2018 Big Voice for Children Awards
The Big Voice for Children Awards recognize advocates around the state for the work they do in improving child well-being.
At the 2018 Big Voice Awards, we recognized four amazing child advocates from around the state as well as celebrated Voices’ 15th anniversary!
(L-R) Angie Barber, Judge LeRoy Burke III, Sandy Holiday, Erica Fener Sitkoff, Pat Willis
Judge LeRoy Burke, III
Under the leadership of Judge Burke, the Chatham County Juvenile Court has spearheaded a collaborative effort among the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, business representatives and other stakeholders to give positive direction and supervision to youth in the community.
Judge Burke has served in the Chatham County Juvenile Court for the past 14 years. He is an active member of several committees, including the Juvenile Justice State Advisory Board, Chatham County Truancy Protocol Committee, the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative State Steering Committee, and the Council of Juvenile Court Judges Education and Certification Committee.
Atlanta Children’s Shelter
For more than 30 years, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter has been serving the needs of the city’s most vulnerable population. Dedicated to helping families overcome the issues that contribute to homelessness, including domestic violence and job loss, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter focuses on the long term self-sufficiency of the family, including finding permanent housing and employment, which can end the cycle of homelessness. This sets them apart from other Atlanta homeless shelters. Nearly 8,000 children have been cared for at the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, which has provided services for more than 5,000 families.
Atlanta Children’s Shelter’s services include an early childhood education program, as well as a health and wellness program (including wellness checks, medications and immunizations). Because of this program, the Shelter has seen a reduction in absenteeism of children due to illness.
The Network of Trust
Phoebe Putney’s Network of Trust School Health Program is breaking ground to keep children healthy and academically thriving. The Network of Trust focuses on meeting the health needs of children where they are every day: at school.
Established in 1994, the Network of Trust began as a program for teen parents in response to a high nationwide teen pregnancy rate. It has expanded to become a school health program and has added community outreach initiatives like CPR, health screenings, Go Noodle, sexual education classes and Safe Sitter.
Network of Trust continues to expand beyond its original mission of addressing issues like dropping out of school, abuse and neglect of teen moms and consistent prenatal care. During this next school year, the program will implement outreach expansions to the CPR and asthma-friendly program, coordinated by Network of Trust.
As the founding Executive Director for Voices for Georgia’s Children, Pat set the vision for our organization: standing up for ALL of Georgia’s children. Under her leadership, Voices established itself as an organization that works to change public policy and investments that ensure the safety, health, education, and employability of Georgia’s children.
In her role as Executive Director, Pat served on the Georgia Children’s Cabinet and was an advisory board member of Great Start Georgia. Additionally she was a member of the leadership team for Strengthening Families, a statewide effort to embed protective factors for families into the values and strategies of child-serving agencies.