By Vanity Robinson
At the 2018 StandUp For Kids National Conference, hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, we proudly presented nine national awards in four different categories. Executive directors were invited to consult with their teams, and delve into their memories and relationships with programs across the country to submit nominations which were reviewed by the award committee.
The first category was the Rookie of the Year award. This award was presented to volunteers or staff members who began service within the past year, as well as any person who began a new position within the past year, whether they worked directly with youth or in other program capacities. Awardees must exhibit exceptional involvement which ranges from outstanding service at a particular moment, ownership of initiatives or projects, to increased involvement in a role, or sustained commitment to a particular role and to the mission of StandUp For Kids.
The first Rookie of the Year award was presented to Carlia Oldfather, the Director of Operations in Orange County, California. Carlia’s nominator expressed how much of an unparalleled ability to connect with youth Carlia has always had: “…Carlia has worked tirelessly to forge new partnerships with school districts throughout Orange County, multiplying the youth we serve many times over. Carlia also launched the first Young Entrepreneur’s Program in StandUp, which allows disadvantaged youth the opportunity to learn critical business skills and ultimately to launch their own businesses. Due to Carlia’s efforts, the OC chapter is now taking the Young Entrepreneur Program directly into schools, where we can reach even more students in need.”
The second Rookie of the Year award was presented to Adrian Ramirez from San Antonio, Texas. Adrian’s nominator expressed, “We met Adrian through one of our beneficiaries, Alamo Empire. He was so taken by the work we do that he asked what he had to do to become a volunteer. He joined our team last year and immediately jumped in with both feet.” Adrian started with the outreach teams on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings, all while holding a full-time management position in his day job. His nominator explained to the awards committee that Adrian has a way of relating with the kids, and that he also has a tremendous appetite for taking on responsibility. Adrian was given accolades by his nominator for taking on a special project to help locate a building for an outreach center that San Antonio really needs.
The third Rookie of the Year award was presented to Kristin Taylor of Silicon Valley, California. Kristin joined the leadership team in 2018 as Director of Community Resource Development. Before this, she was a regular at the outreach center and participated in street outreach as well. As a new leader, she revived the program’s Resource binder and is making connections in the community by bringing more resources to our kids. Her nominator wrote, “Kristen’s experience in housing for the homeless has allowed us to have an expert in this field to help youth. She keeps us informed of what we can do, what options are out there for our kids, important deadlines for housing applications and where our youth can apply. Her connections also keep the youth informed about career fairs, job opportunities and is great about posting information weekly on our bulletin board for the youth. She holds housing events at the center where she will work with youth one-to-one on housing options.”
Congratulations to all nominees on their awards. Without passionate, committed individuals like these, StandUp For Kids would not be able to do so much for youth experiencing homelessness.
Stay tuned to our blog for profiles on our other six award winners.