Summit County Children Services’ Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) recently hosted its 7th 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 children and families.
The Duvall Awards, established in 2008 through a partnership of Summit County Children Services, the Akron Police Department and Akron Children’s Hospital, honor the memory of the late Lt. John “Ed” Duvall, Jr. – who, while with the Akron Police Department, was both relentless in his investigations of child abuse cases and deeply committed to speaking out about child abuse prevention.
- The Lt. John “Ed” Duvall, Jr. ‘Detective of the Year’ Award was presented to Detective Dalvin Horton of the Akron Police Department. Det. Horton has been with the department’s Juvenile Unit for more than 15 years and in his present assignment handles in excess of 1,500 missing persons reports each year.
- The Duvall ‘Outstanding Service’ Award was presented to Donna Abbott, of the Akron Children’s Hospital CARE Center. A nurse practitioner, Ms. Abbott has been with the hospital for 27 years and presently handles a majority of the sexual abuse cases in the CARE Center.
The 2016 ‘Champions for Children’ award winners included:
Community Leadership Award Recipient (and event Keynote Speaker):
- Bernett Williams, Vice President of External Affairs, Akron Children’s Hospital – Prior to joining Children’s Hospital in her present capacity in 2011, she served as the President and CEO of the Akron Urban League where she helped expand the agency’s programs and services that emphasize education, job training and entrepreneurship. In her current job she directs the hospital’s role in establishing partnerships and collaborative initiatives to support and engage the community.
Community Partner Award Recipient:
- Akron Public Schools – APS has been a major partner of Child & Family Awareness Month since its inception 29 years ago. The staff helps direct and coordinate the Creative Contests that have generated the themes for this annual celebration. In fact, the slogan for 2016, ‘A Family is an Apple that’s Great to the Core,’ was created by an APS student.
Community Volunteer Award Recipients:
- Jackie Summers – A long-time volunteer with Summit County Children Services, Ms. Summers actively supports the agency’s various client benefit programs and participates in several community outreach activities. She oftentimes is one of the first to respond with a ‘yes I can help’ when volunteer opportunities are offered. And, when a scheduled volunteer is unable to attend an activity, Ms. Summers, truly an ‘A List’ volunteer, is at the top of the list to contact.
- Chris Wasson – Ms. Wasson is no stranger to serving others, and has done so for more than 10 years through her employer, WBC Group, LLC. Her one day of volunteer service with Summit County Children Services’ Holiday Toy Room in 2014 increased to several days last year with her actively supporting several of the agency’s client benefit programs and outreach activities. Ms. Wasson has turned her volunteer experience into a ‘family affair’ by recruiting her sister and parents to volunteer with the agency as well.
Corporate Support Award Recipients:
- KC’s Third Base Sports Bar (Akron) – The owners, staff and patrons of KC’s Third Base Sports Bar host two events each year to raise funds to benefit the children served by Summit County Children Services. They seek donations from local business owners and customers, host raffle drawings and sell food that has been donated by family members and friends. In total, they have raised more than $60,000 … all to help the children of this community.
- Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores (Hudson) – Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores has actively supported the local community for many years. Once such way is through ‘Inspired to Help!’ the company’s internal, employee-driven giving program. Through the efforts of Shipping and Receiving staff team members Sue Heflin and Toni LaRose, Summit County Children Services has received $2,500 for its Holiday Toy Room Program in addition to hundreds of crafts and toys. This is a tremendous example of corporate and employee giving at its best.
- Goldman & Rosen, Ltd. (Akron) — Celebrating milestone anniversaries should be done in a big way, and that was the case for local law firm, Goldman & Rosen, Ltd. Last year marked their 25th year of being a leader in a variety of legal specialty areas, and to celebrate their anniversary, partner Gary Rosen sponsored 25 foster families to an Akron RubberDucks game, complete with a pre-game picnic and two children throwing out the ceremonial first pitches. This was an incredible experience for agency children and families.
Community Support Award Recipients:
- Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron – For several decades, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron has been an active part of this community ‘taking care of each other and the world.’ One such way the Church has supported Summit County Children Services is setting up a Holiday Giving Tree.For the past two years, members have purchased and wrapped suggested gift items for children in agency care. In total, hundreds of gifts for nearly 200 children have been donated.
- ABT (Akron Baptist Temple) – When ABT member Elisa Tingler contacted Summit County Children Services about wanting to host a holiday party for children, needless to say the agency was thrilled. The result of their planning and efforts was a Holiday Bowling Party for the young adults participating in the Transitional Housing Program. This bowling party also included trivia games and prizes, lots of food plus baskets overflowing with holiday gifts.
- Stow Blanketeers – The Stow Blanketeers are a group of special ladies who have a knack for providing comfort to children involved with Summit County Children Services by donating hand-knitted and hand-crocheted blankets. To date, the agency has received nearly 1,000 handmade blankets from this group to provide to infants, young children and teens.
- Gleaner Summit Arbor #765 – This group has supported Summit County Children Services’ School Supplies Program for many years. In fact, the members start their annual collection drive a year in advance to ensure they have enough pens, pencils, crayons, pocket folders, notebooks, scissors, glue and other supplies for as many children as possible. The end result is children who are equipped with the necessary supplies to have a successful start to their school year.
Family Achievement Award Recipients:
Six local families were also recognized at the event ‘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.’
- A mom who overcame her substance abuse to reunify with her son
- A couple who each overcame heroin addiction to reunify with their son
- A couple who provided permanency to two teenage sisters to keep them together
- A couple who adopted siblings, including a young boy born prematurely
- A father who conquered drug dependency to regain custody of his twin daughters
- A couple who adopted two brothers – including one with severe behavioral issues
About the CAC Community Appreciation Breakfast . . .
The 7th Annual CAC Community Appreciation Breakfast was the official conclusion to this year’s 29th Child & Family Awareness Month celebration. 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 30th Annual Child & Family Awareness Month celebration in April, 2017, please call Summit County Children Services, the coordinating agency for Child & Family Awareness Month, at (330) 379-2090