2016 Volunteers Honored for Advocacy

In an evening celebrating the heart of ProKids, four local volunteers were named Advocates of the Year for their service to Greater Cincinnati’s abused and neglected children.

Phyllis L. McCallum, Cliff Mentrup, Donna Salmon and Ann Wong each received a Darlene Kamine Advocate of the Year award from Kamine, a former Hamilton County Juvenile Court Magistrate. They are all volunteer ProKids Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) who work with children who are in the foster care system.

ProKids Board President Tom Cuni told the Fall Fling gathering at the Kennedy Heights Art Center that ProKids volunteers “treat these children with dignity and kindness” that they often don’t find anywhere else.

ProKids Executive Director Tracy Cook announced that for the first time the number of ProKids volunteers was surpassing the 200 mark. The honorees, Cook said, are four among many “amazing people in our community who stand up for hurt children, who embrace reality, but don’t lose hope and who don’t believe there is such a thing as a throwaway child.”

Outcome measures reported by ProKids for 2015 show that 99% of children with a ProKids CASA Volunteer are free from abuse and neglect, despite the fact that foster children are a third more likely to be abused. ProKids children are also more likely to have their mental health and educational needs identified and then receive the services they require.

Kamine, as she presented the awards, noted that ProKids volunteers do more for those in the child protection system than anyone realizes. “Your commitment to the abused and neglected children in our community inspires me,” she told the more than 200 who gathered for the celebration.