The 2021 Champion for Children award recipient was announced recently during LACASA’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council’s virtual “Plant a Pinwheel Celebration.” Sandra Parker of Stockbridge was named the winner in honor of her personal, professional, and community-wide work supporting and empowering children and youth in Livingston County.
The Champion for Children award is a joint effort between the CAP Council and the Great Start Collaborative of Livingston County to recognize outstanding individuals who devote significant time and energy to helping children in Livingston County.
Parker is employed by Karen Bergbower and Associates as a Community Prevention Specialist and Outreach Coordinator, and was nominated by several coworkers and colleagues. Her nomination stood out to the selection committee as one that demonstrates the concept of being a Champion of Children at all levels- personally, professionally, and as a community leader.
Parker and her husband are licensed foster parents and have taken children in need into their own home, as well as provided respite for stressed children and families. She works in the Pinckney Community Schools district, running groups covering anxiety, depression, substance use, and other topics. According to her nomination letters, she advocates for students no matter what their needs, and her “ability to see goodness underneath [and] her tenacity in reaching out to students has continually impressed us.” Parker’s “sense of humor and patience come through to students who can’t help but trust her.”
Not only does Parker work to support youth, she empowers them to take the lead in their own endeavors by working with youth on a Youth-Led Summit in Pinckney and in the organizations of It Stops With Students, Students Taking a New Direction, and Students Leading Students. Parker “wants all students to reach their potential and beyond.”
Parker also advocates for children at the community level. She is active in Family Life Ministries at Shalom Lutheran Church in Pinckney and is part of the Livingston Council for Youth and Pinckney Community Youth Development Initiative.
“Many of us think of child abuse prevention as being only direct intervention in cases of abuse, or working with high-risk families,” said Holly Naylor, LACASA’s Director of Family Prevention and Education. “But child abuse prevention can take many forms, including being the positive role model and consistent support person for a child or young adult. Sandra exemplifies this definition of prevention- she works with and supports youth in every aspect of her life, and our entire community is better off because of it.”
April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, is when CAP launches its annual Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign in Livingston County and hosts the Plant a Pinwheel Celebration. A recording of the virtual Plant a Pinwheel event is available to watch on LACASA’s Facebook page.
For questions about CAP or any of its programs, contact Holly Naylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 517-548-1350.
LACASA Center is a local nonprofit organization that provides programs and services for abuse victims and survivors. This independent agency also conducts education and awareness programs aimed at protecting children in Livingston County. Visit lacasacenter.org for more information about how you can help prevent child abuse.