VANTAGE Aging’s SOAR Awards Nominees and Special Recognitions Announced

VANTAGE will recognize people and places across Ohio that influence positive aging

Akron, Ohio (March 25, 2019)   VANTAGE Aging has announced the nominees for the 3rd annual SOAR Awards on May 2nd, 2019. Corresponding with Older Americans Month, SOAR Awards recognize the people, organizations, and places across Ohio that improve the lives of older adults.

The SOAR Awards were created by VANTAGE in an effort to bring communities together and address the growing need for programs and services that help our aging population. VANTAGE operates six programs in Summit and surrounding counties to support older adults’ desire to age at home. It also manages the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in an additional 37 Ohio counties, which provides paid, on-the-job training to low-income older adults.

“As more people and organizations across Ohio respond to the needs of our aging population, we are excited to announce the 2019 VANTAGE SOAR Award nominees and special recognition recipients,” said VANTAGE CEO Karen Hrdlicka. “The SOAR Awards help to raise awareness about pressing issues facing all of us as we age. This year, we opened the awards up to the entire state of Ohio to further encourage our communities to pursue a state-wide, age-friendly culture.”

The 2019 SOAR Awards will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2018, from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. at The Tangiers in Akron. Outstanding individuals, organizations, and cities will be recognized in three award categories. Special recognition awards will also be presented.

The Joe Ruby Collaboration in Aging Services Award recognizes a group of people or organizations who improved services to older adults through a collaborative effort in Ohio. Nominees include:

  • Frank Gonzalez-Abreu (Care on Demand Network)
  • Green Good Neighbors
  • Julie Carneal (OPEN M)
  • White Pond Villa Community Garden

The Age Friendly City Award honors an Ohio city that works to make their city more age friendly. Nominees include:

  • The City of Columbus
  • The City of Green

The Ed Kaufman Leadership in Aging Award is given to a leader in Ohio who has improved the lives of older adults. Nominees include:

  • Nikolina Karovski (Q92 Radio)
  • Sam McCoy (Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities)
  • Gerard Neugebauer (Mayor of Green)

Many Ohioans have shown dedication, compassion, and generosity to our senior population throughout the year. Help VANTAGE recognize them by sponsoring the 2019 SOAR Awards. Please call 330-253-4597 or visit for more details.

Additional Awards

Additionally, several individuals and originations will receive special recognition awards for their contributions to Ohio’s seniors. The following are recipients of 2019 VANTAGE SOAR Awards.

Summit County ADM Board will receive VANTAGE Aging Partner of the Year for both the partnership that it has forged with VANTAGE Aging and the leadership it has shown in our community. The ADM Board has been addressing drug abuse in our community long before the recent rise in deaths as a result of the opioid epidemic. Through this partnership, VANTAGE and the ADM Board have stood together in an effort to address the behavioral health needs of Summit County.

The Fairmount Mineral Foundation will receive VANTAGE Aging Donor of the Year for its $5,000 donation to GIVE65. In June of 2018, VANTAGE’s Home Wellness Solutions program participated in Home Instead Senior Care Foundation’s GIVE65 campaign, a 65-hour crowd-fundraising event for nonprofits serving seniors. The Fairmount Mineral Foundation’s contribution allowed VANTAGE to demonstrate that the agency had support after significant funding cuts to its Home Wellness program and helped clients avoid losing services. The donation also made VANTAGE eligible for a match donation from Home Instead.

Marc Molea, Chief of Strategic Partnerships at the Ohio Department of Aging, will receive the Positive Aging Award. Historically, Mr. Molea has had a positive impact on VANTAGE, most notably towards the Workforce Solutions program. His efforts at the Ohio Department of Aging have secured funds that support VANTAGE’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in 38 Ohio counties. The result has been in thousands of older adults gaining the skills they need to reach unsubsidized employment and financial independence.

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, who won the Joe Ruby Collaboration in Aging Services Award in 2018, will present at the 2019 VANTAGE SOAR Awards. Tickets and tables are now available and can be purchased online at

SOAR Awards: Thursday, May 2, 2019, 5:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Tangiers Event Center, 532 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44303

Contact VANTAGE Aging with any questions at 330-253-4597 or

VANTAGE Aging provides high-quality programs to empower the economic, social, physical, and mental well-being of adults as they age. Non-medical in-home care is provided by Home Wellness Solutions. Behavioral Health Solutions offers mental health counseling and treatment for alcohol and other drug use issues to adults age 45 and older. Job training for low-income adults age 55 and older is offered through the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Evidenced-based volunteering to meet local and national needs is provided by RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers. Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio provides home-delivered and congregate meals to provide nutritional support to the homebound and disabled. Overall, VANTAGE’s programs come together to offer a path for positive aging. Founded in 1975 as a senior citizen program, VANTAGE has since become an independent, nationally respected organization with offices throughout the state. For more information, call 330.253.4597 or visit

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