Vencina “Ms. Vinnie” Cannady

Cannady 2019 National Night Out Jackson Center.jpg

A native of Parramore, Vencina “Ms. Vinnie” Cannady was a pillar of strength in the Parramore community for decades. Cannady knew what it was to “come up on the rough side of the mountain,” as she put it, but that only fanned the flames of passion, pride and care for her neighborhood.

Cannady credited her mother for instilling the spirit of hard work and perseverance in her heart, which motivated her to be an advocate for her family and community.

As a recipient of a Habitat for Humanity house in 1991, Cannady used her centralized location to be a catalyst for change in Parramore. Her front porch was her office and her door was always open to those in need.

In 2015, Cannady reached out to the City of Orlando to discuss restarting the Carter Street Neighborhood Association (CSNA), on which she served as president until her death in 2020.

During her tenure as president, Cannady led monthly meetings, organized community cleanup events, hosted National Night Out parties, established a neighborhood watch group and started an after-school tutoring program. In 2016 and again in 2019, the CSNA was named the Neighborhood Watch Group of the Year by the Orlando Police Department (OPD).

In 2016, Cannady was the recipient of the Tri-County League of Cities Citizen of the Year and Mayor Dyer's Neighborhood Champion Award.

In 2017, Cannady started the annual “Sock it to Me” drive that collected socks for the residents of the Orlando Rescue Mission. For a few years, she volunteered with another to help those community members who were experiencing homelessness apply for food stamps.

Cannady was a member of the Parramore Community Engagement Council, a member of the OCPS Academic Center for Excellence Community Relations Council and created the “walking school bus” in 2017, where she and a group of parents would walk the neighborhood children to school every morning.

Cannady had a reputation for seeking out city officials and partnering with them personally to make Parramore a better place.

Cannady was a lifelong member of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church, where she served as a deaconess, trustee, co-chairperson of the Christian Education ministry, youth Sunday school teacher, and more.

Cannady’s legacy lives on and inspires the community to this day. From the John H. Jackson Community Center in the heart of Parramore, the words of Diana Ross still echo as they did when Cannady ended every CSNA meeting singing, “Reach out and touch somebody's hand, make this world a better place if you can.”