BEAVERCREEK — Greene County Children Services and Michael’s House Child Advocacy Center jointly hosted the annual “Blue Ribbon Breakfast” April 24 to honor outstanding child advocates from law enforcement, the community and children services. The winners of Children Services’ 6th annual Child Abuse Prevention Art Contest were also announced at the event.
Most of the 13 winning grade school students were present with their parents and other family members to accept their awards.
The Blue Ribbon Breakfast is held each year in April to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During the event, Child Advocate of the Year Awards are presented. Approximately 150 people attended the event, which was held at Walnut Grove Country Club.
The keynote speaker was Jamole Callahan, also known as “Mr. Motivator” — a child welfare advocate and nationally known motivational speaker. Callahan, who spent much of his childhood in foster care, now works to improve the foster care system on a local, state, and national level.
Child Advocate Awards were presented by Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer; Judge Adolfo Tornichio, Greene County Juvenile Court; and Pat Mazeika, Adoption and Independent Living Program supervisor for Greene County Children Services. Each Child Advocate Award winner received a plaque from Greene County Children Services, along with letters of commendation from State Sen. Bob Hackett (R-Springfield), State Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek), and U.S. Cong. Mike Turner (R-Dayton).
Art contest awards were presented by Teresa Wiles, manager of Michael’s House Child Advocacy Center, and Greene County Commissioners Tom Koogler and Dick Gould. Each winner received a cash prize from children services, and each winner’s school will receive a matching prize. Winning artwork will be featured in a 2020 calendar to be published and distributed by Greene County Children Services. Along with the cash prize, each art contest winner received a framed copy of their original artwork and an award certificate from children services.
Awards and recipients:
— The Child Advocate of the Year Award in the “Community” category went to Jason and Stacie Barnett, House Parents for Oesterlen Respite and Resource Center in Springfield.
— The Child Advocate of the Year Award in the “Law Enforcement” category went to one former and five current members of the Detective Division of the Xenia Police Division: recently retired Captain Alonzo Wilson, Detective Doug Sparks, Detective Holly Clay, Detective Jeff Moore, Detective David Wilson, and Detective Matt Miller.
— The Child Advocate of the Year Award in the “Children Services” category went to Ashley Dawes, a youth coordinator who specializes in preparing teen foster children for the transition to independent living.
— The Grand Prize winner of the art contest was Kaitlyn Mack, a fifth-grade student at Cedarville Elementary School. Mack received a $100 prize and her artwork will be featured on the cover of the 2020 Children Services calendar.
— Four students received $50 prizes for their artwork: Taryn Franz and Cooper Hardy from Cedarville Elementary; Oliver Peck from St. Brigid School in Xenia; and Maisy Kinnison from Legacy Christian Academy in Xenia.
— Eight students received $25 prizes for their artwork: Maggie Sahlbom from Bellcreek Intermediate School in Bellbrook; Autumn Blagg, Natalie Nolan, and Cydnie Rigato from Fairborn Intermediate School; Elizabeth Caraway from Cedarville Elementary; Jacob Cancino from Legacy Christian Academy; and Regan Dunn and Caleb Goecke from St. Brigid School.