YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — From more than 90 nominations, 12 local organizations have been chosen to “light up the Valley all year long” for an annual holiday lights campaign.

The Western Reserve Transit Authority is hosting its fourth annual Holidays Lights Campaign for 2023. Since the campaign started in 2020, 48 nonprofit groups across the Valley have been spotlighted through advertising on TV, social media and WRTA bus signs.

The event kicked off Wednesday at Concept Studio in downtown Youngstown.

This year’s featured organizations are listed below:

  1. Action Mahoning Valley Mobile Truck
  2. AMYA Marie Foundation
  3. Dorothy Day House
  4. Healthy Hearts & Paws
  5. National Alliance for Mental Illness
  6. MOAB House
  7. Persayus Way Project
  8. Senior Support Action Group
  9. Angels for Animals
  10. Sleep in Heavenly Peace
  11. Thrive Mahoning Valley
  12. Veterans Outreach

WRTA Executive Director Dean Harris said each group was selected because they go above and beyond to help the people of the Mahoning Valley. Forty-eight non-profit organizations have been honored since the campaign started in 2020.

“A lot of them probably don’t have the budget for a lot of marketing, so a lot of people don’t know about them,” Harris said. “Being on the side of our bus, being on social media, we help to expand that footprint so more people can be exposed to their services.”

Two special drawings were also held. The MOAB House won a $3,000 TV campaign with WKBN TV 27, and Thrive Mahoning Valley won a $4,000 social media campaign.

The campaign is sponsored by BOP SOCIAL, First National Bank and WKBN TV 27. Three local leaders selected the top 12 groups from the nominations:

  • Vince Brancaccio, CEO of Help Network of NEO
  • Barb Ewing, CEO of Youngstown Business Incubator
  • Shari Harrell, president of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley

“I don’t think most people realize what a good and giving community we live in,” said Dean Harris, WRTA executive director. “When you travel the county like we do most days, you see the need out there. But you also see how the nonprofits and social agencies in the Valley respond to that need.”