Dora George strives to keep her family, other people and communities thriving. She has been honored for all three efforts. A recipient of a master’s degree in criminal justice in 1980, George has worked in social services more than 30 years. She is a therapist at The Crossroads Center in Cincinnati, where she was honored in 2007 with the Dr. Gunter Grupp Clinician Excellence Award for her work with people suffering mental health problems and other issues.
Besides her full-time job, George volunteers on three community service projects in the Madisonville neighborhood. She helps organize job fairs, links ex-offenders with church mentors and works with juvenile court to help first-time, non-violent offenders. In 2007 she was presented the Nefertiti Award by The Cincinnati Herald newspaper for outstanding community service. In 2008, George and her family received the Family of the Year Award at the Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion.
“Caring for people has always been something that just seems to come naturally to me,” she says. “A lot of it is based on my upbringing as a child in a household where values were instilled in me.” George’s professional background is a combination of work in social service, criminal justice and mental health. “All of them go hand in hand in my work,” she says. George facilitates a 10-person mental health group three hours a day, five days a week. “It can be chaotic,” she says, but it also can produce success stories.
“One client I had was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he had been in the system awhile and lost contact with his family,” says George. “While he was in treatment, his dad in Baltimore located him in our program. We worked to get him to Baltimore to live with his father and his family. We always want broken families reunified. And this particular breakthrough was significant because this client hadn’t had any contact with his dad for more than 10 years.”
George has also conquered challenges in her personal life, as symbolized by the Family of the Year Award. “I am a divorced mother with two daughters and two granddaughters,” she says. “The award came about because one of my daughters wrote about all the things I do. It’s important for me to model appropriate behavior in my household for my daughters and granddaughters. I show them a good work ethic, I make sure I know the people they’re seeing and the places they’re going, and I help them find the love of God.”