15th Annual REACH Awards Ceremony

15th Annual REACH Awards Ceremony

The SINA REACH Awards Ceremony is an opportunity to acknowledge and see the amazing people that make Hartford a great place to live and work. This year’s 15th Annual REACH Awards Ceremony was held virtually on Thursday, June 24th. Below is the live recording of the event.


Click here to download the program book.

Ivan A. Backer Scholarship
The SINA / Ivan A. Backer Scholarship program was established in 1997 in honor of Ivan Backer, who served as executive director and founder of SINA for nearly 20 years. The recipients are selected based on service to the community, school, family, and academic achievement. The scholarship program consists of 3 awards of $4,000 ($1,000 per year for 4 years) to Bulkeley High School seniors continuing their education at an accredited 4-year post-secondary program.

  • Marilexis Abreu
  • Samantha Fonseca
  • Alimeline Irankunda

SINA Student Support Scholarship
The SINA Student Support Scholarship program has awarded over $14,400 to 29 students since 2012. The purpose of the program is to provide much-needed financial support to students who are attending Capital Community College (CCC). This year four scholarships were awarded in the combined amount of $2,000 to full or part-time students, who reside in the 06106 or 06114 zip codes, and who have completed at least one semester of study.

  • Axcel Diaz –  Psychology
  • Felecia Ferrigon – Nursing
  • Khalil K. Howe – Computer Science Studies
  • Hanny Solange Gutierez Tovar – General Studies

Kelly Styles STEM Scholarship
Kelly Styles is the former Senior VP, Chief Information Officer at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. His passion is to support young people going into a career pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Kelly retired from Connecticut Children’s in June 2020, and as a tribute to him, generous individuals of the Connecticut Children’s Information Solutions department donated the funds to create the Kelly Styles S.T.E.M. Scholarship. The scholarship provides a deserving graduating senior with $3,000 to continue their education in a post-secondary program related to STEM.

The 2021 Kelly Styles S.T.E.M. scholarship recipient is Saskia Linton, Bulkeley High School.

Neighborhood Service Award
The Neighborhood Service Awards recognize individuals in the community who have made outstanding contributions to Hartford neighborhoods.

  • Jordan Dikegoros, J’s Restaurant
  • Lt. Jesus P. Lopez, Hartford Fire Department
  • Graciela Rivera, Hartford Public Library

Stephen Balcanoff Award
The Stephen Balcanoff award was formerly known as the SINA institutional award. Each year SINA gives out an institutional award that recognizes and honors an employee from one of our three institutions: Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, and Trinity College. In addition to being valued and excellent contributors at their positions, the recipient of the award goes above and beyond the call of duty and contributes significantly to the betterment of the Hartford neighborhoods.

In 2020, SINA  decided to rename the institutional award the Stephen Balcanoff Award in honor of the many years that Steve contributed to the Hartford community, and in particular, to the residents of Frog Hollow. Until his recent retirement, Steve was a highly valued member of the staff at Connecticut Children’s, serving in a variety of roles that always connected him to the greater Hartford community.

The 2021 Stephen Balcanoff Award goes to Hartford Hospital employee Carmen Vidot.


Masters of Ceremonies

Ryan Calhoun
SINA REACH Committee Chair &
Senior Director for Strategy and Network Development
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Ariel Pino
Manager, Guest Services Department
Hartford Hospital


Jane Baird
SINA Board Chair &
Director of Government Relations at
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Melvyn Colón
Executive Director
Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance

Bimal Patel
Hartford Hospital

Awards Presentation

Ivan A. Backer Scholarship
Presented By:
– Nancy Mendez, Hartford Public Library
– Cynthia Mena, Trinity College
– Kerri Zimmerman, Connecticut Children’s

Kelly Styles S.T.E.M Scholarship
Presented By: Phil Hopkins, Connecticut Children’s

SINA Student Support Scholarship
Presented By: Ana Marie Basche, Capital Community College

Neighborhood Service Award
Presented By:
– Rob O’Connor, Thomas W. Raftery Inc.
– Edward Casares, Former Chief of Hartford Fire Department
–  Ana Alfaro, Eversource & El Show de Analeh

Stephen Balcanoff Award
Presented By: Mary Diaz-Raymond, Hartford Hospital

Closing Remark