During February, throughout the nation, parents who have made children and families a priority in their lives are honored. In New Jersey, we celebrate Parent Leaders at our Annual Parent Leadership Breakfasts in the Northern and Southern regions. The Camden County Freeholders in partnership with the Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC) and the Camden County Covenant for Children Youth & Families cosponsored the sixth annual Parent Leadership Breakfast in the Southern region with Parents Anonymous. The event took place on February 7, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry, Hill New Jersey.
During the breakfast two parent leaders were recognized with awards:
The Jolly K Award recognizes someone who exemplifies the spirit and philosophy of Parents Anonymous founder, Jolly K. through parent leadership, mutual support, shared leadership, and personal growth and who has made significant contributions at the local, state or national level. This awardee demonstrates a commitment to self‐help and the belief that parents are the experts in their own lives. Karen Kaplan of the Mercer County Family Support Organization was the 2015 Jolly K award recipient. Ms. Kaplan has been the Parents Anonymous Group Leader for five years and exemplifies the spirit and philosophy of Parents Anonymous. Ms. Kaplan has never once given up on the power of parents sharing their journeys together. She also serves on the Family Support Origination, Family Advisory Committee, the Perform Care Stakeholders Group and has served for 5 years as the President of the Board of Directors of the Family Support Organization. Ms. Kaplan is recognized for her advocacy for parents and her tenacity to change systems to be more inclusive of parents; because of her actions as a role model, the next generation is paying it forward.
The Parent Champion Award recognizes a professional, staff member, board member or other individual who has participated in the success of others as parent leaders. Darnell Shakes from Center for Family Services Head Start was the 2015 Parent Champion Awardee. Through his wisdom, integrity, dedication, and knowledge Mr. Shakes attended various meetings and shared important information to parents that they not be aware. Mr. Shakes exemplifies and embodies the principles of Parents Anonymous. He is a dedicated father who is passionate about his family, fatherhood and family unity. Mr. Shakes has served in numerous leadership positions that have had an effect on more than 1,000 families including; Founding Policy Council member and Vice-Chair for the Center for Family Services, Head Start Center President, Promise Neighborhood Family Success Center Parent Leaders, Head Start Advisory Secretary, Community Parent Advisory Board Representative, Past President of the Katz Academy, Parent Committee and creator of the Head Start Fathers March. Due to Mr. Shakes involvement and dedication, male involvement in the Center for Family Services Head Start program has increased. He has gone above and beyond to ensure that his children along with other children in and around the community have a wonderful educational experience.
Please enjoy the photo gallery from the 2015 Parent Leadership Breakfast!