Executive Director Note
Greetings! Please allow me to begin by sincerely wishing you and your families good health and safety during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. As child and family-serving professionals, so much of our work has been greatly altered by the necessary distancing requirements that were implemented in March of this year. The Trust Fund responded by altering programs to be delivered virtually to the extent possible, building a COVID-19 resource page on our website, establishing an optional COVID-19 response program to be delivered through our regional prevention vendors, and adjusting the messaging of our April 2020 Child Abuse Prevention Month Awareness campaign. Please take a minute to check out the public service announcement (PSA) from myself and our OCTF Board Chair, Senator Stephanie Kunze, sharing some tips for families during these unprecedented times. It has been heartening to observe how rapidly and efficiently our partners responded to ensure we are continuing to meet the needs of our families and children during these extraordinary times. While a little later than usual, this second quarter newsletter highlights the 2020 Everyday Ohio Hero award winners, April National Child Abuse Prevention month, as well as the Trust Fund’s COVID-19 response. Thank you all for your continued efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect! You are all Everyday Ohio Heroes!
OCTF Staff Updates
Please join us in welcoming Jasmine Hall, who has recently joined OCTF as our new Administrative Professional. Jasmine has a BA in Business Administration from Strayer University and has worked for ODJFS for over 8 years. She began her career with the State of Ohio as a Clerk in Local Operations (now Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations), then as an Administrative Professional 1 in the Office of Contracts and Acquisitions. Most recently she served as an Administrative Professional in the Office of Legal and Acquisition Services, Bureau of State Hearings. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jasmine describes herself as “an extroverted introvert who enjoys music, traveling, and learning different languages.” When asked what languages she speaks, Jasmine shared that she is, “pretty good at Spanish and dabbles in Japanese and Italian here and there.”
Everyday Ohio Heroes Winners
The OCTF issued a call for “Everyday Heroes” who dedicate their time, efforts and lives to preventing child abuse and child neglect in their communities.
“The Everyday Ohio Heroes campaign recognizes everyday heroes who make our community a safe place for families and children. They have made a commitment to stop child abuse and neglect, and their efforts have made a positive impact for vulnerable families and children across Ohio. I would like to thank each one for their acts of kindness and encouragement and commend them as heroes.” – Sen. Stephanie Kunze
The following winners were chosen from each Ohio’s eight prevention regions:
Heather Wells nominated Chrystal Green for the Everyday Ohio Heroes Award in the Southwest Ohio Region. Chrystal is a family representative on the Southwest Ohio Regional Prevention Council.
Fairfield County Protective Services nominated Kim Devitt for the Everyday Ohio Heroes award in the Central Ohio Region. Kim serves as the Early Childhood Programs Director for the Lancaster-Fairfield Community Action Agency.
The Southeast Ohio Region is proud to announce Tara Watts, as their 2020 Everyday Ohio Hero. Tara is the site coordinator for New Lexington Middle School After-School Program.
Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS) has been selected as the Western Ohio Region’s award winner.
The Eastern Ohio Region is proud to announce David Boyer, as their 2020 Everyday Ohio Hero. Dave was nominated by Muskingum County Adult and Child Protective Services as a fitting tribute to his service to Muskingum County.
The Great Lakes Ohio Region is proud to announce Kristin Gardner as their 2020 Everyday Ohio Hero. Kristin Gardner is also a member of the Great Lakes April Prevention Month Workgroup and has been a key asset in planning and implementing all April Prevention Month activities for the Great Lakes Ohio Region.
Sheryl Villegas nominated Barbara Kudravi for the Everyday Ohio Heroes Award in the Northeast Ohio Region. Barbara has spent her entire career working tirelessly to promote healthy family relationships and create environments where children can grow and flourish.
Northwest Ohio Region winner wished not to be announced.
OCTF congratulates all Everyday Ohio Heroes award winners! Thank you for being real life super-heroes in your communities and in the lives of those around you! Your efforts to continuously make a difference in the lives of families and children do not go unnoticed.
The #EverydayOhioHeroes campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month aims to raise awareness surrounding child abuse and neglect prevention and prompts a call to action to encourage all adults to, “Be a Hero in the Eyes of a Child – one simple act of encouragement at a time.”
Not All Heroes Wear Capes! One trusted adult support, a hero, can make all the difference in the life of a child.
Staying Healthy During COVID-19
It is important for parents and caregivers to take care of themselves during these unprecedented times. As stay at home orders begin to be lifted and some business are slowly returning their operations, it is beneficial for you to continue with established self-care routines. Here are some tips to help ensure personal safety and slow the spread of coronavirus:
- Continue to work remotely if possible
- Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick
- Practice social distancing
- Maintain good hygiene (washing hands, not touching eyes, mouth and nose)
- Wear masks when in public
- Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces daily (doorknobs, counter tops, remotes, cellphones, etc.)
Keeping Families Together
Staying at home can be a great opportunity for families to reconnect and take care of each other. However, being home all day can also be stressful for both parents and children, causing tension in the home. If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some tips on how to reduce stress to ensure your family is safe during this difficult time:
Take breaks throughout the day like you would if working in the office or attending school. Engage in activities that everyone in the home can do, go for a walk, play a game, exercise or just practice deep breathing and meditation.
Reach out to a friend or relative if you need someone to talk to. Try to lower your expectations for work you or the children in your care can complete while being home. Remember, everyone in the home is dealing with the changes to daily life and might be having a hard time. When you feel your stress levels rising, stop and take a few deep breaths. Try to keep your perspective by remembering that this situation is temporary, but the way you treat your loved ones could have long-lasting effects.