At 81 years young, Ms. Sophie Dixon has proven to be a tireless community volunteer, leader, and mentor for her community.
The list is long of Ms. Dixon’s many service projects. “We count it an honor to nominate Ms. Sophie Dixon for her service to the Shiloh community,” said Shiloh resident Norma Baynes. “Under her leadership, the community at large has benefited from the Shiloh Community Association.”
Over the many years of her activism, Sophie Dixon has facilitated scores of meetings of the Shiloh Community Association’s board and public events, including meetings focusing on the E.W. Pearson Collaborative Project. In 2016, the Community Garden Committee partnered with the Project Lighten Up Summer Day Camp to create a mural depicting the historic legacy of the Shiloh Community, which was placed outside the Shiloh AME Zion Baptist Church.
Under Dixon’s leadership, a roadside stand was built in the fall of 2017 at the Shiloh Community Garden, which offers the neighborhood small-scale entrepreneurial opportunities. And, in an intentional effort to build community between generational residents and new residents, she has lately been involved in welcoming new Habitat for Humanity homeowners into the community at their key ceremonies.
In May of this year, Ms. Dixon enlisted Warren Wilson College’s Paul Bobbitt along with alumni of the college to lead a workshop on building a living-roof structure. Neighborhood residents and youths then erected a living roof over a bench, thus creating a shady place for community members to rest—and helping prevent deterioration of the bench beneath it.
“Ms. Dixon is the perfect example of active retirement,” said Ms. Baynes. “She has shown us how you can make a large impact by simply offering your time and talents where you live, work, play and pray.”
This is the third Volunteer of the Year award given by the City of Asheville. In 2017, Mayor Esther Manheimer recognized Steve Mitchell of the Malvern Hills neighborhood as Asheville’s first Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year. In 2018, Renée White of the East End/Valley Street Neighborhood received the award. A panel appointed by the Neighborhood Advisory Committee reviews and evaluates nominations and selects the recipient.
For more information on this award as well as how to register your neighborhood with the City of Asheville, visit the City’s Neighborhood Services webpage located at www.ashevillenc.gov.