2012 Individual Champion
After Cynthia Byrd’s youngest son, Brandon, died in an automobile accident she turned her grief into an effort to meet the needs of other people’s children through a philosophy that she calls “Remembering Through Giving.” A single mother working two jobs, Byrd started with a school supply drive at Seven Oaks Elementary School that garnered more than 3,000 school supply items and raised $1,000 to purchase new books. She then embarked on a mission to honor her son’s memory by soliciting more than 500 individual, small gifts for Richland County Public Library. To address a need in the community for family-centered events, she organizes an annual fashion and talent show to engage African-American youth by focusing on their strengths. In addition, she has established a college scholarship fund in her son’s memory that has enabled 10 college freshmen since 2011 to receive scholarships.