CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Not On My Watch organization hosted the Backbone of the Black Home Awards in Champaign.

The organization’s goal is to create positive change through mentorship, after-school programs, and financial literacy. Teachers, first responders, and local leaders were recognized for their dedication to serving others.

Several women were given flowers and a plaque for their hard work. One of them is Shana Calhoun. She’s a special education teacher and JV girls’ basketball coach at Rantoul Township High School.

“It really feels amazing, especially hearing all of their accomplishments,” Calhoun said. “I’m completely honored to be in a room full of black women that have done so much for the community.”

Calhoun said awards aren’t why she serves, but seeing other women recognized keeps her going.

“I know I can do a lot more just hearing everything that they’ve accomplished. I feel very positive, I can affect more people in the community,” Calhoun said.

Linda Turnbell was another recipient of the Black Home Awards. She also received an honorary doctorate degree from NOMW. She’s held many titles such as a foster parent, community liaison, a VISTA volunteer, and Champaign Housing Authority Commissioner. Turnbell said decades of being an educator and local leader has taught her how to lift up the people around her.

“It takes a forest to move people and kids,” Turnbell said. “So, you have to be there for them and aid them in their success, aid them in their talents. That way, that makes them feel self-worth.”

Other award winners said it feels great to be highlighted for the work they’ve done. They hope events like this inspire more Black women to want to do more for their communities.