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Posts tagged ‘champion for kids’

Introducing the 2020 Southcentral Champions for Kids

Alaska Children’s Trust is honored to announce our 2020 Southcentral Champions for Kids: Charity Carmody and Lisa Wade. We will celebrate Charity and Lisa, along with our 2020 Northern/Interior Champions for Kids, Traci McGarry and Bernard Gatewood, at the premier of our Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign on September 15. Learn more about the campaign on our website.

Charity Carmody

Charity Carmody is a fourth-generation Alaskan. She and her husband, Kris, have been married 26 years. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. The Carmody’s took in their first foster child when Charity was only 21 years old. Within the first six years of their marriage, they owned a large home in North Mountain view and cared for foster children and adults in need of rehabilitation. Their oldest son, Jesse, was one of their first foster children. 

Caring for foster children continues to be a passion for Charity. The nonprofit Beacon Hill was founded in the Carmody’s living room in 2009 by a group of friends that wanted to give back. It started as a transitional living facility for homeless mothers and children, and then became a foster care and adoption agency five years later. 

Today, Beacon Hill has a foster care prevention program called Safe Families for Children Alaska that operates in six cities. It also operates Family Support Centers in Anchorage and Wasilla that host supervised visits and mentorship for children in foster care with their biological families.  Beacon Hill also manages the Heart Gallery of Alaska, which recruits adoptive homes for children in foster care that are legally free for adoption and are waiting for a forever family. In 2017, Beacon Hill opened a thrift store and café, whose profits fund Beacon Hill’s operating expenses. Charity acted as Beacon Hill’s volunteer executive director until 2018, when Kristen Bierma was hired to take the organization to its next level. Charity remains the board president.

Outside of her volunteer work, Charity has been in finance and insurance since beginning her career in 1994 at Smith Barney. She started her own company, Carmody Insurance Agency, in 2007. Her agency is now located in South Anchorage and still going strong, giving jobs and resources to the community.

Charity received her bachelor’s in business and MBA from Alaska Pacific University, where she now teaches as an adjunct business professor. She is currently finishing her doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University in Boston. She has a dream of writing federal and state child welfare law.

Charity’s efforts to better her community has been recognized numerous times. She is a 2015 Top 40 under 40 recipient by the Alaska Journal of Commerce, a 2019 Athena Society Inductee, the recipient for Beacon Hill of World Magazine’s Hope Award for effective compassion in Washington D.C., and a member of 100+ Women Who Care.

Lisa Wade

Lisa Wade is Ahtna Dene’ of the taltsiine (water clan) and the c’etsiy tnaey (iron people clan). Lisa is a Nay’dini’aa Na’ Kayax (Chickaloon Native Village) Tribal citizen. She is a wife and mother of two amazing daughters and currently lives at Tsidak’etna’ (Grandmother’s Creek), just north of Palmer.

Lisa has served as a member of the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council since 2012, and Council secretary and Tribal Court judge since 2018. She has worked for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council since 2007, and serves as the health, education and social services division director. She also manages the Ya Ne Dah Ah School, the first school in Alaska established by a Tribal government.

Lisa is a standing board member on the Benteh/Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center joint operating board, the Ce’yiits Hwnax Life House Community Health Center advisory committee, the Mat-Su Health Foundation board of directors, the Alaska Family Services board of directors, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Tribal technical advisory committee. She has also participated on the steering committees of Raising Our Children with Kindness (R.O.C.K.) Mat-Su and the Alaska Resilience Initiative (ARI) since their inception.

Lisa is an advocate for the health and wellness of Alaska Native peoples and is committed to supporting healthy communities locally, statewide and nationally through community building, policy development, and indigenous advocacy. She enjoys cultural learning and creating community art projects, especially with children.

About the Award

Each year, through our Champion for Kids Awards, Alaska Children’s Trust recognizes individuals who have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward preventing child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive, and nurturing communities. The purpose of the Champion for Kids Award is to recognize someone for his or her contributions to children living throughout Alaska, whether it is through their professional employment, volunteer work, community activities, or actively working with children.

Charity and Lisa join other 2020 Champions throughout the state, including Traci McGarry and Bernard Gatewood, our 2020 Northern/Interior Champions, and Kevin Ritchie and Kyle Worl, our 2020 Southeast Champions. Find full bios of our Champions on our website.

Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign

Our 2020 Southcentral and Northern/Interior Champions for Kids, Charity Carmody, Lisa Wade, Traci McGarry and Bernard Gatewood, will be honored on September 15 at the Facebook Live premier of our Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign. While COVID-19 prevented us from celebrating these champions at in-person receptions, we are pleased to recognize them at the virtual launch of our Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign

Our Challenge Campaign is an important effort to raise funds during a time when children and families are more vulnerable than ever before. A very special thank you to our generous challenge grant sponsors: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Wells Fargo, Doyon, Limited, the Brice-Henderson Family, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, and Southcentral Foundation, as well as our 45+ co-hosts and board members who are challenging our community of friends. Learn more about the campaign and see the full list of supporters on our website.

We invite you to join these supporters and help us meet our challenge grant of over $35,000 by making a gift between September 15 and October 18. Because together we can prevent child abuse and neglect.

Congratulations 2020 Northern/Interior Champions for Kids

Alaska Children’s Trust is pleased to announce our 2020 Northern/Interior Region Champions for Kids, Traci McGarry of Nome and Bernard Gatewood of Fairbanks.

Each year through our Champion for Kids Awards, we recognize individuals who have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward preventing child abuse and neglect, by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive and nurturing communities.

All are invited to join us in honoring Traci and Bernard at our fundraising reception in Fairbanks on Thursday, March 26. Learn more about the event and RSVP on our Facebook event page.

2020 Northern/Interior Region Champion for Kids: Traci McGarry
Traci has dedicated both her professional and personal life to preventing child abuse and neglect, and advocating for changes that improve the lives of Alaska’s children and families.

Traci McGarry

In her role as Child and Family Services/Child Advocacy Center director at Kawerak in Nome, Traci spends many hours working directly with families, assisting with court appearances, providing a safe and comfortable environment to ensure children are protected, and helping families return to a safe home situation.

Traci is also dedicated to seeking funding to improve and expand services offered to children and families in her community. Through grant applications and awards, Traci has grown her staff to include additional specialists to work with child victims of crime. She is currently seeking funding for a new and larger building to house the Child Advocacy Center, which was recommended for replacement in a recent facility assessment. The new building would help the center serve the growing number of children and families seeking assistance, which has grown from 59 in 2014 to 141 in 2019.

“Through her leadership, the Children and Family Services and Child Advocacy Center has increased staff and has increased services to our children in the region,” said Carol Piscoya, who nominated Traci for the award.

Outside of work, Traci still finds time to be an active advocate and member of the community, volunteering on many local and state committees, boards and commissions that focus on the safety of children and families. She is a volunteer DJ at the local KNOM radio station, a member of the local Rotary Club, secretary of the Alaska Children’s Alliance, and active with the Alaska Tribal Caucus group. She has also volunteered at the local elementary school and homeless shelter, serving as needed until positions could be filled by paid employees.

“Traci’s leadership skills are very strong, supportive and committed to our children,” Carol said.

2020 Northern/Interior Region Champion for Kids: Bernard Gatewood

It is said that one of the best ways to prevent child abuse and neglect is to find ways to address the cyclical nature of abuse. That is exactly what Bernard has focused on during his more than 30 years of working with Alaska’s children and families.

Bernard Gatewood

“Bernard’s 28 years with the Division of Juvenile Justice gave him the unique opportunity to counsel, educate and empower youth in the system,” wrote Taber Rehbaum in her nomination of Bernard for the award. “These youth were often victims of neglect and abuse themselves. Bernard’s efforts to provide them with the resources they needed to grow and develop positive outlets was a critical step towards healing and breaking that cycle.”

During his 15-year tenure as superintendent at Fairbanks Youth Facility, Bernard placed a premium on academic achievement and real-world skills, which could lead to a living-wage-paying job. Through diverse partnerships, Bernard led the development of an in-house culinary program, healthcare classes, automotive repair training, and a robotics program, among others. As a result, some residents became certified in first aid/CPR, others were certified as road crew flaggers and emergency fire fighters, and others earned high school diplomas or GEDs.

