Ex-Valley resident workswith foster youths in LA
Erica Kenadie Cobbin, formerly of Youngstown, was honored earlier this month by the Los Angeles group Penny Lane for her work in helping foster youths in that city and county.
Penny Lane, founded in 1969 as a home for teenage girls, provides residential services, on-site school, foster care, counseling and housing programs for more than 1,600 children, youths and families in the Los Angeles County area.
Cobbin is founder and executive director of the Her/She Group, which provides opportunities for foster and group home girls. The group raises funds and awareness for girls emancipated from the foster-care system to successfully transition to adulthood by exposing them to the arts, mentorship and education.
Cobbin is a producer, writer and educator. An honors graduate of The Rayen School, she earned her bachelor's degree from DePauw University in Indiana. She has taught English, Spanish, drama and psychology in Japan and in other urban U.S. cities.
She later took a position with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and began to partner with Los Angeles doctors to educate the black community about heart disease, hypertension, cholesterol and other abnormalities that disproportionately plague blacks, especially black women.
She has produced several projects in Los Angeles with the purpose of empowering women. Recently, she was executive producer of "The Vagina Monologues," directed by Penny Marshall. She has written for "The Arsenio Hall Show" and various shows and programs on Black Entertainment Television.
Cobbin is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. James Cobbin of Redondo Road, Youngstown.
2 earn Eagle awards
Two young men recently earned their Eagle Scout awards, Boy Scouting's highest honor. They are Matthew McKinney and Charles A. Spurr, both of Boardman.
Matthew, son of Robert and Darlene McKinney of Boardman, had his court of honor at St. Michael Church in Canfield.
He has been a member of scouting since 1995. He is a member of Greater Western Reserve Council Troop 115. His Scoutmaster is Edward Hahn. He also is a member of Greater Cleveland Council Venture Crew 42.
He has earned 26 merit badges and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow in 2002. He has held the troop positions of senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader and chaplain aide.
He was elected Scout of the Year in 2003 by the troop committee. He has received the Ad Altari Dei religious award, Gettysburg Historical Patch, World Conservation Award, 50-mile Afloat Award and successfully completed Project COPE at summer camp.
Matthew attended the Tinnerman Canoe Base in Ontario, Canada, in 2003. He spent two years on the summer camp staff at the Beaumount Scout Reservation for the Greater Cleveland Council.
For his Eagle service project, he supervised the demolition and removal of a garage, the installation of three banisters, and the updating of some electrical wiring at St. Michael Parish cottage.
Matthew is a senior at Boardman High School, where he is a member of the chorale, men's chamber choir and Spartan Singers. He also is a member of the Latin Club and works as part of the high school auditorium stage crew. He has previously been a member of the Humanities Club and played on the high school soccer team for two years. He has appeared in several drama productions.
He is a member of the church and its youth group and Celebrate Team.
Charles is a member of Greater Western Reserve Council Troop 46 at Boardman United Methodist Church.
His Eagle service project included the building of eight bluebird houses and placing them inside Boardman Park.
He has been in Scouting since October 1999 and has earned 28 merit badges. Some of the positions he has held in the troop are librarian, patrol leader and quartermaster.
He is a junior at Boardman High School, where he is an honor student and plays the trombone in the symphonic and marching bands. He also is a member of the Italian and Science clubs.
Milestones is a regular Sunday feature in The Vindicator. Articles must be submitted within 30 days of the Milestone event. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you want a picture returned. Pictures also may be picked up at the paper's Front Street facility at the security guard station. Send items to: Milestones, c/o The Vindicator, P.O. Box 780, Youngstown 44501.

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