NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the fifth consecutive year, Allstate Insurance Company is honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through Allstate Give Back Day, a program that encourages individuals across the country to volunteer. As part of the program, Allstate is recognizing four selfless African American heroes who dedicate their time and efforts to making a positive impact in their communities, not only on MLK Day, but throughout the year.
Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, who founded Kamp Kizzy in Atlanta to help empower the spirits of young girls, has partnered with Allstate to help launch this year's program and announce the 2013 class of Give Back Day Heroes. This year's heroes, who were nominated for recognition by their peers, include: Freedom Wright, from Atlanta; Jackie Lomax, from Chicago; Joseph Cole, from Nashville; and Margaret Dixon, from Oakland, Calif. Pulliam and the Give Back Day Heroes will join Allstate employees and agency owners to participate in service projects in their home cities on MLK Day, Jan. 21, 2013.
"Allstate places a high value on volunteerism, which is why the Give Back Day program has been so near and dear to our hearts the past five years," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate. "Our agency owners and employees across the country know the importance of giving back to the communities we call home. This year's Allstate Give Back Day heroes have inspiring stories that reflect the values and causes important to Allstate and we hope this program continues to encourage individuals to make a difference in their own communities on MLK Day and throughout the year."
These remarkable heroes help to create positive, sustainable change in their communities with a focus on addressing important causes such as education, diversity advocacy, disadvantaged youth, and teens in foster care. On behalf of the Give Back Day Heroes, Allstate is making a donation of $2,500 to a charity of each hero's choice. As part of their award, the heroes will also attend The King Center's "Salute to Greatness" Awards gala in Atlanta on Jan. 19, 2013. The ceremony serves as a special celebration to honor both Dr. King and the outstanding individuals and corporations who have demonstrated a commitment to service and leadership.
"I am humbled by the opportunity to be aligned with this group of outstanding men and women who have put so much time and energy into making a difference in their communities," said Pulliam. "It is truly an honor to be part of a program like Allstate Give Back Day that keeps Dr. King's legacy alive and at work every day. Volunteering in my community has always been an important pillar in my life and I am excited to partner with Allstate for the Give Back Day program."
Individuals interested in participating in Allstate Give Back Day 2013 in their own communities can visit www.allstate.com/GiveBackDay to find local volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch, an online search engine which promotes volunteerism and civic engagement by matching volunteers with charitable organizations and non-profits. The website also hosts the profiles of each of the Give Back Day Heroes, including exclusive video interviews with each hero on their community involvement and the driving forces behind their dedication to service.
2013 Allstate Give Back Day Heroes
Joseph Cole, Nashville – As a young student at Overton High School, Nashville native Joseph Cole dreamed of working in the construction industry. His involvement in Nashville's ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Mentor program throughout high school inspired Cole to earn his degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee. During his time there, he also earned the Chancellor's Gene Mitchell Gray Pioneer Award for improving diversity throughout the campus, and was instrumental in reactivating a National Organization of Minority Architecture Students chapter. Cole was also active in INROADS, an organization established to develop and place talented underserved youth in business and industry. Upon graduation, Cole landed a position with Thomas, Miller and Partners in Brentwood, Tenn. He now serves as a mentor at ACE and continues to work towards increasing diversity in his industry while serving as a role model for students of all backgrounds who are interested in architecture.
Margaret Dixon, Oakland – Margaret Dixon is a retired police officer from the Oakland Police Department after serving 25 years in the department in her hometown. Currently, Dixon is an instructor in the Administration of Justice program at Merritt College. In addition to teaching, Dixon is the Oakland Police Activities League (PAL) board president, a non-profit program that serves at-risk boys and girls in Oakland by providing afterschool activities and various sports opportunities. Dixon spends countless hours volunteering to create positive and safe programs for Oakland's youth. She has served as head coach of the Oakland PAL track team, which she also founded. The PAL track team has allowed hundreds of Oakland youth to travel beyond the city limits, a first-time experience for many kids in her program. Every year, more than 100 boys and girls, ages 5-18 years old, register to run for PAL, and many of those boys and girls continue running in high school and college. Dixon has had the opportunity to guide several of her athletes to receive college athletic scholarships.
Jackie Lomax, Chicago – Chicago native Jackie Lomax is the founder of Girls 4 Science (G4S), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping 10-18-year-old girls of minority descent in the Chicago area learn, appreciate and develop a lifelong interest in science, education and careers. Inspired by her daughter who dreamed of becoming a dentist but didn't have the resources to achieve her dream, Lomax created an environment that would make math and science more accessible to underserved girls by offering field trips, scholarships, mentoring and hands-on learning. Lomax's hope is that through G4S, the only all-girls math and science program in Chicago, girls will no longer be left behind in the fields of science and technology due to lack of money or resources. To date, almost 300 girls have participated in the program. Her passion for helping underserved communities continues with the Chicago Roseland Development Coalition, where she serves as a board member and career counselor.
Freedom Wright, Atlanta – A former foster child, Freedom Wright, is a high school senior from Atlanta who knows what it means to wonder how she will get her next meal or clothes. That's one reason why the 17-year-old, who was adopted at the age of four, decided to help other children living in the foster care system by holding "Free Your Mind" backpack drives benefitting foster children in her area. Wright's goal is to not only raise awareness of older children living in foster care, but also to encourage Atlanta's youth to volunteer. To help further this effort, Wright also speaks to community groups about the foster care experience. Wright has earned the Presidential Service Award the past four years for her efforts as a regular volunteer at The Atlanta Community Food Bank, The Atlanta Fulton County Library and St. Francis Table, a soup kitchen in Atlanta that feeds the homeless.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names. Widely known by its slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®," Allstate offers insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $28 million in 2011 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.