Voices for Virginia’s Children has named the honorees of the annual Carol S. Fox MAKING KIDS COUNT Awards. The MAKING KIDS COUNT award recognizes Virginia individuals and organizations for exemplary efforts to improve the lives of children in the Commonwealth.
This year’s honorees include: Janice Dinkins Davidson, of Roanoke, has made it her life passion to protect and advocate for children; St. Joseph’s Villa, a nonprofit organization in Richmond that has supported children who are vulnerable, underserved, and confronted with the greatest adversities; and Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN), a statewide organization that supports, promotes, and advocates for Latino success and advancement in higher education.
The honorees will receive their awards at the Carol S. Fox MAKING KIDS COUNT Award Reception at the John Marshall Ballrooms in Richmond on Wednesday, Oct. 4th.
Janice Dinkins Davidson, of Roanoke, has made it her life passion to protect and advocate for children. She has been the Executive Director of Children’s Trust for fifteen years, building a multi-faceted organization that focuses on the prevention of child abuse and advocacy for children’s rights. Under her leadership, the organization has expanded strategically to encompass multiple services for children and families that were formerly separate agencies – Child Advocacy Centers for both Roanoke Valley and New River Valley; Healthy Families home visiting program; Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); and the Conflict Resolution Center. Combined, the programs of Children’s Trust serve more than 4,000 children each year. Janice is a well-respected leader in her community and valued statewide expert in her field.
St. Joseph’s Villa, of Richmond, is the longest serving nonprofit for children in the country. During its 183 years of operation, the Villa has continuously supported children who are vulnerable, underserved, and confronted with the greatest adversities. Today, their programs extend across 36 localities in Central Virginia and annually impact more than 3,000 children and families facing mental illness, homelessness, autism, and other challenges. One of the hallmarks of St. Joseph’s Villa has been the ability to adapt to the community’s changing needs. One example of this flexibility is the Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), which was established in 2012 in partnership with Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and the other Region IV community services boards. The CSU is the first facility of its kind in Central Virginia for children in mental health crisis, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, St. Joseph’s Villa focuses on education at its four on-campus schools, including a Center for Autism, and it provides rapid rehousing for homeless families.
Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN), of Virginia, is the only volunteer, 501(c)(3) statewide organization that supports, promotes, and advocates for Latino success and advancement in higher education. With close to 6,000 volunteer hours per year, VALHEN and its members are changing the face of the Commonwealth by ensuring that Latinos are visible supported, and on their way to higher education. Their largest program, the Hispanic College Institute (HCI), which was adopted in 2012, is a free, residential program on a university campus for high school students recruited from across Virginia. On average, those invited to fill the available 150 spots have a 3.48 GPA and 74% qualify for free or reduced lunch. The purpose of HCI is for students to learn how to write an essay for their college applications; improve their public speaking, presentation and interviewing skills; increased their awareness of community focused civic engagement; and learn about financial aid. The fifth HCI recently concluded at Virginia Tech from July 31 – August 3, 2017.