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.

2023 Recipients:

Carrie Barron

Missi Kershner

Barb Nuck

Karen Rickert

Heather Sponaugle

2022 Recipients:

Andrea Harrison & Marisa Rowe

Amy Hyde

Allan Shropshire

2021 Recipient: ALL ProKids CASA Volunteers

2020 Recipients:

Phil Beckman

Anne Gilligan

Jane Hopson

Paula Livingston

2019 Recipients:

Jill Baker Braun

Karen Garrety

Amy Gilles

Mary Anne Bressler

Mike Hardy

2018 Recipients:

Janet B. Campbell

Leslie Ann Demoret

Carmen K. Schrand

Adrianne E. Stella

Marla Williams

2017 Recipients:

Beth Adele Katerberg

Jim Lake

Carol Wiggins

2016 Recipients:

Phyllis McCallum

Cliff Mentrup

Donna Salmon

Ann Wong

2015 Recipients:

Sophia Gilligan Helms

Wendy McCracken

Emily von Allmen

2014 Recipients:

Pat Goellner

Helen Habbert

Joan Heckard

Diane Niehaus

Bonita Sergent

Tracy Workman

2013 Recipients:

Susan Fakoukakis

Mary Hais

Francy Hughes

Sue Kirkpatrick

Susan Neaman

Everett Nissly

2012 Recipients:

Vivi Chow

Kristin Cool

Suzanne Hall

Katie Porter

2011 Recipients:

Lori Betts

Lowell Bowie

Judy Gierl

Julie Miller

Marcia Pardekooper

2010 Recipients:

Ann Livingston & Kathleen Schaefer

Ann Miller

Michele Schuster

Donna Weber

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

2019 Recipients:

T.D. Hughes
Quatez Scott

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

2014 Recipients: 

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