Niles principal receives United Way award

The principal of Northside Child Development Center in Niles was recognized last week for his efforts in making a measurable difference in Berrien and Cass Counties.

Zech Hoyt received the “Excellence in Impact” award from the United Way of Southwest Michigan during the organization’s annual celebration and awards dinner Thursday.

Hoyt said the award means that the work he and others are doing for the community, providers and children is working.

“It is important to understand that this award recognizes the great work happening and it is not about recognizing me,” he said.

According to a description of the award, it is given to a person or organization who displays a spirit of collaboration, a willingness to take risks and who is working toward United Way’s goals in education, income, health and basic needs.

As a leader within the Niles Community Schools district, Hoyt said he has been given an opportunity to get to know the great people in Berrien County that create programs for and serve children, specifically from ages 0 to 5.

Some of these individuals and groups, he said, consist of the Great Start Collaborative, United Way, Berrien Community Foundation, Niles Community Schools, Child Care Resource Center (CCR), Berrien RESA, Northside’s teachers/trainers/coordinators and many other individuals.

“Most importantly we have a great group of child care providers that come together monthly to learn their trade,” he said.

Hoyt said if we are to shape our communities and their futures, we all must continue to ask the question: Why not?

“By asking this question means you will be a catalyst for something great,” he said. “As the catalyst for something great you will bring passion and commitment that will also have a lasting impact on our community.”

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