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Announcing Winners of HOPE Awards

Congratulations to all our nominees and winners!

BOSTON, MA, April 19, 2024 — On March 21, 2024, the HOPE National Resource Center hosted its first ever HOPE Awards Ceremony, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, during the annual Week of HOPE. This year’s Week of HOPE, which coincided with the Fourth Annual HOPE Summit – The HOPE Transformation, included events featuring new tools and training for anti-racism and a sneak peek of HOPE’s upcoming children’s book, Clover’s Hopeful Day.

During the HOPE Awards Ceremony, the HOPE National Resource Center recognized those who excel in promoting positive childhood experiences (PCEs) in their work with children and families. We asked members of the HOPE community to nominate an individual or organization for one of the Four Building Blocks of HOPE. In the nominations, nominators shared stories of their nominee’s dedication to promoting and practicing PCEs. In addition to the Four Building Blocks of HOPE awards, we revealed policy, environmental justice, and lifetime achievement awards.

Building Block of HOPE Awards

Relationships Building Block Award

Amanda Mills
Strengthening Families Specialist, IdahoAEYC

Individual relationships are Amanda Mills’s forte, and as a natural leader, she capitalizes on this talent to change whole organizations and influence systems. Amanda has infused the Building Blocks of HOPE into every facet of work. She has taught the HOPE framework to parents, childcare providers, professional peers, librarians, school district personnel across Idaho, new United States citizens, and boards of Directors.

Environment Building Block Award

LaTysa Flowers-Jackson
Association Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging Director, YMCA of San Diego County

LaTysa Flowers-Jackson works tirelessly across various organizations to spread the message of HOPE with a particular emphasis on creating safe, equitable, and inclusive environments for the youth and families served by organizations as well as for the staff and partners interfacing with those organizations. She is a force, a trusted resource, and an amazing soldier in promoting HOPE.

Engagement Building Block Award

Raise & Shine
Family Resource Center, FIRST 5 Mendocino

Raise & Shine is a model of engagement that expanded their office space to include a play area for families and children and a computer workspace for the community. They offer parenting classes and act as a hub to gather resources and practice wellness skills to engage with the community and bring a sense of belonging. They have rewritten and revised internal as well as community partner work (such as evaluations, questionnaires, reports, and assessments) to reflect the HOPE approach.

Emotional Growth Building Block Award

Shannon Desilets
Choose Love Program Director, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Shannon Desilets assists schools, the prison system, and all organizations in between to learn about and incorporate the Choose Love Program into their settings. Choose Love shares neuroscience that helps both adults and children understand what happens in their brains in certain scenarios. This understanding leads to emotional health and a shift in behaviors for all.

HOPE Policy Award

Chalarra Antonell Sessoms
Chief of Rural Health and School Based Programs, Maryland Department of Health

Chalarra Antonell Sessoms promotes health and equity for children and families by providing presentations throughout the state of Maryland on resilience. She is the Chair of a statewide committee that meets monthly as a community of practice. She collaborates with University of Maryland research staff to infuse the core concepts of resilience into practice in education, behavioral health, and other settings.
Chalarra and her HOPE Champion colleagues will launch a new initiative in April: Hopeful Nuggets – Random acts of hopefulness. This initiative will provide organizational resilience building opportunities within her division at the Maryland Department of Health Behavioral Health Administration.

Environmental Justice HOPE Award

Congressman Steven Horsford
4th District of Nevada

Representative Horsford’s dedication to uplifting children and families by creating resilient and sustainable communities supports our efforts to lessen barriers to positive childhood experiences. This commitment to environmental justice is furthered by his support for the historic Inflation Reduction Act, which will reduce carbon pollution within this decade by 40%. This act ensures that all individuals, no matter their race, gender identity, or location will have access to a safe, healthy, and clean environment.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Vivian Lasley-Bibbs
Former Director of Health Equity, Kentucky Department for Public Health

Vivian Lasley-Bibbs personified the essence of the HOPE framework even before she learned about it. Vivian inherently understood the role that the environment plays in supporting, and inhibiting, health equity, and helped Kentucky recognize the importance of understanding and addressing root causes and social drivers and determinants of health.  She was an early champion who helped Kentucky understand the role of environmental factors in health and public health and more recently led the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Kentucky Environmental Health Tracking Network to develop the Social Vulnerability Indexes (SVI) and Community Vulnerability Indexes (CVI) for all 120 Kentucky counties-widely used by shareholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vivian was the sole equity force in Kentucky as the only member of the Department for Public Health Office of Health Equity for a decade. She used that platform to make contacts that blossomed into relationships with members of Kentucky unserved communities, creating warm, safe, inviting spaces for all. Vivian was one of the founding members of Partnership for a Resilient Kentucky (PaRK), a network of public and private providers and organizations seeking to build resilient youth, families and communities through health, public health, education, justice and all human services across Kentucky.

Kini-Ana Tinkham
Executive Director, Maine Resilience Building Network

In 2019, Maine Resilience Building Network was formally established as a nonprofit organization and hired its first Executive Director, Kini-Ana Tinkham. Since that date, they have delivered training and technical assistance to more than 7,500 staff and community members affiliated with Maine government agencies, childcare providers, school districts and educational organizations, healthcare and social services organizations, faith, and youth-serving community nonprofits.

Once the leadership and staff became certified in the HOPE framework through their interaction with the HOPE National Resource Center and Christina Bethell, PhD of Johns Hopkins, they crossed to a new generation of this work – to total and full integration of positive childhood experiences and the HOPE framework in everything they do. All their trainings, technical assistance, and community engagement initiatives incorporate PCEs. There is not a discussion of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) without integration of PCEs, and they have introduced HOPE to other state-level children health organizations in Maine.

About HOPE – Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences

Based at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, the HOPE National Resource Center sees a world that honors and promotes positive experiences as necessary for health and well-being. Research shows that positive childhood experiences (PCEs) drive healthy child development and lessen the lifelong effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). HOPE aims to inspire a movement that changes how people and organizations advance health and well-being for children, families, and communities.

Robert Sege, MD, PHD, FAAP, Director of the Center for Community-Engaged Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, leads the HOPE National Resource Center.


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