ProKids honors its volunteers and supporters from time-to-time. While we designate these members of our community for these awards, we know that every staff member, every volunteer and every donor are worthy of recognition for speaking up for abused and neglected children in our community.
2023 Recipient: Lauren Fernandez
2022 Recipient: Geralyn Wichmann
2021 Recipient: Mimi Dyer
2020 Recipient: Wynndel Watts
2019 Recipient: Thomas Cuni
2018 Recipient: Amy Russert
2017 Recipient: Margaret Ann Kremer
2016 Recipient: Jose Nine
2015 Recipient: Diane Custer
ProKids thrives because of its many wise and wonderful volunteers. In May 2014, ProKids said goodbye to a very special volunteer.
Merilee Turner moved to Cincinnati and looked around for some way to make the world a better place. Luckily for ProKids, she saw a bus bench in Madisonville one day. Shortly after that, she was volunteering in the office, learning everything she could about ProKids from updating email lists to collecting education data on ProKids children. As time went on, she joined the Friends of Children Society and even encouraged her husband, Chip, to join the board.
Chip, daughter Ellie and son Ben toasted Merilee at the ProKids Soiree — along with Executive Director Tracy Cook — when the award was first presented in honor of Merilee.
Merilee decided to become a CASA volunteer in 2010. She served her ProKids children with amazing openness, objectivity and kindness. From regularly transporting a seriously ill father to see his daughter hours away in foster care to developing great relationships with the children’s teachers, Merilee knew what the children needed and did everything she could to fill those voids in their lives.
For her husband of 22 years, this all was brought full circle when he went to visit Merilee’s grave shortly after her death. There was a handmade poster from one of her ProKids children. It said: “You were very strong and showed me just how strong to be in my life. You were the only one at times in my life who always was there for me and cared to listen to me.”
Because Merilee exemplified the servant leadership and volunteerism on which ProKids depends, it named its highest CASA volunteer honor in 2014, remembering Merilee and the legacy she left behind with her ProKids children.
The Darlene Kamine Advocate of the Year Award was named for Darlene Kamine, a Juvenile Court Magistrate for 18 years who helped found ProKids in 1981. This award was created to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding ProKids CASA volunteers. The recipients of this award are shining examples of individuals making extraordinary efforts on behalf of a child.
2021 Recipient: ALL ProKids CASA Volunteers
Ann Livingston & Kathleen Schaefer
2009 Recipient: Steve Knapp
2008 Recipients: Sandy Goheen & Diane Moccia
2007 Recipient: Sue Hughes
2006 Recipients: Barbara Anderson & Tim Dierker
2005 Recipient: Michelle Hays
2004 Recipient: Sherry Farnham
2003 Recipients: Debbie Johnson & Jeanne Westerkamp
2002 Recipients: Mel Peterson & Kathy Tucker
2001 Recipient: Karen Morgan
This award is presented to an individual or organization who has played a significant role in growing ProKids Committed Community of donors and volunteers.
2023 Recipient: Bob McMahon
2022 Recipient: The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation
2021 Recipient: Chip Turner
2020 Recipient: The ProKids Committed Community
2018 Recipient: The Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson Foundation
2017 Recipient: MacKenzie and Manuel Chavez
2016 Recipient: The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation
2015 Recipient: Greater Cincinnati Foundation
2013 Recipient: SC Ministry Foundation
2012 Recipient: The Creative Department
2011 Recipient: Quatez Scott
2010 Recipient: The Cincinnati Bar Association – Young Lawyer Section
2009 Recipients: Susan Coan & Lawrence Hawkins, Jr.
This award was named for Leslie R. Jaffe, an outstanding ProKids volunteer and staff member who lost her battle with cancer in 1993. The recipients of this award are not only exemplary CASA volunteers, but also tireless volunteers who contribute time and efforts to other projects that benefit ProKids and our children. (Beginning in 2014, this award became the Merilee Turner Volunteer of the Year Award.)
2013 Recipient: Mimi Mosher Dyer
2012 Recipient: Tiffany Reece Clark
2011 Recipient: Sandy Blanchard
2010 Recipient: Debbie Graumlich
2009 Recipient: Gail Bowler
2008 Recipients: Patti Minbiole & Peggy Tojo
2007 Recipient: Sandi Cook
2006 Recipients: Jody Coaston & Mary Friel
2005 Recipient: Paul Swanson
2004 Recipient: Evelyn White
2003 Recipients: Kathy Halsey, Candy Stemple & Beth Turk
2002 Recipient: Kelly Gries