April 5, 2019–SCAN celebrated the work of five local heroes at the 17th Annual Allies in Prevention Awards to kick off National Child Abuse Prevention Month. With special guest emcee Leon Harris from NBC4, the event also featured Keynote Speaker Dr. Heather Pfeifer, who presented an introduction to the compelling Illuminations training. The event was made possible by sponsors including AT&T, Inova, and Burke & Herbert Bank.
The 2019 Allies in Prevention Awards were presented to:
Annette Amendiola | Alexandria
Annette Amendiola is a Deputy Court Clerk in the City of Alexandria’s Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court. In a role where she is certainly not required to go above and beyond for the many children she sees in court every day—that’s exactly what she does.
“She has great concern for Alexandria’s children alleged to be abused and neglected,” notes her nominator, who witnesses her care and attention to detail, whether it’s ensuring a file is processed in a timely manner or being certain legal procedures are followed. Her goal is always to make sure that the most vulnerable children are able to have their hearings on schedule and without delay. She calls attorneys, social workers, and CASA volunteers to alert them about everything from necessary forms to new appointments. Annette is a shining example of how any person who comes in contact with children can prioritize their wellbeing and have a positive impact on their lives.
Kendra Burlingame | Arlington
Kendra Burlingame is a CASA Volunteer with the Alexandria/Arlington CASA Program. Immediately after being sworn in as a volunteer in the Fall of 2016, Kendra was assigned to advocate for three siblings in Arlington. She has been tirelessly advocating for them ever since—committing more than 440 hours to their case in that time. This includes meeting with the children and their mother, attending school and DHS meetings, and working with other professionals involved in the case. When the children moved to Maryland, Kendra did not let distance keep her from her work. She helped them prepare for the change by helping the mother with financial assistance for before and after-school care, attending IEP meetings, and meeting with old and new teachers to plan a smooth transition for the children. What’s more, Kendra continues to meet with the family on a monthly basis. Judges and GALs have commended her in court, and her nominator knows why:
“Kendra’s love for and commitment to children who have been abused and neglected is obvious through her hard work, motivation and compassion in her role as an advocate.”
Adriana Hill | Prince William
Adriana Hill is a School Parent Liaison at Westgate Elementary School in the Prince William County School district. Like many parent liaisons, she talks to parents, teaches parenting classes, and works with volunteers. But Adriana’s nominator describes her as “a feisty, determined trailblazer,” which means her work does not stop there. Westgate is 80% Spanish-speaking, and 100% of the students walk to school. Many of the students are dealing with the challenges of immigration, drugs, gangs, and poverty.
“Adriana works tirelessly to address the needs of the whole child,” notes her nominator. Adriana worked to establish a school food bank—the only one in Prince William County—as well as a holiday gift drive for students in need. She is a trained Systematic Training for Effective Parenting class facilitator, and spent free time in her summers at Parent Facilitator training with Virginia Cooperative Extension.
“Adriana understands that meeting the physical, emotional, and educational needs of a family helps reduce and eliminate child abuse and neglect,” adds her nominator. “She does this work without fanfare. She humbly and happily relishes the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students.”
Suheir Kafri | Loudoun
Suheir Kafri is the lead social worker at the ADAMS (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) Center, a faith-based nonprofit that serves more than 6,000 children and families in the region. In her role, Suheir recognized the importance of talking about child sexual abuse prevention. She worked with the administration to bring the sometimes difficult issue to the forefront of discussions, eventually scheduling a Darkness to Light Stewards of Children training for all leaders working with youth at the center. She received such a positive reaction, notes her nominator, for “stepping out in boldness to bring such a tough topic to the organization…It takes courage to go against what others may feel is unnecessary and step out in faith.” Suheir also serves on the Loudoun Trauma-Informed Community Network’s steering committee, working collaboratively to build trauma awareness across Loudoun County. Her commitment to educating community members on topics like child sexual abuse and trauma is changing lives.
“Suheir Krafi is a kind, courageous force,” adds her nominator. “She’s a true champion of child abuse prevention.”
Mary Beth Salomone Testa | Fairfax
Mary Beth Salomone Testa is the Northern Virginia consultant for Voices for Virginia’s Children, the commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization. In her role with Voices, Mary Beth is a tireless champion of children’s rights and wellbeing. She connects with countless agencies, programs and advocates here in Northern Virginia—then carries the region’s voices, stories, and data to Richmond to advocate on behalf of our community’s children and families. Mary Beth advocates for smart policies and investments for child and family well-being; works to ensure policy makers are considering the whole child and family; and empowers advocates to tell the stories behind the data. Her passionate work at SCAN’s Advocacy Day this year, for example, resulted in parents and other community members turning their firsthand experience with abuse and trauma into impactful stories that can change the way elected officials both understand and create policy around critical issues.
“She believes passionately that every one of us can use our voice to make a real impact,” notes her nominator. “Mary Beth is a genuine champion of children’s rights.”
Explore a photo gallery from the event on SCAN’s Facebook page here.