Covid-19 Hero Nominees Listing
Brittany Amos is beyond the Epitome of Strength. She saves the lives of youth on a daily basis. Her tools and methods involve enhancing the knowledge of the high school students. Math and Science are imperative to survive in today's world. Brittany cares deeply and is concerned about her students futures. She aspires to inspire and this is apart of her legacy. It takes a special individual to teach, mold and develop young minds. Brittany Amos is filled with ambition, humor, fun and hope. She displays the meaning of a true hero.
I want to nominate my mom because she works with the homeless students at my school. She makes sure her students and other at-risk youth have food, detergent, school supplies.
Cesar has shown tremendous follow through in being able to keep our youth and staff safe. There was an incident a few weeks back when youth ran away and resulted in a very highs risk situation that led to law enforcement additionally arriving to further support our campus. Cesar was able to assist with gathering information and updating law enforcement while assisting to mitigate risk to our campus. Due to his diligence we were able to keep the campus safe.
Additionally, Cesar continues to show compassion amidst all that is going on in the world. We recently had a youth who had a family member who tested positive with COVID, Cesar was one of the first staff willing to work with him while he was in quarantine and as we awaited test results. (Which thankfully came back negative)
Denise has been a trooper during the pandemic. While we've had to work remote Denise has been helping her client with e-learning. They now call her instead of having to chase them down. She went out and brought boredom busting activities for her clients to help break up some of the monatony in their lives. They were so appreciative they wrote her letters and bought her a gift card that she had to decline. She took the air hugs instead!
Katie Blodgett has been working tirelessly with the rest of the team at Outreach to figure out how to help her clients, who are homeless young women in Indianapolis, navigate this COVID situation. It’s very hard to “shelter in place” when you might not have a place to go. Katie has been dedicated to make sure she is extra engaged with youth at this point in time, while also maintaining safety and practicing social distancing. Katie has helped with the creation of a new drop-off system to bring groceries, hygiene items, clothes, and other necessities to youth so that they do not need to come to the program center. On top of all this, Katie has been doing this as the lone female case manager at Outreach when there are normally three. COVID has put a halt on the hiring process, so Katie is still sticking it out by herself and reaching as many clients as she possibly can. She’s the definition of a hero youth worker, and she does it all with a fiery passion and smile on her face.
John Wesley United Methodist Church
David has risen to any challenge placed before home during COVID-19 quarantine. While he cannot see or meet with his 100+ youth group in person, he is engaging with the groups online 2-3 times per week in a similar schedule to regular times and events. David continues to innovate and find ways to engage with his middle school and high school youth group with fun virtual events such as Madlibs, in home scavenger hunts, talent show, lip-synch challenge, bad dad job joke competition in a bracket format, zoom based Pictionary, group game of Uno, Team Trivia with A read my lips game online and more. He has taught himself so much technology to make all of this happen. The families associated with youth group are so thrilled he has offered positive and fun-filled opportunities to keep something “normal” during these unusual days. Many of his regular adult volunteers are participating as they usually do each week.
Our church is so grateful to him for keeping the strong ties in the group going during this time.
Brian is a group home supervisor who works with young adult males. Brian's team was hit hard during this time and Brian has worked countless hours in his program to make sure that his guys continue to accomplish their goals. Brian is a strong leader and has been the rock that his group home has needed to continue going forward. The students at Cory house appreciate everything that Brian does for them.
Mr. Louis has energy and passion for serving our youth, even in the toughest of circumstances. His passion for diversity and inclusion have helped shape the popular Enrichment Program at the Club where the kids are able to explore different cultural topics each day. From geography jeopardy, to decorating for Lunar New Year, the kids are exposed to a wide variety of cultures with Louis’s leadership. While at the Club 3 days a week during the COVID-19 pandemic, he not only makes phone calls home to check in on youth that participate in his programs, he also helps to serve 500 meals a day. In addition, he is the co-owner of Utopia Dance Co., which provides free dance lessons via YouTube for kids to stay active while not at school.
