Each year we give away awards to three outstanding members of the LCLC community: Emerging Leader, Partner in Justice, and Outstanding Employee. We're excited to announce this year's recipients below...

Partner in Justice Awardees

Lawndale Christian Legal Center's Partner in Justice Award is presented to extraordinary individuals who demonstrate commitment and passion to pursuing justice, equity, and opportunity for young people. These remarkable individuals understand the collective responsibility we all share to live in ways that shape our society to be more open, equitable, and accessible for all of our youth. Our Partners in Justice lean into the moral arc of the universe described by Dr. King to ensure that it bends toward justice. 

Congratulations to:

Rodney D. Brown

Rodney Brown serves as a Executive Director/CEO of New Covenant Community Development Corporation (NCCDC). NCCDC is a business development center where we offer classes and one on advising for start up and existing businesses. He is also a Co-Founder and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) and Chair of the Economic Development Committee. He is the Exec Director of the North Lawndale Chamber of Commerce.

LCCC Rodney headshot _edited.jpg
Yolanda Headshot.jpeg

Congratulations to:

Yolanda Fields

Yolanda Fields is the Executive Director of Breakthrough and a committed non-profit and community leader. In her 20-year career with the East Garfield Park-based organization, Yolanda has led all of Breakthrough’s adult programs, which includes housing, homeless services, violence prevention, workforce development, behavioral health, and food access programs. Yolanda has walked alongside those experiencing homelessness and crisis, and her compassionate leadership has created a culture of dignity and respect for all.

Congratulations to:

Adam M. Alonso, MSW

Since his arrival at BUILD in March 2015, Adam has catalyzed dramatic growth of BUILD's programs, community leadership role, and impact. By rapidly developing and launching new initiatives—including the Block 51 Arts Academy, BUILDing Girls 2 Women program, expanded behavioral and mental health services, and comprehensive trauma-informed community services for victims of violence, Alonso has led a transformation that has more than tripled BUILD's budget and staff, positioned the agency for long-term sustainability, launched a capital campaign to quadruple the physical space of the organization and serve more youth and families, and substantially increased visibility as BUILD reaches the half-century mark serving youth and families in some of Chicago’s most challenged communities.

Adam - BUILD Color.jpg

Congratulations to:

Matt DeMateo

Matt began serving as a pastor full-time with New Life Community Church in 2006. For years, Matt has overseen all of the community development efforts in Little Village and helped build and grow the non-profit New Life Centers of Chicagoland. In 2013, Matt became the Executive Director of New Life Centers ( What started as a small group of volunteers has now grown to 70 staff and hundreds of volunteers walking with and loving on young people in Chicago.

Emerging Leader Award

This award goes to a current or previous Lawndale Christian Legal Center client who has demonstrated exceptional progress in self-development. Our Annual Emerging Leader Award is given to an LCLC youth who models leadership, courage, and success. Every year, we are challenged to select one youth out of many that are leading by example and striving to improve not only their life, but our community as well.

Congratulations to:

Deshawn Nelson

Deshawn Nelson - with van.jpg

Outstanding Staff of the Year Awardees

This award goes to a Lawndale Christian Legal Center staff member who excels in service, either directly or indirectly, to the youth with whom we work. They are a true champion of our mission and values. They demonstrate excellence in team-based approaches, have a strong work ethic, possess a positive attitude, adapt to change, and have a high integrity, accountability and self-motivation. 

Congratulations to:

Napolean English - Outreach Worker

Laura Hardwicke - Attorney


Tomas Ramirez - Circle Keeper


Heather Saunders - Case Manager

Heather Saunders headshot.jpg
Tomas Ramirez Headshot.png