The speaking portion opened with Child & Family President & CEO, Marty Sinnott, welcoming guests and giving a rundown of the past year. Child & Family clients were in crisis prior to COVID-19 and the pandemic has exacerbated issues like homelessness, job loss, food insecurity, and substance use disorder that affect people’s ability to keep themselves and their families safe. Due to the support of their many community partners, donors and dedicated staff and Board of Directors members, Child & Family has been able to offer basic needs, mental health support, childcare, and housing to provide safety to the at-risk children, families, and seniors throughout these uncertain times. The organization has remained opened throughout the year offering services desperately needed by their clients and finding creative solutions. Sinnott remarked “We have heroes in our midst. The staff of our Residential Program has always been available to care for the residents in their program. I’ve seen many acts of love from the Foster families taking in children who have been exposed and tested positive for COVID-19, as well as taking on virtual learning and quarantine. Thank you to our Elder Program staff, visiting at-risk seniors at their homes. And, congratulations to Sandpipers Early Learning Center for being one of the first childcare centers to open in the state back in July, providing so much to their students and families.”
During the presentation, awards were given out to those who have stood out this past year as leaders in our community. The 2020 Community Champion of the Year Award was given to Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) for all the work her Department has done advocating and protecting the safety of Rhode Islanders. Dr. Alexander-Scott has been in her role since April 2015. She brings tremendous experience to this position from her work as a specialist in infectious diseases for children and adults, and from her time in academia as an associate professor of pediatrics, medicine, and public health (with a focus on health services, policy, and practice). Blythe Berger, ScD, Chief, Perinatal & Early Childhood Health, RIDOH accepted on behalf of Dr. Alexander-Scott. She thanked Child & Family for the honor and recognition as it was a bright spot during these dark times and congratulated Child & Family for all their great work over the past year.
The 2020 Corporate & Community Partner of the Year Award was presented to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island & Blue Angels, accepted by Michele Lederberg, EVP, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Administrative Officer. The BlueAngel Community Health Grant program – an annual, competitive grant program – addresses health issues in Rhode Island with a focus on affordable housing. Housing can be a barrier to the health and well-being to many Rhode Islanders. This grant is instrumental to the success of the Child & Family Supportive Housing program, providing housing and support for homeless parents with child(ren). The organization has also sent physical volunteers during their annual Day of Service to assist with projects at the Child & Family Community Center in Middletown, RI.
The last recognition of the presentation was to Foster Parent, Ana Pérez and her foster child Maria Garcia, a CCRI student. Maria spoke of her personal journey, having moved to the US from Guatemala at the age of 16. At first the shy Maria had a negative experience with the Foster Care system, but once she was placed in the loving home of her “Mama-Anna”, she felt safe and cared for. She was even greeted with a hug by her foster-sister when they first met, something she was not used to or expecting. Through the support of her “Mama-Anna”, Maria has gotten out of her comfort zone. Maria thanked her Case Managers at Child & Family for their support providing the resources she needed, including therapy. Anna also thanked Child & Family for always answering any questions she may have and always being available to her.
The presentation concluded with final words from Child & Family Board of Directors Chair, Anne Berman, who mentioned this was not the first pandemic Child & Family had experienced in their 154-year history. The organization had survived through the influenza pandemic in 1918. A financial report by Board of Directors Treasurer, Don McCall, was given. McCall mentioned the success of Child & Family depends greatly on the support of our community to help the organization continue to operate and best serve their clients in need. Sinnott closed out the presentation thanking his staff for their tireless efforts and dedication. “This past year we have had a disruption and now it is our jobs to take that disruption and make something creative and innovative to continue to do our great work.”
To learn more about how you can make a direct impact on the lives of those Child & Family serves this holiday season, please visit the following site to learn about their 2020 Holiday Basic Needs drive. one.bidpal.net/childandfamilyriholidaybasicneeds/welcome
Stop & Shop and Walmart gift cards, and checks, can either be dropped off or mailed to the Child & Family Middletown Community Center, open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm. Please make checks out to “Child & Family”.
Gift cards and checks can also be mailed to the following address:
Child & Family
Attention: Landa Patterson
31 John Clarke Rd,
Middletown, RI 02842