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Published on May 24, 2012

Two CKHS Employees Recognized at NAACP Awards Dinner

Crozer-Keystone Health System employees Myrna Russi and Janet Riley-Ford were honored by the Chester branch of the NAACP at the organization's 102nd anniversary awards dinner on April 27. The organization annually honors people who make a positive impact on the community.

Russi is the Community Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator for Women and Children's Health Services and is also coordinator (and founder) of the Hispanic Resource Center at Community Hospital. Ford is the director of the Chester Youth Collaborative, part of the Crozer-Keystone Wellness Center based at Community Hospital.

Both women have lived in the Chester area a majority of their lives. Both spend lots of their time making connections with different organizations in the community to encourage partnership and opportunities with the people of the city of Chester for further development.

"I was extremely honored to have received the Louis G. Brown Freedom Award in appreciation for my community service. In the 17 years that I have worked for Crozer-Keystone Health System, I have had the pleasure of working with great colleagues and internal and external partners who have assisted me throughout the years," Russi says. "I really enjoy the work that I do and I take great pride in helping the community where I work and live in Delaware County."

The Crozer-Keystone Women and Children's Health Services department includes free programs to help families acquire the support, education and tools they need to raise healthy, happy children. The department includes Crozer-Keystone Healthy Start, a free program for pregnant women, parents, families and caregivers of children under two years of age who are residents of several Delaware County municipalities, including Chester. The program, funded by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, helps decrease infant mortality and increase prenatal care and childhood immunizations in the community.

The mission of the Hispanic Resource Center is to assist the Hispanic community in Chester and Delaware Counties to obtain and learn more about resources available to them. The center is open every Wednesday only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Community Hospital (610-497-7308 for information). Crozer-Keystone Nurse-Family Partnership and Cribs for Kids programs also benefit from Russi’s outreach efforts.

"The best thing about my job is being able to assist people in obtaining services that they thought they couldn't receive. I am able to remove barriers and help people obtain benefits that they are entitled to receive. I also enjoy being able to find solutions to some of our client's problems and/or concerns. I have the opportunity to connect people to doctors or clinics to get access to healthcare services and other social service agencies," Russi says. 

The Chester Youth Collaborative (CYC) was launched in 2005 with a start-up grant from the William Penn Foundation. The CYC serves a dual role as the largest initiative of the Crozer Wellness Center, and the official Youth Development Resource for the City of Chester. The CYC's mission is to foster a neighborhood-based youth development network that improves the quality of life for youth between the ages of 12 and 22 in the city of Chester by increasing the quality, quantity and duration of the out-of -school time programs that serve them.

The CYC has grown to include more than 70 partners; provided more than 1000 hours of training and technical assistance to Chester-based organizations; and served more than 5,000 Chester youth since its inception. The CYC's structure includes four councils that have specific and varied responsibilities to advance the mission of the Collaborative.  The CYC is consistently viewed as the "go to" organization in the city of Chester, due to its demonstrated ability to convene, connect, sustain, and measure the success of organizations.

Riley-Ford says that she was truly humbled to receive the NAACP's President's Award for exemplary leadership and community service. She finds inspiration for all she does in the community from her mother, who had "a firm belief in servant leadership, knowing that the collective community will only succeed if we lead by example and work collaboratively."

Riley-Ford adds, "This NAACP award was one of the most rewarding experiences of her career because the principles on which the NAACP was founded are essentially the same standards by which the Chester Youth Collaborative operates, promoting educational, social, civic, and economic success for all youth in the city of Chester"

Russi can be contacted at (610) 497-7344 or Riley-Ford can be reached at (610) 497-7422 or

For more information about the Chester branch of the NAACP, visit

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