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2012 Champions for Children Awards recipents

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AKRON, OH – May 2012 – Summit County Children Services’ Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) recently hosted its Third Annual Community Appreciation Breakfast to recognize and thank volunteers, businesses, organizations and community leaders for their support of Summit County Children Services and the children and families of our area. The 2012 ‘Champions for Children’ included:

Public Service Award Recipient:

  • Sherri Bevan Walsh, Summit County Prosecutor (for her commitment to helping children and families, and her advocacy for special populations including children with disabilities, particularly autism)

Community Leadership Award Recipients:

  • Russell M. Pry, Summit County Executive (for his continued community leadership and ongoing support of children and families through programs such as the annual Summit for Kids event)
  • Malcolm J. Costa, President & CEO of Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. (ASCA) (for improving the lives of families and children through such programs as Head Start, YouthBuild, Foster Grandparent and Help Me Grow)

Community Partner Award Recipients:

  • Michael Kenney and Shannon Deinhart, Co-Founders and Co-Directors of The Waiting Child Fund (for their work with Summit County Children Services to find adoptive families or permanent connections for children in agency custody)
  • Fame Fathers, Man 2 Man and Men of Valor (three community Fatherhood groups whose leaders and members have made a notable and positive difference in the agency's ability to engage and work with fathers of children in agency care)

Corporate Support Award Recipients:

  • Chemstress Consultant Company in Akron (for its generosity over the past two decades offering children in the care of Summit County Children Services the special opportunity to attend the Bridgestone Invitational World Golf Championship at Firestone Country Club.

Community Volunteer Award Recipients:

  • The Leaders of Tomorrow (a group of young people who have emancipated from Summit County Children Services care and who spend countless hours promoting permanency, helping foster parents and social workers to better serve youth, and advocating for improvements in the foster care system)
  • Caps for Kids Program at Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson (for the 22 years in which residents at Laurel Lake have knitted warm caps for children in agency care. Last year alone these volunteers produced a record number of caps – 1,030.)

Community Support Award Recipients:

  • Summit County Children Services Women's Auxiliary Board (for the group's more than 60 years of volunteer service to the agency, its work in securing grant funding for the agency's Beds for Kids program and for the group's financial support of the agency's new visitation center – the Blazey Family Interaction Center – scheduled to open this summer)
  • 25th Annual Child & Family Awareness Month Steering Committee (for their work in planning and carrying out an exceptional array of 25th Anniversary events throughout Summit County during April)
  • Evamere Elementary School in Hudson (for the generosity of students, faculty and staff who during the past few years have collected items and assembled generous Easter Baskets for children in agency custody)
  • Project PANDA (Prevent and Neutralize Drug/Alcohol Abuse) from Tallmadge Middle School (for their contributions to the agency's annual Easter Basket program as well as their ongoing work in helping students learn healthy choices and leadership skills)

In addition, four local families were presented with ‘Family Achievement Awards’ for overcoming obstacles in their lives, rising beyond the issues they have faced, and demonstrating a commitment to caring for children and for exhibiting positive family life. Two of the families that were recognized worked with Summit County Children Services' Alternative Response (AR) unit which offers an alternative option to the traditional investigation and disposition of cases of alleged child abuse. Through AR, after a review of the family's situation and concerns, a Family Service Plan is created to provide community supports in hopes of keeping children at home in improved circumstances.

About the Community Appreciation Breakfast . . .

The Third Annual Community Appreciation Breakfast was the official conclusion to this year’s 25th Anniversary Child & Family Awareness Month© celebration which has been observed throughout Summit County for the past quarter century. More than 150 agencies and organizations have formed a unique network committed to strengthening family life using community education as a vehicle for child abuse prevention. This network plans and implements a broad range of activities and educational initiatives during the month designed to build a solid foundation of community support for children and families. For more information on becoming involved in the 2013 Child & Family Awareness Month celebration, please call Summit County Children Services, the coordinating agency for Child & Family Awareness Month, at (330) 379-1994.

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