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The 2nd annual Aroni Awards continued to channel the spirit of Aron Haile with its message of inspiration and hope. Celebrities such as Farley Flex, “Cabbie” Richards, Divine Brown and Jay Martin all came out to support outstanding youth who embody the spirit of Aron in their lives.

This year, the Aroni’s acknowledged not only the recipients but also the individuals who helped to support their dreams. In fact, each recipient’s success story had many positive influences in their daily lives. Entrepreneurship Award recipient,  Zaki Tafari of the Young Urban Professionals attributes his success in part to finding the right people; individuals on a similar path who were willing to give back to their community. Zaki also credits the responsibility and respect entrusted in him (as a camp counselor) from an early age in keeping him on the right path.

Arts award winner Luwam Thomas expressed a similar sentiment and goes one step further in crediting the entire Eritrean community as an integral part in her ongoing success.

In speaking to many of the award winners, they all agreed that a coach, family member or community member’s un-wavering support gave each of them the opportunity to reach out to his/her community in a positive way.

Event organizer, Mesfun Haile, is encouraged by the community’s response as well as its continued support. He promises to expand the Aroni awards next year. According to Mesfun, “{quotes}the goal is to make the Aroni’s a two day event with a workshop and career fair{/quotes}, to not only recognize successful individuals but to also impact many more lives.”

Mesfun and his family are concerned about the consistent negative imagery within our community and see the Aroni awards as an effort to balance these images. Organizers hope that the community will continue to support this effort in order to provide more bursaries and hopefully inspire many more for years to come.

Other Award recipients for the evening included:
Danny Fee- Sports Award
Keegan Allen- Inspire Award
Agapi Gessesse- Bursary Award
Babakayode Fatoba- Bursary Award
Fanieal Abraha- Bursary Award
Danavan Samuels- Community
Manifesto Organization- Culture

For more information visit www.aroniawards.com

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