MOUNT VERNON — The annual presentation of the Rising Up Youth, Rising Up Family and Child Advocates of the Year awards was held Thursday in the newly renovated Knox Children’s Advocacy Center on East High Street, in recognition of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Sarah Fletterich received the 2009 Rising Up and Moving On Youth award for her commitment to overcoming life obstacles and “rising up and moving on” in her life as a foster child with the Rock family of Fredericktown.
The 2009 Rising Up Family recipients were Roger and Stephanie Woodring, who are raising their grandchildren and who have worked hard to develop stable relationships between the children and their parents and extended family.
Mildred Helmick received the 2009 Child Advocate Volunteer of the Year award for her work with youth at the Alternative Center, where she’s known as “Grandma Mildred” to the students.
Roxanne Berry received the 2009 Child Advocate Professional of the Year award for her work as a special education teacher at East Knox Elementary School and for the summer day camp called Camp Smiling Turtle that she hosts for her students at her home.
The newly renovated historic house, located across East High Street from the Knox County Service Center, has offices for family aides, foster care workers, adoption workers, adult protective services and more.
There is also a medical examination room and a forensic interview room, and Detective Tom Bumpus, on staff at the Knox County Children Service, has an office equipped with video and tape recording facilities to document the proceedings for legal purposes.
“Most of the kids went to Children’s Hospital before, to their Children’s Advocacy Center,” he said. “I don’t think it will be so hard on the kids now” that they can be cared for in Mount Vernon instead of journeying to Columbus.