Meet the 2012 Light of Hope Award Winners
Male role models and volunteers are hard to find, but when you do, what a remarkable sight to see. The boys at Bald Ridge Lodge have the joy of learning from Chris, who as a consistent volunteer, continually promotes well-being, sets an example of trust, compassion and honesty, while allowing the boys to feel comfortable in sharing their stories. Chris is genuine and caring, something that the boys can clearly see, accept and need. He is genuinely concerned for the well-being of the boys and does all he can to make every boy feel confident.
The go-to person for parents, teachers and kids, Kathy plays a vital role in the lives of all the students she comes into contact with by spearheading Love and Logic parent training, Olweus Violence Prevention, Trek Leaders, and Rainbows for Grieving Children, as well as classroom, small groups and individual guidance. Instead of just solving problems, Kathy guides students to learn to think for themselves and solve their problems. She ensures that fifth graders learn about personality traits and learning styles before they move on to middle school, advocating for a smooth transition. She knows the strengths and weaknesses of her students and works with each of them to help them along the way. She uses the resources available to her to help others, and finds new ones when they are needed.
Jennifer Cardenas is an Educational Advocate who provides positive and empowering advocacy for children to receive the support and services that they need and deserve in school. She advocates for children with special needs from severe, non-verbal autism, Down syndrome, and ADHD to rare medical conditions. She advocates for her students and strives to ensure that everyone who comes into contact with each child understands their needs and how they too can make a difference in their lives. She is at time the only Light of Hope to many of those she serves.
A Speech and Language Pathologist, Kim is always looking for the best treatments and therapies available that can better serve the kids she helps. The kids’ safety and ability to find their own voices is at the forefront of her remarkable work. She is always positive and encouraging, even when the recipient of her knowledge does not seem to see what lies ahead. Even after her kids have gone on to other grade levels or schools, she keeps in touch with them. Their success is her success. Her commitment is worthy of attention; her passion, extraordinary
An Elementary School Counselor with the magic touch to lead, Onalee has worked eagerly and arduously for the betterment of her students at Johns Creek Elementary School. Her works are magical – from 1-2-3 Magic to 2nd Cup Coffees, Onalee ensures that all who wish to be a part of the positive changes in the lives of the students she serves can do so by participating, learning and being active participants in the programs that she makes available to everyone – teachers and parents alike. She has touched many lives over the years. She starts every day with a smile and greeting, even on cold rainy days as she proudly serves during morning car duty as school. Seeing Onalee is a great way to start the day!
The Guru of Girl Scouting, Paula knows the value of leading by example. As a Girl Scout leader, she encourages girls to provide service to their communities. Her troops have been involved in countless community service opportunities locally and statewide. She encourages action, teaches with determination and knowledge, and leads by setting an example anyone would be happy to follow. She is currently planning a program for the Forsyth County Juvenile Court System based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Her own habits are exemplary, and those who benefit from her teaching are all the better for it.
There are some people that do not realize the mark they make in the lives of so many and how their dedication and devotion makes the greatest impact in such lives. Ali is a hard worker, a devoted volunteer and a dynamo in action. Her work at Haw Creek makes the school a better place. And many of those she touched through her generosity will never know her name. Ali has established collection drives to support Forsyth County families, she has worked with parents to empower them to help their children meet their goals, prepares surprise birthday parties for the kids, and, basically, gives of her time and resources with one goal in mind – do what’s right for all of those she comes into contact with by helping in any way she can.
Shelly’s commitment to the well-being and stability of the foster child she came to know and advocate for is exemplary. Her promise to help this young girl through school, court hearings, and life in general will forever be a part of this girl’s life. Shelly’s pledge and dedication to this young lady went far beyond the call of a guidance counselor, and extends even after the child no longer attends her school. Shelly challenged this young lady to put her best foot forward, to reach for the best, and to do her very best. She demonstrated an unconditional love that books are written about. A promise kept, a pledge maintained, and the faithfulness to a young lady that will forever be appreciated describes Shelly as one of life’s living treasures.
Some folks simply like to help and do so with earnest, passion and commitment. Christine is a motivational speaker and dedicated volunteer. She is driven to help others who may benefit from her knowledge, while sharing her knowledge not only in spoken words and actions but also as a writer. Studies have shown that the most effective mentor is one who is consistently there for the mentee, and taking a genuine interest in their lives. That is Christine. She not only helps her mentee but also, as needed, helps her sister and mother, making them feel that, no matter what life throws at them, together they can work it out and be successful. So whether putting together a flyer for a fundraiser, bowling at Stars & Strikes, or simply spending time with her mentee, Christine’s love for children is heartwarming.
An excellent leader who promotes safety, accountability, responsibility, respect and empathy, Rebecca continuously promotes recognition and praise for good deeds while encouraging personal growth among those she encounters in the Juvenile Court system. As the full time Administrator of the Juvenile Court in Forsyth County, Rebecca has spent the majority of her career devoted to the service of abused, neglected and at risk children. “Rebecca’s most striking quality is her passion to help others,” stated Judge J. Russell Jackson, Juvenile Court Judge. “This is never more apparent or more on display than when she takes valuable time out of her extremely busy schedule every month to address young people and their parents as part of a diversion program aimed at teaching young drivers who have received traffic citations to become better drivers.”
A special education middle school teacher who later moved on to an administrative role, Greg has effectively moved through the ranks to ensure that students are receiving the education they need and the assistance they require. He treats everyone with respect and kindness, never meeting a stranger. It’s not surprising to see him being hugged by students that he once taught, or those he once helped. His legacy knows no time, and there are many who have been touched by his compassion and efforts. Being born with Spina Bifida was nothing but an opportunity for him, as he learned to roll with the punches and make everything work out ok. He is a cherished educator; father, brother, son and friend.