2021 HOPE & CIT Award Winners Announced!

The HOPE and CIT award winners were announced by the Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR) team.

StarkMHAR’s mission is to support wellness and recovery through innovation in funding, collaboration, education and advocacy in our community.  They are a multi-faceted county behavioral health board made up of expert professionals, volunteers and community leaders empowered by the State of Ohio to plan, develop, fund, manage and evaluate community-based mental health and addiction services.

Each year StarkMHAR accepts nominations for hard-working Stark County individuals or groups who are striving to positively impact the community in regards to prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery from mental illness or substance abuse.  June 24, 2021 the most recent honorees were awarded these deserving HOPE and CIT awards.

HOPE & CIT Award

HOPE Award

This annual award honors 5 people and organizations who are making strides and influence change to advance behavioral health in Stark County.  Click here to see last year’s 2020 honorees.

  1. Community Champion (Advocates for Stark County adults, youth & families in recovery, while exceeding expectations to advance the welfare of their clients):
  2. Advocate of the Year (Awarded to community volunteer who has made a significant positive impact in Stark County helping amplify community efforts in prevention, intervention, treatment or recovery from mental illness or substance abuse, and decreasing social stigma in seeking help):
    • Ashley Wood
  3. Young Advocate of the Year (Nominee of this award is a community volunteer making a positive impact in Stark County in assisting efforts in prevention, intervention, treatment or recovery from mental illness or substance abuse while decreasing social stigma in seeking help):
    • Brenna Walker
  4. Professional of the Year (Exceptional professionals who excel in their area of expertise and exemplify compassion, kindness, and hope for those in recovery and affiliated with StarkMHAR Care Network):
    • Julie Oster Priebe 
  5. Innovation Award (Presented to one who stands out for their creativity and innovation in managing obstacles and changes for people and families in recovery in Stark County):

Crisis Intervention Team CIT 


These honor people who are advancing best practice in encounters involving those who may be struggling with substance use and/or a mental illness.

  1. CIT Officer of the Year: Chad Carruthers
  2. CIT Champion of the Year: Todd Gillilan

Executive director of StarmMHAR, John Allen said, “As mental health concerns emerge from the pandemic, these individuals will no doubt play key roles in guiding our community forward.  And I hope they might inspire others to do some of this same work as they’re able, even if it’s just a commitment to check in with someone you know every day. Little things like that count.”

Awards were presented at a virtual board of directors meeting on June 24.

Information and photos of the honorees will be shared on StarkMHAR’s .

Be sure to check out their Safe Home 2021 videos just released on youtube


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Mrs. TAZ



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