Bernard, known for his skills in securing necessary capital for projects, was also tireless in his work to obtain funding for various projects that would positively impact the residents. Examples included construction of a full gymnasium and building of a fence that allowed all residents – regardless of their security status – to work in the garden, growing flowers and vegetables, many of which were donated to the local food bank.

In addition to his career in juvenile justice, Bernard served on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Health and Social Services Commission, was elected to the Fairbanks City Council, and was co-founder of the Black Role Model Initiative.

“Bernard has proven himself as a community leader in Fairbanks and across the state,” Taber said.

Champion for Kids Award

Learn more about our Champion for Kids Award, past recipients and nomination process on our website.

Congratulations 2020 Southeast Champions for Kids

Alaska Children's Trust honored our 2020 Southeast Champions for Kids, Kevin Ritchie and Kyle Worl, at an awards reception in Juneau on January 29. Each year, we recognize individuals that have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward preventing child abuse and neglect, by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive and nurturing communities.

Read more

Celebrating our 2018 Interior Champion for Kids: Taber Rehbaum

Taber Rehbaum was honored as the Alaska Children’s Trust 2018 Interior Champion for Kids during our annual reception in Fairbanks on March 29. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward eliminating child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive and nurturing communities.Champ for Kids

For 22 years, Taber led the amazing work of Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was hired as the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters – Greater Fairbanks Area in 1995. Between then and 2007, she grew the Fairbanks agency from less than 30 children served per year to approximately 600.

During this time, the agency implemented a number of new initiatives, including school-based mentoring, programs serving Interior villages, and many partnerships intended to reach Alaska Native people, address the mental health needs of Alaska children, and help incarcerated youth avoid recidivism when released. The Fairbanks agency was recognized nationally for its program expansion.

In 2007, Taber helped plan and execute the merger of the three Alaska Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies into Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska. From 2009 to 2017, Taber served as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, helping develop a more effective organizational structure. Under her leadership, the statewide agency continued to be recognized nationally for its work with Native populations and the juvenile justice system. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska was also a leader in developing systems and practices to partner with parents to prevent child abuse and to identify and respond to indicators of abuse.

In addition to leading the agency, Taber was also matched with two Little Sisters, both of whom she is still in contact with. Taber’s first Little Sister now lives in Houston, where she and her husband are expecting their first child. Taber’s second Little Sister will graduate from high school this spring.

Taber says she is grateful to have her Little Sisters as well as many mentors in her life – and Alaska Children’s Trust is grateful for Taber and the years of dedication she has shown to Alaska’s children and families.

 

Dr. George Brown Honored as 2018 Champion for Kids

Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) is pleased to honor the late Dr. George Brown as our 2018 Southeast Champion for Kids. The award was announced and celebrated at our fundraising reception that took place February 13 at the Governor’s house in Juneau.

George Brown Courtesy of Michael Penn

Dr. George Brown, photo courtesy of Michael Penn

During his 48 years as a pediatrician, Dr. Brown practiced in Anchorage, Hawaii, Palmer, Vermont, Africa and Juneau, in addition to his itinerant Public Health Service work all over Alaska. He cared for thousands and thousands of children and families.

Throughout his career, the prevention of child abuse and neglect was Dr. Brown’s primary focus. This was lived out in clinical and hospital practice, seemingly eternal weekend and night call, behavioral health, family counseling, court systems, public speaking, teaching, professional writing, community leadership, house calls, and the thousands of high-fives he exchanged with children. Paramount in his work and relationships was the integration of safety, nurturing, family, community and the highest quality of clinical care and public health.

Among his many activities, Dr. Brown participated in the development of the Child Study Center, the first intervention and prevention services for child abuse and neglect in Alaska. During his time in Vermont, he was also integral to the development of the Safe Child Program. He was a volunteer physician in Kenya, Africa, where he helped develop an HIV-AIDS identification and treatment program. He later developed the visionary Kenya Health Scholarship Program to train Kenyan high school graduates in health-related careers. He was also the founder and host of the Juneau-based Father’s Café, which provided fathers and their children a forum to share fatherhood, childhood and protection/safety for their children. He was, in fact, en route to a Father’s Café gathering on the day of his heart attack in December 2017.

Dr. Brown was deeply and directly involved in the creation of ACT. For many years he bombarded legislators and executive branch officials with his letters and presence to urge the creation of ACT. During his years of practice in Palmer, he worked with then-Sen. Jalmar Kerttula for the creation of the statutory framework of the trust.

