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New Orleans, LA

2010 Director’s Community Leadership Awards

New Orleans Sister Mary Lou Specha
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In New Orleans, Sister Mary Lou Specha works with at-risk youth at Café Reconcile, a non profit organization committed to stopping the generational cycle of poverty, violence, and neglect by providing life skills and job training programs.

Since 2000, Café Reconcile has graduated more than 500 youth between the ages of 16 and 22 from the nine-week program, empowering them to successfully enter the workforce.

As executive director, Sister Mary Lou Specha offers culinary arts training to more than 90 young people a year. Many of these youth come from a background of extreme poverty and horrific violence. In addition to helping students finish high school (more than 90 percent of Café Reconcile participants are high school dropouts), the program also teaches financial literacy, parenting, communication, and conflict resolution skills.

By encouraging personal growth, workforce development, and entrepreneurship, Café Reconcile works to place its graduates with local restaurants, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Roosevelt Hotel, Tulane University, and Oschner Hospitals.

After students graduate, their progress is tracked for four months. Café Reconcile has found that more than 60 percent of students successfully work for the entire period.

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FBI Director Recognizes
Distinguished Community Leaders
DCLA 2010

In a ceremony at FBI Headquarters, Director Robert S. Mueller, III recognized the recipients of the 2010 Director’s Community Leadership Award. These leaders, selected by their area FBI field office, have demonstrated outstanding contributions to their local communities through service. The FBI is grateful for the work of each of these individuals and organizations on behalf of their communities.

“Whatever the motivation—an unfilled need, a tragic occurrence, a desire to give back—these are people who make things happen and enlist others in their cause,” said Director Mueller. “They are activists who have earned their prestige through good works.”

Recipients of the 2010 Director’s Community Leadership Award include:

- Albany
- Albuquerque
- Anchorage
- Atlanta
- Baltimore
- Birmingham
- Boston
- Buffalo
- Charlotte
- Chicago
- Cincinnati
- Cleveland
- Columbia
- Dallas
- Denver
- Detroit
- El Paso
- Honolulu
- Houston
- Indianapolis
- Jackson
- Jacksonville
- Kansas City
- Knoxville
- Little Rock
- Los Angeles
- Louisville
- Memphis

- Milwaukee
- Minneapolis
- Mobile
New Haven
- New Orleans
- New York
- Newark
- Norfolk

- Oklahoma City
- Omaha
- Philadelphia
- Phoenix
- Pittsburgh
- Portland
- Richmond
- Sacramento
- Salt Lake City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Juan
- Seattle
- Springfield
- St. Louis
- Tampa
- Washington Field
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