In honor of the founder's father, the Leon David Simmons Award is bestowed upon extraordinary family caregivers of the ill, disabled, and elderly during the Annual Caregivers Award Gala. This event is held in celebration of National Family Caregivers’ Month. COME has recognized over two hundred family caregivers from the Bronx to as far as Columbia, South Carolina. Caregivers are nominated by their physicians, pastors, co-workers, employers, families, and friends.
The first luncheon was held on November 19, 2007, at the Dreiser Loop Auditorium in Co-op City. The event was sponsored by AARP Peachtree Chapter 4997, Bronx, New York. Jacqueline Cherry was recognized as a family caregiver for her father.
Leon David Simmons Award History
The 2022 Leon David Simmons Gala Nominees
November is National Family Caregivers Month. Caregiver Outreach Mentorship Empowerment Inc. (COME) has worked tirelessly for the past 16 years to honor family caregivers who continuously sacrifice to care for a sick, elderly, or disabled individual. Caregivers, adults, and youth have been drastically impacted by COVID and require our support and services more than ever. The sudden impact of the pandemic forced everyone to reevaluate life, value health, and extend charity. Caregivers found themselves without home care, educational support, and childcare, as well as reduced access to medical services and financial hardship. Some caregivers lost their jobs due to the stay-at-home order, and others lost their jobs due to no support in caring for their loved ones, among the chaos of dealing with the everyday struggles of family caregiving. Caregivers faced increased trauma, and more individuals reported significant mental health concerns, including depression, suicidal ideations, and mental fatigue.
For the past sixteen years, COME has held an Annual Family Caregivers Gala, where we gave these extraordinary family caregivers from the community the Leon David Simmons Award in recognition of their selfless work caring for loved ones. Due to the COVID pandemic, like many, we’ve had to reimagine our Annual Gala, and for the past four years, the gala has been virtual. We are excited to be returning back to a venue for our 2023 Annual Caregivers Gala. We continue to let family caregivers know that they are not alone and that COME is here to support them throughout this journey of caring.