The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families is pleased to announce the Spring 2012 Connect with Kids Champions. This April, the Partnership received 17 nominations and seven were selected as champions.
Connect with Kids Champions are those ordinary people who make an extraordinary effort to connect with kids. They make it a priority to spend time and build relationships with children and teens. Champions come from all walks of life – a champion could be a neighbor, a friend, a young person, a business, a parent or a professional working with young people. What sets Connect with Kids Champions apart is their intentional and deliberate attentiveness to the needs of young people in Arlington County.
The following individuals and groups have been awarded this special recognition.
Kelly Wilner: For her work with the Best Buddies program which pairs high school teens with young people who have developmental disabilities. Here, she puts her passion for being inclusive into action. She is a young woman who acts on her conviction that all people, no matter what their abilities, should be treated with caring and respect. Kelly is a 2012 graduate of Yorktown HS.
Regine Gerard: For her work as the Independent Living Coordinator for Arlington County’s Foster Care program. Regine is a tireless advocate for youth and is always willing to “go the extra mile.” She supports and encourages these young people in their transition to independent living, holding high expectations for them and a firm belief in their ability to succeed.
Octavia Harris: For the care and commitment she brings to her work as a resource assistant, lunchroom monitor, and In-School Alternative Program Coordinator at Swanson MS. Her caring and supportive attitude coupled with her high academic and behavioral expectations is a gift to all the young people at Swanson.
Kaylyn Pennock: For her volunteer work with SCAN of Northern Virginia’s weekly ABC’s of Parenting Class. Kaylyn is consistently kind, giving, dedicated and responsible with the children. She models caring, respectful behavior and is intentional about ensuring that the children feel loved and cared for while they are with her. Kaylyn is a Fairfax high school student and has been volunteering once a week for over two years with SCAN.
Hayley Vause: For her volunteer work over the past five years at the Arlington Housing Corporation (AHC) After-School Program at the Berkeley. Hayley brings a positive, caring and supportive attitude to the children in the Berkley after-school program. She understands the importance of building relationships with the children over time and has rarely missed a volunteer day in five years.
Sandy Harter: For his volunteer work with the students at Gunston MS. As a member of the Crystal City-Pentagon Rotary Club he has served as the liaison for the Rotary in their long-standing Partnership with Gunston MS. Sandy worked to help integrate community service into the culture at Gunston, starting and sustaining the Gunston Interact Club. Through his enthusiasm and friendly approach, he draws students into these activities and keeps them involved.
Randy Huiss: For his work as an Arlington Little League coach for the Orioles Minor team. Coach Randy was clear about his goals right from the start: have fun, be safe, learn good sportsmanship and become better baseball players. He worked to ensure that every game was a positive experience that included teaching good sportsmanship based on respect for each other. He worked hard to ensure that all the kids play and learn – and that included trying any position they wanted to try.