Casey has been instrumental in bringing the vision for client led, trauma informed programming from something we say we do to something everyone can see and actually teach, learn and practice. As Clinical Director, Casey was able to effortlessly stop everything to understand what's happening with a child's behavior and identify solutions to help a kid get their day back on track. Now as Vice-President of Clinical, Casey leads by example, explaining the how and they why behind trauma informed care and social and emotional learning while weaving in Advocates' core values and staying true to the founder's mission and vision of care for the worlds most vulnerable people - high-risk youth. On behalf of all of the lives impacted by Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living, thank you for your commitment, your drive and your sacrifice, Casey!
Mirande has worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 crisis to make sure Dream Center families are well taken care of. She's worked diligently as part of our Grocery Popup Co-op, providing vital groceries and household supplies for families in need. She's reached out each and every day to connect with kids, identify their needs and fill in those gaps. She's working on innovative solutions regarding our kids' academics, and always has a friendly word and an encouraging message for her staff. Mirande is one of my personal heroes - she's outstanding in everything she does.
Kayce started with as a case management intern. She was offered a position a youth worker as she completed the second semester of her internship. While Covid-19 brought an abrupt halt to the internship, Kayce quickly poured the same passion into her work on the floor in Shelter House. She has been willing to step into her new role and continue to be a resource to the community. She brings case management experience to the youth work role and handles it with professional flair. During this difficult time, Kayce has been a hero for our agency and the families we serve.
Ms. Kara is our spunky College and Career Readiness Lead that has had to do a lot of adapting to ensure that our youth, especially our graduating seniors, are ready for their next steps after high school. So with college tours prohibited and schools cancelled, she has stepped up to do wellness calls to the youth she serves to ensure they have submitting their recommendation letters, updated their resumes, and have access to resources they need to succeed.
Jesse Dillow is the State-Level Youth Coordinator for the TAYLRD grant with KY Partnership for Families and Children. Jesse has repeatedly gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis. Jesse has worked hard to find ways to provide internet access for youth and young adults in order for them to access mental health services and supports. Jesse has faced many obstacles but has remained persistent in his mission to make sure young people in need have support. As a result of his efforts, many young people now have access to these critical supports. Jesse's compassion, positive attitude, and determination make him a hero!
This staff has shown that even through hard times he rallys through and comes out strong! I cannot thank Trent enough for the solid team work he has provided us!
Frank was one of many that started CYCCB.org. He was the first president of the board. Over the next 10 years he remains on the board and works on the office to keep things running. You would think that would be enough.....but no. He also is a presenter, writes articles, and works at a camp with youth. Frank uses every minute of every day thinking Youth Care. Without Frank and many others like him, youth care would still be considered glorified babysitting.
Kevin has worked at Lad Lake for 34 years as a Youth Care Worker, Supervisor, and Coordinator. He has always been dedicated to helping youth grow and develop skills to assist them in becoming the best person they can be. During the COVID 19 pandemic, Kevin has again stepped up as a leader in our organization by supporting our Managers and staff through very challenging times. Kevin is consistently there whenever staff our youth need to talk and solve problems. Kevin is extremely valuable to our program and has been remarkable through these challenging times. Kevin is an excellent example of living Lad Lake's mission of "Guiding the Growth of at-risk-youth in order that they reach their potential and live responsibly"
Desiree is the Program Director and a hero for many. When Covid-19 shut down the schools on Friday, Desiree worked all weekend long contacting parents to find out if they were Essential workers and create a list of kids to still attend, setting up hand-sanitizing stations, re-changing the the front entrance for only kids after getting their temperature checks, and then program planning for the week. Desiree created a schedule for all Club members to be called each week, and set up meal deliveries to those families that couldn't get into town. As the one week, shut-down turned into weeks and months, Desiree took on the Virtual Programming to ensure kids who couldn't be at the Club, were being engaged through programming from STEM, Art, homework, or just talking with their favorite staff and Club members each week...Desiree stepped up to the challenge to meet kids both physically and virtually, she is a true Covid-19 Youth Worker Hero!!