For his many years of dedicated service, Dr. Brown was honored with the Ray Helfer Award for Community Pediatrics from the National Alliance of Children’s Trusts and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2009.

Our annual Champion for Kids Awards recognize individuals, like Dr. Brown, who have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward eliminating child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive and nurturing communities. The purpose of the award is to recognize these individuals for their contributions to Alaska’s children, whether it is through their professional employment, volunteer work, community activities, or actively working with children. View past recipients on our website.

 

ACT is Coming to Juneau

We are looking forward to the Alaska Children’s Trust fundraising reception coming up next week in Juneau! The reception, hosted by First Lady Donna Walker and Ms. Toni Mallott, takes place Tuesday, February 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Governor’s House. During the event, we will recognize Dr. George Brown, our 2018 Southeast Champion for Kids. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to vlewis@alaskachildrenstrust.org or 907.248.7374 by this Friday, February 9. We hope to see you there!

ACT First Lady invite for email

Gathering Together to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

Reception Raises Funds, Honors Champion for Kids

At the Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) fundraising reception in Anchorage Wednesday night, approximately 75 people gathered together in the spirit of a common goal – preventing child abuse and neglect. View our event photos on Facebook.

The event was particularly special as it recognized an individual who has shown extraordinary dedication to preventing child abuse and neglect. During the reception, we honored Heather Harris with our 2017 Southcentral Champion for Kids award. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward eliminating child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive and nurturing communities.

“It is nearly impossible to talk to Heather for more than a few moments without hearing her clear commitment to children and teens – especially those who are at greater risk of experiencing trauma in their lives. The more complex the human experience, the more she is ready to engage,” reads part of Heather’s award nomination. “Uniquely, however, Heather isn’t just interested in a quick fix, but rather her strategy is first to listen and understand and then to seek collaborative solutions that don’t make life better for just one person but for a system of people.”

Currently the executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Heather has dedicated two decades to our most vulnerable children and youth, engaging with Alaska Youth Advocates, Standing Together Against Rape, Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association, Anchorage Youth Development Coalition and Alaska CARES, among others. She has worked with homeless youth, been an advocate for children who have experienced sexual abuse, and has promoted positive youth development through her leadership on various boards.

This dedication and passion does not stop at the office. “At home, Heather and her husband Josh create safe space in their extended family and in their neighborhood. That space engages the neighborhood kids who instinctively know that Heather and Josh are there for them,” her nomination explains. “Neighborhood kids, children in foster care or incarcerated or abused and neglected are all welcomed by Heather and Josh – there is truly enough love and support to go around.”

“There are few people that I know who can handle seeing so much adversity in the lives of children and still feel hope and optimism about the world,” Heather’s nominator concludes.

Following the award presentation, we had the pleasure of hearing from Zookeeper and Push, members of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) Alaska, who spoke about how the role of protecting our children is the responsibility of everyone – even unlikely people like bikers. A big thank you to Zookeeper and Push for their time and insights!

We would also like to thank Wells Fargo, a long-standing partner of ACT and supporter of the children of Alaska. Wells Fargo provided a challenge grant of $10,000 – which was matched in full thanks to the generosity of our guests!

Finally, thank you to CIRI for hosting the reception at their lovely headquarters, as well as to our event co-hosts, and all of those in attendance. You can see photos from the event on Facebook.

Together we can prevent child abuse and neglect!

Heather Harris to be Honored at September 13 Reception

If you care about Alaska’s kids and want to work together to prevent child abuse and Heatherneglect, please join us at the Alaska Children’s Trust fundraising reception on Wednesday, September 13 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at CIRI at 725 E. Fireweed Lane in Anchorage. Please RSVP by September 8 to vlewis@alaskachildrenstrust.org or 907.248.7374.

During the reception, we will honor Heather Harris with our 2017 Southcentral Champion for Kids award. Most recently, Heather became the executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Prior to this new role, she dedicated two decades to our most vulnerable children and youth. Heather has worked with homeless youth, been an advocate for children who have experienced sexual abuse, and has promoted positive youth development through her leadership on various boards. Please join Alaska Children’s Trust on September 13 to thank Heather for her commitment to Alaska’s children and youth.

