The creators of three successful local nonprofits received the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal from President Obama during a ceremony today in the White House East Room. From AP, with links added:
- Judith Broder of Studio City for creating The Soldiers Project in 2004 to provide mental health services to service members, their families and returning veterans. Broder's program tries to lessen the disruption caused by repeat deployments, ease the transition and reintegration after deployment, and reduce suffering related to post-traumatic stress syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, domestic violence and depression.
- John Keaveney of Los Angeles for creating New Directions, a home for homeless and disabled veterans who have addiction and mental health problems. A Vietnam combat veteran, Keaveney overcame personal struggles of his own to turn his life around in the 1980s.
- Margaret Martin of Los Angeles for the Harmony Project, which she began in 2001 to provide free instruments and music lessons to children in some of the most underserved, gang-ridden areas of the city. She got the idea after watching gang members stop at a Hollywood market to listen to a child playing classical music on a violin.