Each year, Connecticut Voices for Children hosts our First for Kids Awards ceremony to recognize individuals and organizations for their public leadership and advocacy on behalf of Connecticut’s children, youth and families. We hope you’ll RSVP today for this year’s event, which will take place on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Pond House Café in West Hartford.
We’re excited about this year’s line-up of awardees and would like to share some information about why they were chosen and what they have accomplished on behalf of Connecticut’s kids.
- State Comptroller Kevin Lembo will receive our Public Service Award. To ensure that the state puts children first, we need to ensure transparency and accountability in the state budget. Comptroller Kevin Lembo has taken the lead in making state budget information more accessible to the people of Connecticut. Through his creation of the path-breaking Open Connecticut website and his advocacy for more open reporting of business tax credits, Kevin Lembo has successfully changed longstanding policy, making our state budget more transparent and facilitating more informed debate and decision-making.
- Dudley Williams, Jr. will receive our Transformational Philanthropy Award. Improving educational opportunities in urban schools must be a critical component of any state plan to reduce Connecticut’s alarming achievement and opportunity gap. In his role as Director of Corporate Citizenship and Diversity at GE Asset Management, Dudley Williams has been responsible for overseeing the GE Foundation’s Developing Futures Program to the Stamford Public Schools. This national initiative represents a multi-year, $225 million investment to facilitate systemic change to increase student achievement in six urban school districts. In addition to bringing philanthropic dollars to the Stamford Public Schools, Mr. Williams has helped to advance equitable opportunity in education through direct involvement, serving three terms on Stamford’s Board of Education and serving as Assistant to the State Commissioner of Education.
- The Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers will be recognized with our Leadership for Children Award. Students perform better when they show up for class healthy and ready to learn. School-based health centers ensure that children have easy access to a full array of health services – from immunizations to dental care to crisis intervention – regardless of ability to pay or insurance coverage. Connecticut currently has 88 school-based health centers in 22 communities, represented by the Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers. This networking and advocacy organization is active and engaged in efforts to address health disparities among children and families and to improve the health care delivery system for all residents of the state.
- Lexie Grüber will receive our Youth Voice Award. The most powerful and effective voices for youth are often youth themselves. Informed by her own experiences in foster care, Ms. Grüber has raised her voice at the state and national level to improve the lives of other young people in the child welfare system. As an intern for Congressman Jim McDermott, chair of the Congressional Foster Care Caucus, she worked to support legislation which protects children in foster care from frequent school changes. In Connecticut, she advocates for services to help youth transition successfully out of foster care, speaks to the need to improve the education of children in DCF care, and writes op-ed columns about needed improvements to child welfare practices.
We hope to see you on November 12! Please take a moment to RSVP and share this announcement with your networks!