The suggested donation is $250 for individuals, and $1,000 for corporations, with a challenge grant generously provided by Wells Fargo. Please RSVP by September 8 to vlewis@alaskachildrenstrust.org or 907.248.7374. We hope to see you there!ACT 2017 Anchroage e-invite

Nominate a Champion for Kids by July 14

We are looking to celebrate the great work being done in Southcentral Alaska! Nominations due Friday, July 14.

Champ for kidsThe Champion for Kids Award, presented by Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT), recognizes individuals from different regions of Alaska who have demonstrated a dedication and commitment in working towards preventing child abuse and neglect. These individuals have committed their time and resources to helping children have a safe place to live, learn, and grow, whether it is through their professional employment, volunteer work, community activities, or actively working with children.

Currently, ACT is looking to honor a Champion for Kids in Southcentral Alaska, which includes the Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai Peninsula, Valdez and Cordova communities.

All across Southcentral Alaska, there are extraordinary individuals who are ensuring our children live in safe, stable, and nurturing communities. If you know one of these extraordinary individuals, ACT invites you to recognize them by nominating them for our 2017 Alaska Champion for Kids Award.

To nominate someone in your life, please fill out the Champion for Kids Award Application. Applications are due Friday, July 14, 2017. See past recipients.  

For additional information about past award recipients, the current Champion for Kids, and the application process, please visit Alaska Children’s Trust’s website.

Congratulations Monte Lynn Jordan: 2017 Interior Champion for Kids

monteFrom being a Big Sister to organizing healthy activities to inspiring others to get involved, Monte Lynn Jordan is a driving force behind preventing child abuse and neglect in Alaska. Those are just a few of many reasons that Alaska Children’s Trust is honored to announce Monte as our 2017 Interior Champion for Kids. Monte was honored at our Fairbanks fundraising reception on Friday, March 31. See event photos on Facebook.

For the past 30+ years, Monte has been working to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting healthy kids in Alaska. Fond of the Shirley Chisholm saying, “Service is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,” Monte puts her time and energy behind those words as a tireless advocate for children and families. Whether she is working to provide services to strengthen families, organizing healthy living activities for kids, or simply lending her talents to better the community at large, when an advocate for a child is needed, Monte is there.

image013Monte believes that healthy communities begin with healthy kids. A leader in many nonprofit service organizations, Monte’s exemplary service is a motivating force behind groups that support healthy families, especially children. Specifically, she has worked with the Resource Center for Parents and Children, which helps parents with parenting skills, strengthening the family structure in order to help prevent child abuse and neglect. She is a member of the board of directors for The Carol H. Brice Family Center, which promotes healthy families through education, day care assistance, legal help, and low-cost health care. Monte has also been a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused, neglected or abandoned children in juvenile court proceedings.

image012Another way Monte works to prevent child abuse and neglect is by helping provide healthy activities for young people. She is a founding member of Running Club North’s Equinox Kid’s Marathon and a prime assistant for cross country training. She volunteers to help with high school track and field events, and is a dedicated organizer of the Alaska Children’s Trust Mush for Kids. Monte has also been directly involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization as an active and interested Big Sister to a local young person, with whom she maintained a relationship well into adulthood. Whether in groups or individually, Monte’s enthusiasm for a healthy, active lifestyle is both an inspiration and motivation for kids who may face challenging circumstances.

As important as the direct role she takes working with and for kids, is the fact that Monte uses her love of people and passion for service to recruit others to do the same. A model of lifetime service and diligence, she may be working in the background, but she is always leading by example.

Monte is quite simply a positive force in society. Her ardent activism on behalf of children, faith in the power of a healthy lifestyle, and unflagging efforts in her community mean that she can be found wherever she is needed. She has been called many things: persistent, insistent, ally, friend. One thing is sure – she is a champion for kids.

Each year the Alaska Children’s Trust Champion for Kids Award recognizes individuals like Monte who have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward eliminating child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive and nurturing communities. We present three awards each year – one in southeast Alaska, one in Interior and one in southcentral. Earlier this year, we recognized Sen. Anna MacKinnon as our 2017 Southeast Champion for Kids. A call for nominations for the 2017 Southcentral Champion for Kids will be released this summer.