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Posts tagged ‘charity carmody’

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.

Program Offers Safety Net to Families in Crisis

By Charity Carmody, Board President, Beacon Hill

By ensuring parents retain full legal and parental rights, this program allows families to reach out for help without fear.

beacon-hill-pic-stone-familyWe believe a large percentage of child abuse is preventable. There is something we can do. According to both national and state statistics, reports of neglect are far more prevalent than physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Neglect makes up 60 percent or more of all reports of harm. Neglect often occurs when parents are in crisis due to homelessness, unemployment, addiction, and most prevalent – social isolation.

By and large, social isolation is the primary cause of child maltreatment. Most of us have someone to call if we need help or are at a breaking point. Unfortunately, many families do not have that support and will resort to placing their children with people they do not know well, leaving them alone, or simply not tending to their needs the way they should. At Beacon Hill, we propose to prevent child abuse by creating a safety net for families in crisis before abuse begins.

Beacon Hill, a current recipient of an Alaska Children’s Trust community-based child abuse and neglect prevention grant, launched this safety net in the form of Safe Families for Children Alaska in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. Nationally, Safe Families for Children operates in over 75 locations and is in many other countries. Our first volunteers began hosting children in crisis in January of 2016. Since then, Safe Families for Children Alaska has hosted 13 children. These children did not have to go into foster care as a result of being placed with Safe Families.

Safe Families for Children is community-based and volunteer driven. Upon a parent’s call to our helpline the family goes through an intake process to determine if Safe Families is right for their situation. If Safe Families is an appropriate service, the family is matched with a fully trained and certified “host family” in their community.

Prior to being approved to serve, host families undergo all of the state-mandated background checks, training, and receive a home assessment. The decision to place is entirely voluntary on the part of the child’s family.

A trademark of Safe Families is that the parents retain full legal and parental rights throughout the entire placement process. This voluntary nature is key for the success of Safe Families for Children. It first and foremost decreases the likelihood of perpetuated abuse, often seen in the foster care system. Also, by eliminating the parents’ fear of losing their children, it gives the parents a chance to build a trust relationship with the host family, which often grows into a lasting friendship.

As opposed to foster care, Safe Families is intended to prevent abuse or neglect. By dividing a family in crisis, more harm than help can often result. The families supported by the Safe Families program have no current involvement with the Office of Children’s Services (OCS), nor have their problems risen to the level that would require OCS involvement.

Since these families retain full legal parental rights at all times, Safe Families cannot be viewed through the same lens as foster care. At its most basic level, Safe Families creates the type of relationships that naturally exist in families and communities. Safe Families provides these same relationships for individuals and families who lack the strong, stable communities most of us take for granted.

Finally there is a way for families to ask for help and not feel shame. Finally we can give a family a safety net created by their neighbors and not the government. Finally Alaska has a way to prevent child abuse by helping the parents as well as the children. charity-blue-standing

It’s time to change the way we structure our communities and keep our children safe. To get involved, go to www.beaconhillak.com.

Charity Carmody is the president of Beacon Hill. A local business owner, she first became a foster parent in 1997.