Callum is a CYC graduate from Centennial College in Toronto Ontario. He works tirelessly, in our intensive youth residential treatment home, as a program coordinator. Callum, who has only been in the field for 3 shorts years, has made an incredible impact on the filed of child and youth advocacy already. Callum has mentored many new CYC graduates, who are just beginning their careers, showing them some tried and true strategies, he has learned along the way, in order to reach youth, that have been typically hard to reach previously. Callum ensures that staff at the Centre feel valued, that client's are heard and that families are supported. He does this work entirely, with a bright and broad smile on his face. Amid Covid 19, Callum has worked very long hours, alongside staff in the program to ensure clients are fully supported, expecting nothing in return.
Callum, while just starting his own journey in the filed of CYC really, has been instrumental in forming and shaping new CYC graduates and staff alike at our Centre. His work is exemplary, his maturity is remarkable and his passion for helping youth is admirable to say the very least.
Emily has been extremely flexible and willing to try new things during the pandemic to meet the needs of the youth and families she works with. She quickly found HIPAA compliant forums to ensure she was abiding by HIPAA guidelines in order to facilitate assessment, therapy, and case management via a virtual forum. Emily continues to come up with and share ideas on how to best meet the needs of youth and families. Emily has shown that, despite these uncertain times, she remains positive which in turn, helps the youth and families that she is working with feel safe and confident in her ability to help. Additionally, Emily has found and implemented new ways to manage her stress to make sure she is meeting the needs of the youth and families she works with with a clear head.
Kristy is one of those staff who help create an atmosphere for our kids that is nurturing, validating, safe, and fun! She is always willing to go the extra mile to help a kid through a difficult day. She is the one that can be found supporting another staff after a rough time. She is the staff that will be the first to volunteer when there is a difficult task or a new process that needs to be implemented. Kristy is silly, kind, honest, and caring. We are so fortunate to have her as a member of the Northwest Passage family!
INDIANA AFTERSCHOOL TEAM
The Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) team has been fantastic in responding to COVID-19! Each year they host a conference for over 700 youth workers who support kids and families in afterschool spaces. This year, the challenge was to support and manage an entire two-day event virtually. The "Summit on Out-of-School Learning" has been a success, and many partners and sponsors contributed. They are currently without an executive leader and have pulled together in this time of crisis to work together fo rthe btterment of Indiana's youth workers!
It is impossible to select one name so I would like to nominate my entire team. My team/staff has been absolutely amazing during this pandemic and not skipping a beat. The boost the moral for the client and each other. As their manager, there is nothing that can be done to truly show how much they are appreciated however, this would be a start.
Thank you for the consideration.
Amber is a wonderful person that has dedicated to helping the youth of our community for many years.
Amber has worked with Family & Children's Center since 2012 and has been in her role as a Case Manager in the Independent Living Program since 2015. Amber helps youth aging out of the foster care system learn invaluable independent living skills, such as budgeting, finding and maintaining employment, securing stable housing, and exploring post-secondary education and training. Amber continues to show herself as a wonderful advocate for her youth and works in close partnership with many local landlords, universities, and employers. Amber is also very involved in Wisconsin's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) which allows former and current youth in the foster care system to provide a voice and advocate for all foster care youth in Wisconsin. Amber is always compassionate, positive, and determined to help all youth in her program. We are very fortunate to have her as a part of Family & Children's Center!
As our Pathways Managers for the Club teens we serve, Ms. Na's role is very important. She provides support, guidance, and mentorship to ensure that they are passing their classes, doing their homework, applying to colleges and jobs, as well as workforce development skills. In the midst of COVID-19, she has navigated the world of virtual programming to provide ways for our teens to maintain their connection to the Club. In addition to calls home, she plan and. implements Zoom meetings with our Youth Leaders, activity kits to keep up their engineering and arts skills, as well as virtual service projects to stay engaged with their Club and community from home.
