*(OAKLAND, CA) – Eve Lynne Robinson, an Oakland-based artist, former celebrity photographer and the author of the Ella B Jenkins children’s book series was recently honored by CBS 5 KPIX TV with the Jefferson Award for her years of community service.
The Jefferson Award honors community and public service in America.
“I was pretty speechless, quite surprised and still am,” said Robinson upon learning she would receive the award.
Robinson, who was diagnosed with agoraphobia 15 years ago, was given the award locally through CBS 5 for founding the nonprofit Sankofa Holistic Healing Institute (SHHI). She launched the organization in 1996 and wrote a companion Healing Journal: Baby Steps to Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Panic, Anxiety and Depression” in 1999 to help thousands of women and children who, like herself, battle anxiety and depression. Her vision, said Robinson, is to develop an institution to promote healing in the midst of some of the poorest and most troubled neighborhoods in Oakland.
“It’s pretty unbelievable to win an award for doing work in my community,” said Robinson. “It’s an honor. I started Sankofa because I wanted to help people. I know what they are going through. Everyone doesn’t have access to the resources they need to get better. Sankofa is about healing.”
Since 1996, Robinson, who hosts Halloween parties and even had Oakland Mayor Jean Quan attend one of her Easter egg hunts, has expanded the organization to include food, clothing and bicycle distribution to low-income neighbors in her East Oakland neighborhood.
The Halloween parties, Easter egg hunts and a summer lunch program are supported by donations from Just Desserts, Sees Candy, Starbucks Coffee, District 5 Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, The City of Oakland and Trips For Kids (a bike donation program).
The Sankofa Institute receives donations from Feed The Need, a group located in San Francisco that receives donations from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Peets Coffee. The food donations are distributed to families in the Mission District on Friday mornings.
Clothing donations are received from the Oakland Fire department, Wal-Mart, the Oakland Raiders, the Warriors, Cliff Bar and several Bay Area families.
Recently, Robinson started writing a children’s book series, featuring a 7-year-old African American girl named Ella B. Jenkins. The book series, which targets African American girls, includes Ella B. Jenkins Meets President Barack Obama (which was the second choice for recommended books for children for Black History Month by AOL Shopping. (The first choice was “Of Thee I Sing,” written by President Barack Obama). The second in the five-book series is Ella B. Jenkins Meets First Lady Michelle Obama, scheduled for publication later this summer.
Robinson said she wrote the series as a way to empower young African American girls. Ella B. Jenkins’ message is “feeling good about yourself.”
Lynne created the Ella B. Jenkins (www.ellabjenkins.com) series three years ago with the hope that teachers would buy the books for their classrooms and use the tome as a teaching tool.
“Ella’s mission is to get children to have fun reading and to become engaged in issues that affect them and their friends,” said Robinson.
Originally from Los Angeles, in 2009, Lynne, who boasts a multi-layered background, established the Ella B. Jenkins Project in Nairobi, Kenya. More than 100 women living in the Kenyan bush are hand-beading the mischievous seven-year-old Ella B. Jenkins image on hand-made leather bags, necklaces, bracelets, and key chains. The proceeds from this project assist women in gaining self-sufficiency, purchasing clean water, clothing and medication, while learning the English alphabet.
After receiving the Ella B Jenkins Meets President Barack Obama book, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent Robinson a letter calling the story exceptionally fascinating and the character an excellent role model.
Robinson’s story was featured on CBS 5 Eyewitness News and KCBS all news 740 AM and FM 106.9.
Eve Lynne Robinson is available for interviews.