Email. Voice Mail. U.S. Mail. Text Mail. Twitter. Facebook. I get what in reality is probably too much mail - especially when I try to track it all. Here's a couple reasons why I am glad I do:

Dear Michael,

Human Dignity Award recipient Dr. Dorothy L. W. Smith with event chair Dee Sanford.I will be sending you and the Jackie Robinson YMCA Board a formal letter; however, I just want to thank you for awarding me the Human Dignity Award. It is truly a special award, and I am extremely honored to have received it. What a surprising and thrilling moment! I do not see how so many people knew and yet I had no inkling. T. Ford told me that you had informed her, and my AKA sorors brought flowers, so they must have known too. It is so true, though a cliche, that words cannot express the gratitude that is in my heart for being honored in such a manner.

Congratulations to you on a superb event. Because of your efforts, this event is the "go to" event, one which no one wants to miss--and one which all of those in leadership positions in our city and county would not dare miss! I know that Dr. King looks down on the Human Dignity Award Breakfast and smiles broadly, because visualizing an audience such as this was such an important part of his dream and his work.

You and your organization are truly a class act! I am proud to support you and your mission in every way that I can.

Warmest regards and deep appreciation,

Dorothy L. W. Smith



Dear Michael,

Let me express my abject apologies to you and the good people at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in San Diego for my unconscionably tardy response to your many kindnesses during my recent visit with you around the occasion of the 26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Dignity Awards breakfast that the Y sponsored on Friday, January 14th, 2011. I will assure you that my grandmother, mother, father and countless relations taught me better manners, and all would be rolling over in their graves to think that I have taken so long to thank each of you for your kindnesses to me. I remember my mother and my grandmother also saying to me "Mousie [that's my nickname], people don't have to be nice to you, which is all the more reason why you should always thank them for their kindnesses."

I did so much enjoy my days with you, meeting many of those people in the community who care so much about San Diego, persons who are fervently and faithfully involved with children, youth and other vulnerable members of society there. You were so gracious taking me to lunch, to dinner and meeting my every need, particularly because I continued to have some negative reactions to an earlier hernia surgery.

Most of all I want to thank you for exposing me to San Diego, giving me the two or three hour tour of the city, and mainly allowing me to meet its many faceted people and to be inspired by their efforts to make the city a more amenable, welcoming, and more caring place for all of its people. I think that Dr. King and my idol, Mr. Jackie Robinson, would be pleased with the work of the YMCA under your leadership and proud of your determination to provide the young people under your charge at the Y every opportunity for hope, inspiration and success.

My time with all of you was just what I needed - an occasion when I was enveloped by love, appreciation, care and affirmation. Please extend my profound gratitude to all.

Go well, stay well, and always be encouraged.

Rev. Calvin S. Morris, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Community Renewal Society
332 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 673-3834



In this era of 140 character messages, it is indeed refreshing to receive wonderful messages like these from two History Makers. Dr. Dorothy L. W. Smith was the recipient of the Human Dignity Award on January 14 at the YMCA of San Diego County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. Rev. Calvin S. Morris, Ph.D. was our keynote speaker at our 26th annual event.

Successful people do what others never get around to. They also understand that for most people appreciation is the greatest gift you can give and receive.

Pay it forward!

Go here for PHOTOS and VIDEO from the 26th Annual YMCA of San Diego County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Dignity Award Breakfast.