FBI Cleveland
Public Affairs Officer Susan Licate
February 20, 2024

FBI Cleveland Honors Northeastern Ohio Family With Director’s Community Leadership Award

Timothy and Tamia Woods Awarded for Their Work About Teen Suicide and Sextortion

CLEVELAND, OH—FBI Cleveland is proud to announce Timothy and Tamia Woods on behalf of the Do it for James Foundation of Streetsboro, Ohio, as recipients of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. The FBI established the Directors Community Leadership Award in 1990 to publicly acknowledge the achievements of those working to make a difference in their communities through the promotion of education and the prevention of crime and violence. The FBI’s 56 field offices select the recipients annually for this honor. FBI Director Wray will host and honor the Woods’ and other award recipients during a Washington, D.C., event held later in the spring.

In November of 2022, Timothy and Tamia Woods suffered a family’s worst nightmare when they lost their only child, James, to suicide after becoming a victim of sextortion. James was an energetic and driven 17-year-old Streetsboro High School student and year-round track and field star. He greeted everyone he saw with a welcoming smile and outgoing personality which served him as a model student, athlete, and neighbor.

Soon after their devastating loss, the Woods’ founded the Do It For James Foundation (DIFJF). The mission of DIFJF is to create awareness for kids and their families to prevent similar tragedies. No matter who their audience is, from students to parents, the mission remains the same. DIFJF was created to honor James, to tell his story, and to inform the community about the huge increase of children and teens being threatened or coerced online.

FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen honored the Woods’ during a closed ceremony today at FBI Cleveland. “Timothy and Tamia found strength and purpose through an unimaginable tragedy. Carrying on James’ legacy by fostering awareness, education, and outreach to our kids and teens while establishing a foundation that will serve future generations is a true testament to their character. The FBI will not let James Woods be forgotten, nor the work you both are doing. As recipients of the Director’s Community Leadership Award, you –and James, are forever etched in the history books of the FBI.”

In early 2023, the FBI Cleveland Division and the DIFJF connected when the Division was asked to provide a sextortion presentation to parents of a local school district where the DIFJF would also be sharing their story.

It was from that evening that a partnership was formed. By working together to educate our community about sextortion, there was no doubt the impact could be made on every listening ear. That impact was felt from presenting together at numerous schools, as well as a mental health symposium that was attended by more than 100 mental health professionals from various lines of work.

Additionally, in June of each year, FBI Cleveland hosts a four-day Future Agents in Training (FAIT) program that is attended by 50 rising seniors from the Cleveland area of responsibility. FBI Cleveland invited the DIFJF to attend and present to this key audience. The extremely powerful presentation delivered James’ story in such a way that everyone who heard it was left feeling as if they knew him personally. Tamia ended the presentation by leading the group in a resounding chant of “You matter!” This was done to remind everyone that no matter what tricky situation they find themselves in, a solution can be found and that their life is more important than any mistake that they make.

The impact that the DIFJF has made over the last year was capped off in August 2023 with the first-ever DIFJF “Walk/Run Day of Fun”. The 5K run/1-mile walk invited the community to participate in memory of James. DIFJF continued to give back to the community as they handed out various scholarships to registered participants. A day of family fun followed the run/walk that included local law enforcement partners, community groups, and local businesses.

Throughout 2023, DIFJF has provided youth empowerment, built strength in the community, and raised awareness about sextortion and suicide prevention. The powerful message that the Woods family shares with each presentation they give will forever leave a mark on everyone who hears their words.

Photo caption – FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen presents Tamia and Timothy Woods with the Directors Community Leadership Award

Photo caption – FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen presents Tamia and Timothy Woods with the Directors Community Leadership Award