At last week’s 18th annual Champions for Children event, the Maine Children’s Alliance honored distinguished Mainers for their work fighting hard for children. The Champions for Children “Giraffe Awards” were presented to individuals and organizations who are “sticking their neck out for children.”
Indeed the 2012 honorees work tirelessly against many challenges to support and protect Maine’s children.
- The newly created Director’s Award–to Representative Margaret Rotundo of Lewiston, minority leader of Maine’s legislative Appropriations Committee. In an exceptionally challenging policy environment at the Legislature, Rep. Rotundo was the primary leader in the fight against severe budget cuts proposed by the current Administration. When funding cuts were proposed for crucial state services and programs, Rep. Rotundo repeatedly stood up for kids and families in poverty, workers without jobs, seniors needing medical help, people with disabilities, and more.
- Two Individual Giraffe Awards–to Dr. Victoria Rogers, Director of The Kids CO-OP at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center for her work combating childhood obesity; and to Douglas Patrick, Director of New Programs at Woodfords Family Services for his work at Woodfords and previously with Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health, providing services to children with developmental challenges.
- Three Youth Awards–to Julia Bluhm, Maya Brown, and Izzy Labbe-all three girls are members of the Girls Advisory Board of Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a non-profit organization in Waterville dedicated to the health and well-being of girls and women and carrying out their mission by creating opportunities, developing programs, and providing services that empower girls and women. Through a petition drive, social media campaign and an eventual meeting with publishers, these three young women convinced Seventeen Magazine to stop digitally altering the models in their photo shoots.
- One Organization Leader Award-to the Children’s Center: Early Intervention and Family Support in Augusta, led by executive director Jonathan Leach, for its 45 years of providing high quality inclusive child care for children with special needs.
S. Donald Sussman