The Children’s Trust Champion for Children Award Recipients Announced

childrenstrustlogoIMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Champion of Children with Disabilities Among Honorees at 2009 Awards Ceremony
Additional individuals and organizations to be recognized by The Children’s Trust at its annual Champion for Children event Friday, November 13th.
MIAMI – Nov. 3, 2009 – Helene J. Good will be the recipient of the 2009 Champion for Children Award, presented by The Children’s Trust on Friday, November 13th at the Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom, noon – 2 p.m. This year, this principle award will be renamed in honor of our founding chair, David Lawrence Jr. Now in its fifth year, The Children’s Trust Champion for Children’s Awards Ceremony raises awareness about the needs of children in the community and serves to inspire others to work toward improving the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.

Helene J. Good will receive the 2009 David Lawrence Jr. Champion for Children Award for a lifetime of achievement and dedication to children. For more than 26 years, Ms. Good has served as president and CEO of CCDH, the county’s lead agency providing services for persons with disabilities, and she continues to make a positive impact daily on those in her care. CCDH has forged an excellent track record under her guiding hand. Funders have consistently lauded the organization’s performance, clients are overwhelmingly satisfied with services received, and CCDH has been recognized nationally for its unique organizational design. In addition, during the past several years she has worked to develop the ACT (All Children Together) Resource Network, collaborating with hundreds of stakeholders from a wide array of sectors. In its first year, the ACT Project worked with more than 20 agencies and trained more than 900 of its staff to increase the agency’s capacity. Ms. Good’s mission to advocate for children with disabilities has never wavered. She is truly a “Champion for Children.”
Senator Nan H. Rich will be the recipient of the 2009 Excellence Award for Public Policy for effectively championing children’s causes through influencing public policy. Sen. Rich is recognized as among the most passionate and leading champions of children’s and social justice issues in the Florida Legislature. In the 2009 session and after a prolonged political battle, she was instrumental in securing a monumental victory: the passage of KidCare legislation to include thousands more children on the health insurance rolls and for thousands of others to keep their coverage.  In addition, she sponsored legislation that created an educational surrogate for foster care children with developmental disabilities in the school system. Sen. Rich will be the first woman to lead the State Senate Democratic Caucus when she begins her 2-year term next year.
The Champion for Children Award Ceremony will also recognize several other agencies and individuals:
Aldo Garcia of ASPIRA of Florida, Inc. will be recognized with the 2009 Excellence Award for Public Service for showing selfless dedication in the direct service of children. For the children in ASPIRA’s after-school program, Program Coordinator Aldo Garcia is a mentor, teacher and a trusted friend. During his 30 years of working and mentoring children, including 12 with ASPIRA, Mr. Garcia has developed a reputation with the children, parents and staff as a passionate, dedicated leader who puts children first. An energetic advocate for children and their families, Mr. Garcia is especially adept at involving others in his efforts, coordinating with his team, and getting the best for those he serves. For Mr. Garcia, his work isn’t merely a job, it’s a mission.
I Have a Dream Overtown will be the recipient of the Youth Development Programming Award for providing exemplary services to children ages 6 – 18.  Based on a model that launched in Harlem in the early 1980s, I Have a Dream Overtown began at Miami’s Phyillis Wheatley Elementary in 2003. That first year, 51 first grade students were made an offer: Stick with us, stay in school and we’ll pay your way through college. To meet its promise, this college preparatory program set about forging collaborations with FIU, UM, FAU, NOVA, St. Thomas University, Miami-Dade College and Hilton Hotel. In 2007, it was awarded a starter grant from The Children’s Trust and over the next year developed its fiscal and institutional management to the point when, in June 2008, it earned status and funding as a full-fledged Children’s Trust Out-of-School program.
University of Miami-Department of Pediatrics Families First Program will receive the 2009 Excellence Award for Early Childhood Programming for providing exemplary services to children ages birth – 5. The program provides a culturally competent, interactive and strength-based curriculum to a broad and diverse population. Using curriculum such as Baby and Me and Strengthening Multi-ethnic Families and Communities, Families First bases its efforts on high-quality, evidence-based research. With particular attention dedicated to cultural sensitivity, parent support and education groups are offered in both English and Spanish at numerous community agencies, childcare facilities and health care sites at a wide variety of times to increase accessibility.
The Bertha Abess Children’s Center will be the recipient of the 2009 Excellence Award for Programs for Children with Disabilities for providing exemplary services to children with special needs. The center has provided after-school and summer services for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities with support from The Children’s Trust since 2004. The center also provides counseling for a range of other school programs for students experiencing emotional problems, for recent immigrants with adjustments issues, therapeutic after-school and summer programs for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities, comprehensive behavioral health assessments and transition services.
In addition to these honorees, The Children’s Trust will recognize their employee of the year at the Champion for Children 2009 Award Ceremony.
The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.
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Media Contacts:
Eloise E. Rodriguez                                                    Sandra Camacho
Bristol Public Relations                                               The Children’s Trust
786-326-2221 Mobile                                                  305-571-5700 Office
305-447-6300 Office                                                  305-742-5123 Mobile

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