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CARES Awards, takes place virtually on Sept. 17

 

TOLEDO, September 3, 2020: The Committee for Children’s third annual CARES Awards, postponed from April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now taking place virtually on September 17, 2020, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

 

Five individuals who have advanced the cause of protecting Lucas County's children from abuse and neglect will be honored. Tickets are currently available on Eventbrite at
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-cares-awards-tickets-117085561065

Cordelia Cranshaw,
Miss District of Columbia USA 2019

 

The honorees are being recognized in five categories:

Agency Award                  Jeremy Young, LCCS staff attorney

Board Award                    Jane Moore, retired LCCS board member

Community Award           John Tharp, Lucas County Sheriff

Director Award               The Honorable Connie Zemmelman, Lucas Co. Juvenile Court

Family Award                    Kriste & Jeff Little, foster/adoptive parents

 

Jeremy Young, the Agency Award honoree, demonstrates his care for his co-workers and the children of Lucas County by serving as an example both in the office and in the court. Jeremy joined LCCS as a staff attorney in 2007, after several years in private practice. He is very proud to be an attorney for children services and knows that he is not just doing a job but maintaining a calling. He always treats parents with respect even if others may not believe they deserve it. He mentors new attorneys, regularly trains new caseworkers, and has played a pivotal role in modernizing the agency’s Legal Department.

 

Jane Moore, recipient of the Board Award, retired from the LCCS board in December 2019, after 13 years of service to the agency. Ms. Moore was the vice chair of the board from 2018 to 2020, and she also chaired the Services and Programs Committee. Her career included 40 years of service to United Way of Greater Toledo, including a period as the agency’s interim president and CEO. She is respected across the Toledo area for her kindness, wisdom, and ability to develop partnerships to benefit the community.

 

John Tharp, Community Award honoree, has been Lucas County Sheriff since 2013. He worked for the sheriff’s department since 1997, and before that, for 25 years as a member of the Toledo Police Department. As Sheriff, he witnessed the growing public health and safety crisis caused by the opiate epidemic. In response, he launched the Addiction Resource Unit in July 2014. This unit was the first of its kind in our nation. Today, D.A.R.T. officers reach far beyond their traditional roles as first responders, instead building relationships to help those suffering with addition to get help and stay clean. This has been of tremendous value to LCCS, as his officers – including one from LCCS – have helped parents achieve sobriety and become reunified with their children.

 

Judge Connie Zemmelman, recipient of the Director’s Award, was appointed to the Juvenile Court by former Governor Ted Strickland in 2007.  Before taking the bench, Judge Zemmelman built a private practice focusing on family issues, including juvenile law, adoption and surrogacy law, and probate law.  She developed a national reputation in the areas of adoption and surrogacy, and she received referrals from attorneys and agencies across the country. Judge Zemmelman established Lucas County’s Family Drug Court, and she has consulted across Ohio to expand and improve drug courts. She is also considered an expert on the problem of human trafficking of juveniles.

 

Family Award winners Kriste and Jeff Little began their foster care journey in 1993, and over the years, have welcomed more than 120 children to their home. The Littles have adopted 23 children, but have cared for many others that remained in legal custody of Children Services, emancipated from foster care, or just, “found our family.” Over the years, they have focused on providing care to teen mothers, sibling groups, and, for the last eight years, to medically fragile children. Two of Kriste and Jeff’s oldest children have followed in their parents’ footsteps and adopted children, themselves. Kriste and Jeff mentor other foster parents, setting a positive example for others who share their commitment to children, and show them what is possible for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Kriste has also shared her knowledge by assisting in pre-service training for prospective foster and adoptive parents. The Littles say that God led them on this path, and the journey has been well worth it.

 

In addition to recognizing these five individuals, the CARES Awards will welcome, as a special guest speaker, Cordelia Cranshaw, Miss District of Columbia USA 2019. Miss Cranshaw spent several years in, and emancipated from, foster care. She overcame obstacles to attend George Mason University and the University of Maryland, where she earned a master’s degree in social work. She is currently a social worker, helping children with some of the very same challenges she faced.

 

 
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