Celebrating Children and Families at the 2018 PCAA Gala

On Thursday, October 18, supporters, partners, and guests gathered at the University Club of Chicago for the 2018 Prevent Child Abuse America Gala: Strengthening Families, Changing Lives.

We were honored to have Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) as our keynote speaker and recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. Congressman Davis is a lifelong champion of children, families, and home visiting. Congressman Davis collaborated with Healthy Families America in 2005 to introduce bipartisan legislation in the House which established one of the first federal funding streams dedicated solely to providing quality, voluntary home visiting programs for parents with young children, and was the precursor for the federal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

Left to Right: Dan Duffy, President & CEO and Congressman Danny Davis

During his keynote address, Congressman Davis talked about the importance of strengthening families and the role that home visiting programs like HFA play in connecting vulnerable families to much-needed resources like health providers, workforce training, education services and more. He explained that in neighborhoods like Englewood, where the average income is only around $12,000 and the unemployment rate is around 20%, that “home visiting programs help ensure that children get their well-child visits and developmental screenings, and that their moms are screened for needed support services so that they and their children are safe.”

We are grateful for the support of Congressman Davis and his commitment to helping strengthening families and improving the lives of children in Illinois and nationwide.

Congressman Danny Davis

In our current political climate, it can be challenging to find areas of commonality across the aisles. However, our important cause –preventing the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children and giving them the great childhoods they deserve – has no side and is truly bipartisan. We were fortunate to have the support of legislators from both sides of the aisle with us that evening. Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) also joined us and spoke about the importance of strengthening families and his partnership with Congressman Davis in helping to achieve this.

Left to Right: Congressman Danny Davis (IL-D) and Congressman Darrin LaHood (IL-R)

We also had special guests from Kappa Delta national sorority, a supporter of PCAA for nearly four decades. Prevent Child Abuse America founder Donna Stone was an alumna of Kappa Delta Sorority, and in honor of her legacy Prevent Child Abuse America became Kappa Delta’s national philanthropy in 1981. We were honored to have Alison Jakes-Argersinger, former Kappa Delta National President and Representative to Prevent Child Abuse America, present us with their annual donation. In 2018, Kappa Delta sisters from across the country raised a total of $469.516! We are eternally grateful to the Kappa Deltas.

Left to Right: Dan Duffy and Alison Jakes-Argersinger with her Kappa Delta sisters

Prevent Child Abuse America is only as good as its people, and we were honored to award Robert “Buddy” Allen with the 2018 Outstanding Service Award for his 30 years of service. Buddy joined PCAA in 1988 and we have been so fortunate to have him as part of the PCAA family. Buddy, who is currently the Sr. Director of Administration, will be retiring at the end of this year.

Left to Right: Dan Duffy and Robert “Buddy” Allen

We also honored T.J. Fox with the 2018 Leadership Award. T.J. has helped provide visionary guidance and outstanding leadership as Chairman of the Board of Directors and has helped further the mission of PCAA. T.J. will be handing over the Chairman reins to Andrea Robertson later this year, and we are grateful for his service.

Left to Right: Andrea Robertson, Board Treasurer and T.J. Fox, Board Chair

We were thankful to have members of our national Board of Directors present alongside representatives from our Chapter Network including: Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Our chapters provide the on-the-ground programs and resources throughout their communities and are the heart and soul of our organization.

Left to Right: Sallye Longshore, PCA Alabama, Sherry Fair, PCA Oklahoma, and Maura Somers Dughi, Lifetime Board Member

Finally, we closed the evening by hearing a personal story from one of our local Healthy Families America program participants, Kathia, and her experience working with her HFA Family Support Worker, Ana. Kathia shared the positive impact the HFA program has had on her life and her journey through parenthood:

“I learned to be a better mom and person, and to understand what I am capable of. I learned that it is ok not to be a perfect parent, but to continue to work on being the best that I can be. I learned how to understand my child better and the value of my beautiful family. I can’t stress how important this program is for new parents like me. All of the resources and support that are given are priceless. I still put into practice many of the skills that I learned through the years participating in the program.”

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