Held on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at the DoubleTree at Reid Park, this year's Champions for Children & Families Tucson luncheon was the best, yet! With over 400 guests and 10 sponsors preliminary count puts your support at $54,000! And we're still counting online and mailed guest donations. Thank you for all you do to support children and families in Arizona!
Visit News & Notes for photos of the day's events!
Announcing our 2017 Winners
Martha K. Rothman Lifetime Achievement Award
The Honorable Karen Adam
Nominated by Kaytlyn Yurn-Duffy and Barbara Atwood, with letters of support from Kathleen A. McCarthy, Dean Cristoffel, Michael Aaron, and Rodney J. Erwin
Innovative and passionate, Judge Karen Adam has been a fierce advocate for improvement of access to justice in Arizona and beyond. As presiding Judge of the Pima County Juvenile Court (PCJC) bench from 2011-2014, she led major juvenile justice reform efforts which resulted in far more humane treatment of juveniles, including unshackling children for court hearings and converting PCJC to a trauma-responsive court. Though she retired from the bench in 2015 after 34 years of service, Judge Adam continues to be active in state and national efforts to improve court outcomes for children and families, believing that every person has the right to be heard in a humane setting and to expect and receive fair procedures. Tireless in her mission, she serves on numerous councils, associations, boards and committees, as well as writes and lectures on juvenile and family law topics locally, nationally and internationally.
“Her integrity, compassion, knowledge and humanity in her field and in her life are unsurpassed. I wish every child in the legal system had a Judge Adam at their side.”
Champion for Children & Families Award
Angelica Elias and Edward Casillas
Nominated by Robert E. Heslinga, with letters of support from Catherine Ross, Kathleen Quigley and Joan L. Wagener, Vanessa Luna, and Michelle Orozco
Angelica and Ed, though not related, have become a formidable team as facilitators of AVIVA Children’s Services Parent Peer Support program, serving more than 600 families in the past five years. Each with their own experience of having their children removed by DCS, working through the fear and guilt to heal and successfully reunify their families, they were inspired to help others in similar situations. As parent mentors, they engage with parents, often in the darkest days of their lives, providing support and encouragement that can make the difference between reunification and severance.
“Because of their unique credentials, Angelica and Ed lend an air of authenticity and reality to programs designed to help families through this difficult time. They are, indeed, wounded healers and are outstanding examples of service to children and families.”
Gabe Zimmerman Emerging Champion Award
Grace Stocksdale, and Ron and Kristy Deakin – More than a Bed
Nominated by Stefanie Mathon
Grace, Kristy and Ron founded More Than A Bed, an organization that supports kinship, adopted and foster families by providing for practical needs. With multiple storage facilities around Tucson, they accept donations of personal and household items, then a couple of times a year, they hold “Give Without Measure” events allowing foster families to gather what they need free of charge. They also coordinate “Parents Night Out” events, providing foster parents with a few hours to themselves, again at no cost to the families.
“I’m proud to be affiliated with More Than A Bed and I’m happy to nominate them for the Gabe Zimmerman Emerging Champion Award.”
Giving Heart Award
SARSEF – Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation
Nominated by Kathleen Bethel
Teaching critical thinking and problem-solving through science and engineering to Arizona’s K-12, SARSEF has impacted nearly 1.8 million students over its 62 years, operating the first 57 solely with volunteers. What began as a regional science fair with 100 high school students under the University of Arizona, SARSEF serves over 95,000 students each year. The annual science fair now has 5,000 entrants, but the biggest impact is through its free, year-round, educational outreach to schools on STEM topics. Recognizing the growing gap in diversity in STEM fields, SARSEF expanded their efforts, providing increased assistance to students, parents and teachers with particular focus on under-represented students (females and minorities) in areas of poverty.
“SARSEF challenges students to use science, technology and engineering to solve problems they see in their community and make the world a better place. It has made Tucson a model community in national and international circles.”