volunteering her time and money to send out 135 certified letters to the members of her community.

Mrs. Sparks is also a certified home health aide, a dental assistant and has even attended fire prevention school. She cared for many of the members of her congregation in their homes when they became ill.

“On behalf of Pastor Q. Smith and the entire Old Ship of Zion Missionary Baptist Family, we salute you on your endeavors to keep moving on. May God bless You Always.”

Dr. Webster Trammell

Dr. Webster Trammell worked in educational administration since 1969, when he accepted the position of assistant director of student activities at Monmouth College six months before graduation. By 1974 he had been promoted to director of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at Monmouth College, which at the time was ranked at the bottom of all EOF programs in the state. Within only a few years, the program improved so dramatically that the New Jersey State EOF Board of Directors held it up as an exemplary model for other colleges to emulate.

In the summer of 1978 Dr. Trammell accepted the position of EOF director at Brookdale Community College. Facing issues similar to those he had encountered at Monmouth College, he succeeded in bringing the Brookdale program up to the same level of excellence. In 1984, Dr. Trammell was appointed as the college’s research and development officer, serving as a member of the president’s staff. He was subsequently appointed as vice president for development, community and governmental relations, the position he would hold with distinction until he retired in 2014.

Dr. Trammell earned a master of sciences degree in student personnel services from Monmouth College in 1973, and a doctorate in psychology from Rutgers University in 1985. He holds a New Jersey state teaching certificate and is a certified school psychologist.

Dr. Trammell is a member of several professional and community organizations, serving as past chairman of the Monmouth County United Way board of directors, the Monmouth Family Health Center Corporation board of directors and the board of trustees of Monmouth Medical Center. He has also served on the board of directors of SCAN.

He serves as a member of the legislative affairs and governance committees of the New Jersey Hospital Association, was elected in 2010 to the regional policy board of the American Hospital Association, and is an associate board member of the Jersey Coast chapter of the American Red Cross and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He is a former board member of the Monmouth/Ocean Development Council, the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and the Monmouth County Workforce Investment Board. Dr. Trammell also served as the chairman of the Monmouth County Urban League board of directors, and is currently is board member of the Two River Theater Company and the First-Tee of Ocean & Monmouth Counties.

For two years Dr. Trammell coordinated the Strategic Development Plan for the City of Asbury Park, working with a wide range of stakeholders to create a plan that was accepted by the governor’s Urban Coordinating Council.

Dr. Trammel has received several awards in recognition of his professional and community service including numerous honors from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate. Notable awards include the 1997 Big Brothers/Big Sisters Volunteer of the Year Award; the 1998 Monmouth/Ocean Development Council Silver Gull Award for Community Service; and the 2010 Greater Long Branch NAACP Community Achievement Award.

Dr. Trammell is the Vice President of Beikoku Karate-Do Goyukai, holding an 8th degree black belt and having trained in the martial arts for 44 years. He was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 1998.

Dr. Trammell has made over 100 presentations at conferences and workshops, written chapters for two books and has consulted for several colleges, universities and non-profits. He resides in Middletown with his wife Kathleen Moran Trammell. The Trammells have three children: Ian, Heather and Emily. His daughter Heather and son-in-law, Captain Craig Grindle (USMC) have blessed him with two grandsons, Llewelyn and Evan.


PHOTO CAPTION (clockwise from top left): Tyrone Laws, Daniel Harris III, Steven Craig Bogard, Dr. Webster Trammell, Phyllis Ledbetter, Pauline Smith, Olivia Sparks, and Franklyn Rother were honored during the 30th annual Wilbur Ray Scholarship Dinner in West Long Branch on March 13.