Winners of the Priority Children’s 2015 Children’s Champion Awards

FLINT, MI —  The 20th Annual Children Champions Awards recognized more than 140 nominees from the Genesee County community, including 80 high school students from 21 local school districts.

The event was held at the Riverfront Banquet Center in Downtown Flint, with more than 1,000 people in attendance with entertainment by the Linden High School Drumline. The Children’s Champion Awards Breakfast is an opportunity to highlight unsung heroes whose efforts are to improve the lives of children through their efforts through volunteerism and other initiatives.

Nine awards and two scholarships were presented to individuals, businesses, organizations and initiatives, nominated by people in their community, whose efforts made a meaningful impact to children.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization, Priority Children launched a campaign called “25 Ways to Support Kids in Genesee County.” In honor of the award ceremony, the Flint and Genesee County proclaimed Feb. 6 as “Children’s Day” to encourage good deeds for children in the community.

Priority Children’s methods are centered around bringing “community members together to devise and implement feasible, practical action plans to improve the health and well-being of our children.”

The 2015 award recipients are:

Outstanding Business, Organization, Government Agency or Community Initiative that offers, supports or provides Healthy and Safe Places for Children and Youth

  • The Zoie Sky Foundation. “The Zoie Sky mission is to see that every child in our community has a safe, comfortable place to get a good night’s sleep, a space that is uniquely theirs. Each child is provided a new bed, mattress, dresser, fresh paint and window coverings.”
  • VSA Michigan-Genesee County. “VSA Michigan-Genesee County has provided visual and performing arts opportunities for hundreds of children and youth with disabilities in our area for over 20 years. VSA has provided, for over 20 years, a voice through the arts for hundreds of children and youth in Genesee County who may be unable to express themselves otherwise.”
  • Raise It Up! Youth Arts & Awareness. “Raise It Up! Youth Arts & Awareness, is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that promotes youth engagement, expression, and empowerment through the performing/literary arts and social activism.”
  • The Blueberry Ambassador Program. “Established in February 2014 with a cryptic message, “I’m concerned about the blueberries” on a billboard, Phil Shaltz wanted to create a program to instill in everyone to care for one another and create an ‘avalanche of good’ in the community.”

Robert E. Weiss Outstanding Youth Award and Curbco Inc. Scholarship

  • Mariel Hernandez, senior at Carman-Ainsworth High School.

Robert E. Peterson Caring Adult Award

  • Mark Williams, retired Flint police officer.

Crim Fitness Foundation Active and Healthy Leader Award

  • Joe Simpson, program director of The First Tee of Eastern Michigan.

James T. Dover Jr. Outstanding Senior Award

  • Kenneth Bell, volunteer and one of the historic black paratroopers of the Triple Nickle in WWII.

Curbco Vocational Education Award and Curbco Inc. Scholarship

  • Madison Ringlein, volunteer and business owner.

Bob Emerson Scholarship Recipient

  • Jessica Eller, student at University of Michigan-Flint.