2023 Sneaker Ball Award Recipients

COF 3rd Annual Sneaker Ball Save the Date Flier
Change Our Future is proud to honor the recipients of our 2023 Changing Lives and Game Changers Awards.

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Ayanna Dickerson-Bell

2023 Changing Lives Award Recipient

Sneaker Ball 2023 COF Game Changer Award recipient Ayanna Dickerson-BellAyanna Dickerson-Bell is a proud native of Camden, NJ and a 2006 honors graduate form the Camden Creative Arts & Performing High School. Ayanna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Rutgers University School of Business and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling in an Educational Setting from Rowan University. At a young age, the willingness to give back to her community was instilled in her. Her parents are the founders of the Unity Community Center of South Jersey Inc, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of the community and helping at risk youth in Camden city and the surrounding Delaware Valley area for the past 40 years.

In her current role at Camden’s Big Picture Learning Academy, Mrs. Dickerson -Bell works extensively with students through her role as a crisis counselor. She is a certified crisis counselor with over 10 years of experience working in the mental health field. She specializes in counseling high school aged students who are struggling with a range of mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. In addition, she works with students on goals setting and post-graduation plans. Ayanna is committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for her students, where they can explore their emotions and work towards building a more fulfilling life. She uses evidence-based therapeutic approaches and takes an integrative approach to support, tailoring her methods to meet each students’ unique needs. Throughout her career, Ayanna has helped countless scholars and their families navigate difficult life transitions, strengthen their relationships, and develop effective coping skills. She is passionate about helping young people achieve their goals and find joy and meaning in their high school experience and beyond.

Ayanna is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and Board member for the Daelight Foundation, a foundation that was founded to help the inner-city community raise awareness on suicide and prevention for teenagers.

Outside of work, Ayanna is married to Andrew T Bell Sr, and they collectively have three school aged children Zoe 14, Jaleel 14 and Andrew Jr 12.

DeForio Barlow

2023 Changing Lives Award Recipient

Sneaker Ball 2023 COF Game Changer Award recipient Defario BarlowDeForio T. Barlow, grew up in North Philadelphia. He graduated from Roman Catholic High School and received an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where he graduated with BA in English and African American Studies. He has two Master’s degrees; a MEd in Education and a MS in Educational Administration, both from Cheyney University. He also has professional certifications in Coping Skills and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention from Columbia University.

DeForio began his professional career in 1987 at Community College of Philadelphia. He began as a GED/ABE instructor where he taught and tutored hundreds of students who were able to successfully pass their GED test and matriculate into CCP to take college level courses, gain employment, or enroll in a trade school or apprenticeship program. As a GED instructor, students who took his class had a 96% pass rate.

After two years, an administrative position became available. He was hired as the ABLE Grant Administrator where he worked closely with Community College partners, specifically CareerLink and other small businesses. In this position, he was able to successfully assist 150 students, per semester, with training and employment opportunities. Currently, DeForio is responsible for college-wide testing which includes the College placement test, Credit by Exam, Kaplan Nursing Exam, and CLEP testing. He also works as a part-time Adjunct faculty member teaching English. He serves as a mentor for young men in the College’s Center for Male Engagement. DeForio was a judge for five seasons on CCPTV’s Emmy Nominated “Drop The Mic” spoken word competition.

DeForio is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., He is the Chapter Advisor and mentor to the Omega Delta Delta Chapter located on the campus of Temple University. He has been the advisor for the past 20 years and has organized community service and social action events such as block clean ups, smoke detector installation, PPE giveaways during the COVID pandemic, MLK Day of Service, annual Manhood Monday program where they give away 100 plus free suits and haircuts to the male students and employees who are in need, annual Women’s Appreciation night where professional salon services are offered to the women on campus, feed the homeless in conjunction with Jai iz DOPE, Turkey giveaways for underserved families surrounding Temple University, promoting breast cancer awareness each October, mental health workshops, Gift of Life organ donation partnership, annual Valentine’s Day bake sale, back to school Back Pack Drive where they gave away 100 back backs filled with school supplies, voter registration events, study hall, and countless other community service activities and initiatives for families surrounding Temple University. DeForio won the Undergraduate Chapter Advisor of the Year award in 2019 and 2023 for his outstanding commitment to the undergraduate chapter and his administrative compliance with the university.

From 1996 to 2009, while working at CCP, DeForio worked at WDAS Radio as a producer for MID-DAY gospel show, as well as a Programming and Promotions Assistant. He has also worked as a Master’s Level Clinician providing therapy and clinical supervision to hundreds adjudicated youth, re-entry felons, children, and teens. He worked tirelessly to ensure that all clients received the appropriate services, medical care, and other resources they needed.

From 1996 to 1998, DeForio also worked at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, (PCOM), as the Coordinator for Minority Recruitment. There, he developed and implemented strategies for recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities, created a Primary Scholars Program and Medical Explorers Program, and served as faculty advisor and mentor to all underrepresented minority students. In 1997, he received the Mentor of the Year Award from the Student National Medical Association, (SNMA), for all of his efforts and concerns that focused on the needs of black medical students.

