Apple Award: Tom Livezey, Superintendent at Oakridge Public Schools
The purpose of the Apple Award is to recognize our school-based and school-linked health center partners for their dedicated support to health centers in Michigan. These partners are appreciated for their consistent involvement and assistance provided to move the center’s work forward to achieve healthy learners. The “Apple Award” is a great way to recognize a community member, advisory board representative, parent, educational partner, or funder who has expressed enduring support for school-based and school-linked health centers in your community or in Michigan.
Marilynn Keeslar Award: Lenora Foster, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Ascension’s Nolan Elementary School-Based Health Center
The Marilynn Keeslar Award, was created to recognize an individual who encompasses the traits of Marilynn Keeslar. This is a great way to recognize a staff person, community member, advisory board member, school person, parent, etc. who has gone above and beyond for the health and well-being of Michigan’s youth.
Marilynn was the coordinator at Fitzgerald Health Center for many years and served as the state liaison with Clinical Fusion. Marilynn sadly passed away from cancer and several of our members and colleagues thought it would be a wonderful tribute to her to recognize someone from the field or a supporter of school-based and school-linked health centers and programs.
Marilynn had a strong love for mankind. She was a great role model for those who knew her. Her personality exhibited zest, spirit, perseverance, and compassion. Her tenacity allowed her to get the job done despite any odds. Somehow, she always managed to get to get her point across, even against intense opposition. Marilynn was also a visionary. She was way ahead of her time in identifying the services that kids needed. Despite all these incredible traits, she remained humble and never judged those around her.
Lenora Foster services the most at risk youth due to their young ages, poor socioeconomic status, and chronic health problems. Mrs. Foster is the nurse practitioner at Ascension School Based Health Center at Nolan elementary school in Detroit. She is consistently caring for children as young as 4 years old and many other elementary students often without a parent being present. This presents many challenges, but Mrs. Foster remains steadfast in delivering the highest quality treatments for these students who suffer from asthma, poor nutrition, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia.
Mrs. Foster goes above and beyond to make sure basic needs for her patients are met even facilitating proper hygiene for patients who have poor living conditions. One particular patient with fungal infections due to unsanitary home situation sought comfort with Mrs. Foster because she provided her with hygiene products and a wash room in the health center. Additionally, Mrs. Foster coordinates an annual Asthma Camp trip which allows for over 80 asthmatic students from the inner city to attend an overnight camping trip allowing for wilderness activities that many such students have never experienced. Mrs. Foster is most deserving of this award for her perseverance in the face of many obstacles including her own physical impairments which would slow down any average person. However despite this, Lenora Foster is one of the most energetic and passionate providers we know.
Good Partner Award: Kosrae Harman, RN at Thunderbay Community Health Center
The SCHA-MI Good Partner Award celebrates the contribution of a partner who helps advance the cause of school-based health centers. This can be a health center or other community partner who helps us in a variety of ways. This work doesn’t happen on its own, and requires the help of many. This award celebrates the many individuals who help us out along this journey.
For our inaugural award, we want to thank Good Partner Kosrae Harmon of the Thunder Bay Community Health Centers in Cheboygan. In the past 3 months, Kosrae has hosted Congressman Bergman – twice, Senator Schmidt and Representative Cole once, and a training/networking for our northern centers. She has also brought down youth to Youth Advocacy Day several times, leaving Cheboygan with the kids at 6am to be here on time, and leaving at the end, at 2pm, only to get back in time for awards ceremonies at her school!
She makes it look effortless, but it is not – gathering parents, children, getting the site ready, making sure we are all on cue. It is this effort that makes things happen though; for kids, and for legislation, for our communities.
Legislative Award: State Representative Mary Whiteford
Every year, SCHA-MI presents a Legislative Award to a representative who has championed child and adolescent health centers. This year, we are presenting the award to Representative Mary Whiteford.
Representative Whiteford serves the 80th District, which includes the cities of Allegan, Fennville, part of Holland, Otsego, Plainwell, Saugatuck, and part of South Haven. She serves as the chair of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee for the 2019-20 legislative term. She is a member of the Health Policy Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Joint Capitol Outlay.
An active volunteer in her children’s schools, Representative Whiteford understands the physical and mental health needs of our children. Representative Whiteford earned a Bachelor’s in science in nursing, and she previously worked in both a pediatric neurosurgery unit and a pediatric emergency unit. Therefore, she is uniquely positioned to advocate for the health needs of our students and how schools can play a role in meeting those needs.
Representative Whiteford was a speaker at our 2019 Youth Advocacy day and has continually advocated for the expansion of child and adolescent health center funding across the state. Due to her efforts, the program continues to grow and thrive. Thank you for all that you do for the children of our state.