April 5, 2016
Four individuals and one local organization were honored today at SCAN’s 14th Annual Allies in Prevention Awards luncheon for their work to change the lives of children, parents and families in Northern Virginia.
ABC7’s Leon Harris, a SCAN Honorary Board member, presented the awards with SCAN Executive Director Sonia Quinonez and Keynote Speaker Dr. Avidan Milevsky. SCAN also launched a new Parent Resource Center app, funded by AT&T, at the event.
The 2016 Allies in Prevention honorees are:
ALEXANDRIA | The Women’s Giving Circle
This year The Giving Circle, established in 2004 as the Women’s Giving Circle of Alexandria, reports that it has officially achieved its ambitious goal of serving Alexandria’s children by funding strategic and sustainable programs in the community. With collective donations of more than half a million dollars, the group has impacted thousands of Alexandria’s children and their parents, and the strategic impact of those gifts will be felt for many years to come. To complete its mission this year, The Giving Circle fulfilled its commitment to the Center for Alexandria’s Children (Alexandria’s Child Advocacy Center) with a gift of $30,000, for a total of $195,000 since its launch seven years ago. The Giving Circle’s remaining funds will be distributed as three final $6,000 gifts to support Alexandria’s youngest children through parental engagement at Healthy Families Alexandria, Reading Connection and the Family Links Program of Dream Dog Foundation. Supporters of The Giving Circle made it a priority to fund the organizations making the strongest connections with Alexandria’s children and families, and although The Giving Circle is coming to an end, the spirit of the organization will certainly live on through the organizations they empowered and the countless families forever impacted by their generous funding and passionate support.
ARLINGTON | Tabitha Kelly, LCSW, CPM
Tabitha Kelly is the Division Chief for the Child & Family Services Division in Arlington County’s Department of Human Services. She was previously the Child Welfare Bureau Chief and has worked tirelessly in child abuse prevention for more than 18 years. During her tenure as Bureau Chief, outstanding outcomes for children included increased permanency, decreased length of foster care stays and a less than two percent recidivism rate for child maltreatment. But beyond her focused work to improve the policies and programs of the system — including instituting the Protective Factors framework and implementing a Kinship Symposium — it is her passion to see each child and parent as an individual that sets her work apart. As her nominator notes, “She continues to nurture an organizational culture that seeks out the strengths within families, and harnesses those strengths to overcome challenges and succeed.” Tabitha’s own children seem to inspire her commitment to others: “When I am met with a tough decision,” she says, “I consider how I would act if this were my child; I want nothing less for them than I would want for my own. Every day I try to lead by example: modeling the way by doing what I say, being consistent with my values, and striving to create a sense of urgency and compassion for all the children and families we serve.” A member of her staff notes, “Tabitha Kelly embodies a vision of excellence and leadership in child welfare that inspires us to be our best every day.” Children and families across Arlington County have certainly been blessed by her effort and impact.
FAIRFAX | Burnette Scarboro
Burnette Scarboro was nominated because, as her nominator states, she has simply “always looked out for the welfare of children.” From her professional work in the Fairfax County Public School system to her experience as a leader on local and state PTA organizations, Burnette embodies what it means to see opportunities for prevention and take full advantage of them for the benefit of children. She is currently the Director of the South County Youth Network, a school-community coalition that builds community collaboration and implements quality drug and violence prevention strategies, programs and activities for adults and youth. Burnette’s commitment to making connections available to children is astounding — she has implemented everything from an Out-of-School Time program with computer/STEAM focus to Life Skills and anti-smoking programs to summer programs offering classes and meals to children while parents receive parenting and nutrition education. Burnette is, her nominator notes, a “wonderful, dedicated citizen who is an inspiration to our youth.” But she has also been an inspiration to other parents, school staff and community leaders, serving as PTA president at all three schools her own children attended (Stratford Landing, Carl Sandberg and West Potomac.) She also served on a Parent Commission for the Department of Education, the Lt. Governor’s Commonwealth Council for Childhood Success and the National Afterschool Alliance. Burnette’s daughter Syreeta, above, accepted the award on behalf of her mother.
LOUDOUN | Ellen Grunewald
Ellen Grunewald has served as “a tenacious advocate for children” in Loudoun County’s Department of Family Services (DFS) for more than 25 years. She has championed many new projects in that time, including the long-awaited Loudoun Child Advocacy Center, a historic achievement for an economically diverse, rapidly growing community. Loudoun has added about 2,500 children annually to its schools in recent years, and there has been a parallel growth in the degree and types of victimization of children, especially in the area of domestic violence. Ellen’s work on both primary and secondary prevention projects has prepared the county to address these challenges, and contributed to Loudoun County DFS’s recognition by the Commonwealth for its best practices, quality services and efficient budget. “Ellen is a role model and leader for all professionals working with children,” notes her nominator. In a field that can often be emotionally and professionally draining, Ellen pushes ahead tirelessly and helps others do the same, providing invaluable advice and motivation along the way. A trusted mentor, “she has been a pioneer in bringing new and innovative programs to Loudoun County,” says her nominator. Ellen’s commitment to building connections among community partners like the County Attorney’s Office, the Child Advocacy Center, Loudoun Citizens for Social Justice and local law enforcement is helping to reduce victimization and the long-term effects of abuse and neglect. Ellen is retiring this year, but her contributions to the Loudoun community will certainly affect its children, parents and families for generations to come.
PRINCE WILLIAM | Carlos Castro
Carlos Castro’s story as an entrepreneur and community leader has been covered by everyone from USA Today to The Washington Post to NPR. But it is his connection with and commitment to the youth in his community, notes his nominator, that makes his vision and impact on abuse prevention so remarkable. A successful businessman who immigrated to the US from El Salvador in 1980, Carlos has been a passionate advocate for immigrants ever since, serving as a critical bridge between the Hispanic community and greater Prince William. “When he speaks,” notes his nominator, “both sides listen…he is always respected.” When Carlos sees opportunities to empower children and young adults in his community, he takes the initiative to make things happen. He employs students on probation, mentors boys at risk of gang participation and provides his grocery store employees with opportunities to learn how they can take action to recognize and prevent things like human trafficking and children being left alone in cars. Carlos is a father of four and has served on the PTO of his children’s schools, as well as HOLA and the Potomac Health Foundation. He serves as an unrivaled role model in our community, giving a voice to and empowering the youth he sees as the future of the community.
- Learn more about the Kids Need Connections campaign at www.scanfamilies.org/kidsneedconnections