DeForio has been committed to mentorship and educating and serving our youth for over two decades and will continue to support initiatives that foster uplifting his community. He is a “LOW KEY” foodie, food critic, interior decorator, a Self-Proclaimed Broadway Aficionado, and an all–around nice guy.


Senator Vincent. J Hughes

2023 Game Changer Award Recipient

Sneaker Ball 2023 COF Game Changer Award recipient Senator Vincent Hughes Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent J. Hughes is a leading progressive voice on local, state, and national issues. His colleagues elected him to be the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2010 and he continues to bring proactive leadership to that role.

Senator Hughes has served the commonwealth as a member of the Senate for more than 20 years. He was first elected to represent the 7th Senatorial District in 1994, previously serving as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1987 to 1994. He was chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus from 1991 to 1994.

As a key member of the Senate’s Democratic leadership team, Sen. Hughes is a champion for major policy issues such as expanding health insurance for the uninsured, raising the minimum wage, defending the right to vote, fighting for increased funding for public education, expanding housing options for working and low-income residents, and investing in young people.

As Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Hughes holds a major role in developing Pennsylvania’s annual budget, carefully guiding the state’s spending priorities. This year, Sen. Hughes fought for – and achieved – historic investments in education, public safety programs, and housing.

He is also a member of Cheyney University’s Council of Trustees. He and his family established the James Hughes Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of his late father, which has awarded more than $1 million in college scholarships to talented students who have overcome challenges and want to make a positive difference in the world.

The senator has been recognized locally and nationally for his work on HIV/AIDS, as well as his efforts to raise awareness on the challenges of mental and behavioral health in the African American community.

Sen. Hughes is extremely dedicated to the progress of his district, which is made up of parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is a member of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and is supported by his loving wife, Emmy award-winning actress, entertainer, and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, and their blended family of four children.

Dr. Melanie Jackson

2023 Game Changer Award Recipient

Dr Melanie Jackson Headshot image Dr. Melanie L. Jackson is a native of Philadelphia, PA and graduated with honors from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She graduated with cum laude honors from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

Dr. Jackson served her residency in internal medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and completed her gastroenterology fellowship at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. Additional postgraduate training included a hepatology research program at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. She has been in private practice at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates in Annapolis, MD for over 15 years. She has a special interest in women’s digestive health, colon cancer screening and awareness, and liver disease.

Dr. Jackson is affiliated with the American Gastroenterology Association, American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the National Medical Association. She is board certified in gastroenterology and a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology (FACG). She has published several papers regarding digestive care and has appeared on local television and radio as a digestive health expert. She has participated at numerous health fairs as a guest speaker and panelist in her community.

Dr. Jackson has always had an interest in real estate which increased when she and her twin brother inherited properties from their late father, Dr. Melvin L. Jackson in 2012. In 2019, Dr. Jackson and her best friend of over 30 yrs. formed the 29 Pearls Investments, LLC which is a Philadelphia based real estate investing company. She started the sister company in Maryland which has now been rebranded as Maryland Pearls Investments, LLC. Philadelphia and Baltimore are two cities that are near and dear to her heart. She has extensive ties to both areas and is passionate about being a part to the revitalization that is occurring in both cities. She plans to provide quality and affordable homes that will improve the communities that have molded her into the woman that she has become.

Dr. Jackson is a member of Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Prince George’s County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Smart Set, and First Baptist Church of Glenarden. She is currently a board member of the Morgan State University Foundation Board and serves as the Chair on Committee of Directors. Dr. Jackson learned since childhood from the actions of her mother and father about giving back to the community and philanthropy. Dr. Jackson and her twin brother, Melvin II have created an endowed scholarship in honor of their mother and father at their beloved Alma Mater, Morgan State University.

Malcolm Jenkins

2023 Game Changer Award Recipient

Malcolm Jenkins is an entrepreneur, media personality, executive producer, published author, racial justice advocate and philanthropist. Jenkins established himself as one of the NFL’s all-time great defensive leaders, winning Super Bowl championships in New Orleans and Philadelphia as well as three Pro Bowl honors during his stellar 13-year NFL career.

In 2018, Jenkins co-founded Listen Up Media, a new production company with the mission to showcase and distribute content that creates social awareness around systemic issues in society, drives meaningful conversation and results in a call to action. The first two projects: BLACK BOYS and a new docuseries about the wealth gap in America.

In June 2020, CNN announced that Jenkins would join the network as a Contributor, becoming the first professional athlete in any sportto do so as an active player. Jenkins appears regularly on THE SITUATION ROOM with WOLF BLITZER and CNN Tonight with DON LEMON among other special programming.

In 2020, Jenkins’ Listen Up Media co-directed and produced the ESPY’s segment on Black Lives Matter and an ESPN SC FEATURED, “The Education of Malcolm Jenkins”, SportsCenter’s award-winning storytelling series.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

2023 Game Changer Award Recipient

Sneaker Ball 2023 COF Game Changer Award recipient Sheryl Lee Ralph

Bio Coming Soon

Dr. David E. Thomas

2023 Game Changer Award Recipient

Bio Coming Soon

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