The positive came in the form of information. The neighborhood group puts on forums at Beardsley Park. Several times a year, they'll hold sessions on issues like health, education, and employment. It's a way to teach the children living nearby.
"It's very necessary for them to know there are a ton of different resource to gain employment and education," said Howell.
And that initiative has caught the City of Champaign's attention. It's also earned Mary and the group the city's STAR award. It's an honor given to those who've made a difference in their community.
"I'm always surprised by the level of commitment by our neighborhood leaders," said John Ruffin with the city.
And that commitment for Howell and her group goes beyond the award.
"It means a lot to know that you can do so little and get so much from those kids' perspective," said Howell.
The City of Champaign is looking for nominees for this year's STAR awards. If you know someone deserving of recognition, click here for more details.