“Teresa has always been a lead educator in our community, very involved in our community and a major role in workforce development. One of the greatest things about Teresa is that she is so kind. Her kindness flows into all aspects of her life and for most of her career has been supporting issues very close to United Way. She organizes, motivates and brings major results,” says Teresa’s nominator, Dennis Saunier.
She has donated her volunteer time to many projects: Faith United Methodist Church’s soup kitchen; contacting school districts, colleges and libraries to see which families needed hotspots to access remote learning and delivered them; Great Start for Great Futures; promoting mentoring programs for our youth; writing grants to support trauma-informed care and preventive social-emotional healing practices; lending her talents and skills to support community organizations; leading conversations to dismantle racism in our community; or advancing college and career readiness to ensure access and equity in the business and educational community. Her leadership activities, membership on boards/committees, and service awards & honors include: Artful Living and Learning; Ashland University Telesis Committee ; Aultman College; Aultman Student Ambassador Advisory Committee; Bridge Point Community Outreach; Canton Local School District Strategic Planning; Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors, Education Committee); Children’s Network of Stark County; David Foundation/Massillon Preschool Design Team; Faith Kitchen Outreach; Faith United Methodist Church – Stephen Ministries; Great Start for Great Futures Coalition; iCARE Team Advisory Board; Malone University President’s Advisory Committee; Ohio Department of Education State Literacy Team; Osnaburg Local School District Strategic Planning; Stark County Educational Service Center; Stark Economic Development Board; State Support Team Region 9; Strengthening Stark Governance Committee; United Way of Greater Stark County Project Blueprint advisor and Education Impact Council member; Walsh University Literacy Advisory Committee.
Dennis says “A lifetime resident of Stark County, Dr. Purses is a woman of action. Her purpose is to extend equity and quality of life for everyone through innovation and solving problems. Dr. Purses is a visionary who leads by example in her personal and professional roles. She is a servant-leader, enriching the lives of individuals, building better organizations and creating a more just and caring world. Through unwavering commitment to equity and opportunity, she empowers others to think beyond themselves so that the rising tide will carry all boats. With a tireless work ethic, Dr. Purses sees the success of individuals and community as interlocking and strives for the betterment of our society through collaboration and compassion.”
Gold Key Service Award was established by United Way of Greater Stark County in 1961 to recognize individuals who have continually demonstrated the highest degree of personal dedication and service in a voluntary capacity. Their contribution of time and talent supports United Way’s efforts in the areas of health, education and financial stability.