SCCS recognizes supporters, successes at annual event
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Summit County Children Services’ (SCCS) Citizen’s Advisory Committee honored volunteers and area leaders for their support recently, in addition to recognizing some local families for their work in overcoming obstacles.
The 2012 Champions for Children were honored during the third annual Community Appreciation Breakfast in May. They include:
• Public Service Award: Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, for her commitment to helping children and families and her advocacy for special populations, including children with disabilities such as autism.
• Community Leadership Award: Summit County Executive Russ Pry for his community leadership and ongoing support of children and families through programs such as the Summit for Kids event; and Malcolm Costa, president and CEO of Akron Summit Community Action Inc., for improving the lives of families and children through such programs as Head Start, YouthBuild, Foster Grandparents and Help Me Grow.
• Community Partner Award: Michael Kenney and Shannon Deinhart, cofounders of The Waiting Child Fund, for their work to find adoptive families or permanent connections for children in SCCS custody; and the community fatherhood programs Fame Fathers, Man 2 Man and Men of Valor, for making a difference in SCCS’s ability to engage and work with fathers of children in agency care.
• Corporate Support Award: Chemstress Consultant Co., of Akron, for its generosity in offering children in SCCS custody the chance to attend the Bridgestone Invitational World Golf Championship at Firestone Country Club.
• Community Volunteer Award: The Leaders of Tomorrow, a group of young people emancipated from SCCS care who help promote permanency, help foster parents and social workers to better serve youths and advocate for improvements in the foster care system; and the Caps for Kids Program at Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson for the 22 years participants have knitted caps for children in SCCS’ care.
• Community Support Award: the SCCS Women’s Auxiliary Board for its more than 60 years of service, its work in securing grant funding for the Beds for Kids program and for financial support of the agency’s new visitation center, the Blazey Family Interaction Center, which is scheduled to open this summer; the 25th annual Child and Family Awareness Month Steering Committee for their work in planning and carrying out 25th anniversary events throughout the county; Evamere Elementary School in Hudson; and Project PANDA from Tallmadge High School.
Also, four local families received Family Achievement Awards for their efforts to overcome obstacles in their lives, demonstrating a commitment to caring for children and exhibiting positive family life. They were the families of Scott Anderson, of West Akron; Kiala Gulley, of South Akron; Suzanne Grof, of Barberton; and Keith and Jan Hammond, of Stow.
SCCS officials added that the Anderson and Grof families worked with SCCS’ Alternative Response unit, which offers an alternative option to the traditional investigation and disposition of cases of alleged child abuse. Through the program, 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.
The breakfast event helped conclude Child and Family Awareness Month, which is coordinated annually by SCCS.
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