Joan has been able to keep a positive attitude and provide support to the youth and staff she works with. At the beginning of the pandemic, Joan jumped right in and helped develop a plan to help the youth continue to get some academic work while waiting for schools to send out work. She has helped out with coming up with activities for the youth to participate in (including a weekly walking scavenger hunt) and has continued to go above and beyond with both helping the youth we serve and helping keep the morale high in the program.
Alyssa to me is someone who follows the procedures perfectly. She has shown true leadership during these hard times and I know I can trust her to do the right thing with the client, programming and the team.
Devon is AMAZING! As we shut down our in person gatherings due to the Stay at Home Order, she is unstoppable in helping youth meet requirements in order to not prolong their stay on juvenile probation. Not only is she making sure there is hope and support for kids to get things done, she is also making sure they skill build and have the opportunity for meaningful service to their community. She has recruited youth to assist with food preparation and packaging (at a safe distance and with all safety procedures in place) to meet the needs of other youth in our community. She has passed along home-based community service opportunities and has offered games and trainings virtually to help youth not only pass the time but learn new skills and engage in change talk. More importantly she has given youth hope - hope to complete their court ordered requirements in creative and safe ways and the knowledge that their community values them and that she values them. Devon is a SHE-RO without a doubt!
Dareishia continues to be a team player and is always willing to cover additional shifts for both our STRTP and Shelter program. She has not turned away from working with any youth during this time and continues to promote and encourage youth to wear their masks. Has also continuously reminded youth of the COVID concerns in our community if they choose to AWOL and has been successful in dissuading youth from running away. Dareishia spreads optimism and positivity in units with her presence and spirit and is always one to initiate engagement and activities in the units.
Natalie is a program supervisor at Genesee Lake School and works with young men with autism. She has worked extra hard during this time to make sure her guys remain engaged and are having fun with all of the changes to our daily routines.
Deneane, is a leader in the Out of School Time and Youth work field. She has spent the last 2 months leading one of our youth programs caring for essential health care and first responders children. This has allowed those essential employees to focus on the work we need them to do.
Randall is Residential Program Director at Children’s Bureau, Inc. a non-profit agency located in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has served this agency for 5 years in a variety of capacities. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Randall has been tasked with repurposing a shelter program to meet the needs of youth that have been impacted by the virus through exposure or parents unable to provide care. The shelter is open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Staff assist with providing education, medical needs, shelter, nutrition and recreational activities. While this transition has been difficult, Randall remains calm and supportive of youth, their families and staff. Randall is always optimistic and strives to create a positive environment for the youth. We are so proud of our youth worker hero, Randall, and all he contributes to youth in Indiana.
In her role, Kady oversees the implementation of many of the Club’s programs for our 8-12 year old members. The MakerSpace, Brain Center, Tech Lab, and Enrichment Room are the program areas Kady creates fun and educational curriculums for. Kady’s programs offer ways for youth to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concepts in a variety of hands-on learning methods. Ms. Kady did not let COVID-19 stop her from providing these programs to our Club members as she has worked diligently to move them all to online platforms that our youth can access from home. She even does read-alongs of their favorite books.
Ed has exemplified servant leadership during this difficult time. Ed has worked on adapting the daily operations at the OC (our drop-in center) so that youth, staff, and our community are safe. He has taken the lead collecting and organizing resources for youth, both existing and COVID-related. Most importantly, Ed is always willing to assist in whatever way is needed and he does so with a spirit of gratitude.
Kaitlin is a residential therapist in our facility and really stepped up all while working from home in light of the coronavirus. She's pushed herself to think outside of the box to ensure that youth are still able to participate in needed services. Without hesitation she's transitioned services into a virtual format becuase it's what is right for kids.
Like all child care providers in Indiana, the YMCA closed back in March. It was soon evident there was a need for emergency care for our health workers. Ashley is up and at 'em every morning, posting a beautiful sunrise photo from the Y each morning, providing front line care as all other staff are laid off. Leadership at its finest.
