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‘Champions for Children’ awardees named

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County Children Services’ (SCCS) Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) recently hosted its Fourth Annual Community Appreciation Breakfast to recognize and thank volunteers, businesses, organizations and community leaders, as well as families served by the agency, for their support of SCCS and the children and families of the area.

The 2013 “Champions for Children” include:

  • Community Leadership Award recipient Jerry Craig, executive director of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADM) Board, for his outstanding leadership in areas that improve life for Summit County families and contribute to SCCS’ ongoing efforts to “build families and build futures.” Among the SCCS’ recent programs supported by the ADM Board were the annual Summit Mall Family Expo held during April’s Child & Family Awareness Month and the first Meth Lab Community Forum held last August.
  • Community Partner Award recipients: Summit County Juvenile Court, for planning in each of the past five years a half-day professional training program on timely topics affecting children and families as part of April’s annual Child & Family Awareness Month. This year’s program, called “Close up on Human Trafficking,” was organized by court staff members under the leadership of Lisa Disabato-Moore and was attended by nearly 250 area professionals who deal with children and families; and Myers Industries Inc., for donating more than $30,000 during the past several years to purchase toys, clothes and gift items for the agency’s Holiday Toy Room and for sponsoring the annual Caregivers Holiday Party for hundreds of client families served by SCCS.
  • Community Volunteer Award recipients: Assuramed, for its major commitment of staff volunteer time in recent years for agency programs such as the Holiday Toy Room and School Supplies distribution, including a record 27 staff who volunteered for the agency’s Holiday Toy Room program in 2012; and the Burrier family, including Carrie and her children Stephen, 19, and Matthew and Michelle, 16, for their long-time volunteer service to Child & Family Awareness Month, including helping coordinate Pre-Packing and Packing Days, where volunteers each year bundle for distribution throughout Summit County more than a half-million pieces of material promoting the month’s family-friendly events and activities.
  • Community Support Award recipients: Downtown Akron Partnership and Step2 Co., who have a standing partnership that provides Step2 toys for a children’s play area at First Night® Akron. These toys, in turn, are donated to a local group, and SCCS was the recipient of this donation this year, with many of the pieces incorporated into an outdoor play space at the agency’s new Blazey Family Interaction Center, where children in agency care can visit with their families; State and Federal Communications Inc. for its commitment to youth who, by law, “emancipate” from SCCS’ care at age 18. Last fall, company staff members enlisted the support of their families and friends and donated enough household items and small appliances to furnish apartments for five teens who would leave the agency’s care in the coming months; The Christ Child Society of Akron, which pledged $20,000 during the next four years to purchase 25 cribs and beds each year for the children served by the agency for the Beds for Kids Program.

In addition, six 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 recipients were families involved with SCCS’ Father Factor program, which is designed to link fathers with needed services that help them engage in the lives of their children. Two of the families were kinship caregivers to children of other family members who needed to be removed from their birth families due to abuse and neglect concerns. Two of the families were young mothers who had their children removed but then were linked by SCCS to appropriate treatment and parenting programs, which resulted in the ultimate return of their children to them at the appropriate time.

For more information on becoming involved in the 2014 Child & Family Awareness Month celebration, call SCCS, the coordinating agency for Child & Family Awareness Month, at 330-379-1994.

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