Zach grew up at the LeGore Club, where he now serves as the Program Director. He is extremely passionate about the work that he does with young people, and serves as a true role model, having grown up in the neighborhood and overcome multiple obstacles in his own childhood. Despite the recent challenges due to COVID-19, Zach has continued to reach out to the young people and families that are served by his Club, and has offered excellent fitness and basketball trainings using Virtual Programming. His virtual programs are some of the highest attended offered by anyone in our organization.
Brandon is a program supervisor and works with young men with disabilities. Brandon's group has been hit hard with staffing shortages during this time and Brandon has worked countless hours to ensure the success of his program and his staff. Brandon has been very creative to keep his guys engaged including Skype gym workouts from some of our parents in California and video calls with our residential guys and their families almost daily.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Alysza has stepped up in a major way. She has picked up shifts on our 24 hour facility that has not closed during this time. She has been an anchor on the weekend shifts, but has found a way to be a solid contributor to weekdays now, ensuring that the youth in need have someone to turn to. She approaches each shift and task with a can do attitude and a smile to match. Alysza is a valuable asset to our program, our agency, and the community that we serve.
I am honored to nominate Ms. Bobbi Taylor as a COVID-19 Youth Worker Hero. I have known Bobbi for over two years and worked closely with Bobbi as a community advocate and Young Professional Consultant at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. Bobbi provides consultation services and advisement to the organization to ensure youth and young adult voices are lifted up in prevention. Prior to COVID-19, Bobbi lead and organized efforts to ensure young parents have supports and services needed to thrive. When COVID-19 hit Nebraska, Bobbi reached out to learn how she could help. Bobbi started gathering resources and developed youth-focused resource one-pagers to help spread the word about how young people could get help. That lead to Bobbi creating a social media page specifically aimed at making sure young people had access to all of the resources and supports available during the pandemic. Bobbi also wanted to create a place where young people could socially connect with one another. Bobbi shares COVID-19 resources, posts "live" videos to offer parenting tips during social distancing, and provides space for young people to "check-in" with one another. Bobbi also uses what she learns to connect nationally through her role as a Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative young fellow in hopes that youth on a national level can connect to supports and resources. Bobbi has achieved all of this while also excelling in college e-learning courses and being an outstanding mother to her three young children. Bobbi's passion for advocacy and support for young people is admirable and worth honoring. Bobbi is truly a hero for her peers in the state and an inspiration for other young professionals looking to make a big impact.
BOBBI TAYLOR (2nd Nomination)
Bobbi has risen to the challenge of the coronavirus and helped others connect to resources. She's been an advocate on behalf of young people who have system involvement, whether that is foster care or juvenile justice.
She has been active on social media spreading information about the virus and health concerns. In addition, she has helped create simple one-page overviews of how they can access resources, apply for unemployment and find help.
She's gone above and beyond in collecting information by calling service providers and medical centers to check on their availability. She is focused on making sure others have what they need to survive in this time and not go hungry or without resources.
Linda Tedder deserves to be recognized for her can do and will do spirit, her amazing empathy and her sense of humor! Although she is working from home right now, she checks in with everyone to make sure that spirits are high, that we all have what we need or want and that we are doing well. She uses her unique sense of humor to keep connecting and it makes the days past so much faster. She is responsive and decisive even in the face of a pandemic and is always forward thinking to make sure we have supplies and needs to take on whatever comes our way. And, even though she is not required to do "direct youth work" in the formal sense of the word, she does so everyday - by connecting with kids, by helping youth see their potential and their worth and by behinds the scene support of direct care staff so they can truly make an impact. She is amazing to work with!!
DEVONNA "D" WILLIAMS
Ms. D has been a powerful role model and leader during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does she come to the Cub at 6AM to help prepare 500 meals to be distributed to our youth, she also provides online fitness challenges and videos to ensure that our youth are up and moving to take a break from screen time. As our Sports & Fitness Manager, she also ensures that the youth she mentors that are graduating high school this spring are keeping up with their homework and doing what they need to get ready for their next chapter.
As an essential worker, Maureen is working 25 hours a week serving youth in person experiencing homelessness. Maureen is juggling her Ph.D program, working at Stepping Stones, and making sure her mental health and self care are in check.