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Please Join Us In Honoring Our Community Partnership Celebration Award Winners for 2023

Please join Families as Allies for our Community Partnership Celebration Monday, January 23, from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Bravo Italian RestaurantTickets and sponsorships are still available.

During the celebration, we will honor and recognize the outstanding people and organizations that exemplify our four core values: Every Child and Family, Excellence, Partnership and Accountability. We explain each of our core values on our office walls as a daily reminder of their importance. We are delighted to share this year’s honorees with you.

Valuing Every Child and Family states: “We will not judge or blame you, and we will stand with you if you feel judged or blamed by others.” Two legislators receive this award this year. Representative Ronnie Crudup receives this award for his ongoing responsiveness to families and youth in Jackson through New Horizon Church and his tireless efforts to ensure Jackson families had water during the water crisis. Representative Kevin Felsher receives this award for his mental health support and for spearheading policy and legislation to implement the 988 crisis line in Mississippi. This award honors Helen Reddy Johnson’s memory, an exceptional woman to our organization. She was a much-beloved board member who advocated with families for their children and to make things better for all children.

Excellence states: “We hold ourselves to the highest standards in what we do. We expect the systems that serve our children to do the same.” Dr. Michael Hogan and his monitoring team receive this award for their partnerships with people receiving services and their families and their thoughtful and meaningful approaches to gathering and using data. The award’s name honors Rusty Turner, an employment attorney who exemplified Families as Allies’ vision that all children can reach their potential and be successful. He donated many hours of legal work to Families as Allies to help our policies and procedures support the organization in the best way possible. He was very devoted to high standards and excellence.

Partnership states: “We will work in partnership with you and whoever you tell us is important to your family.” Imari McDonald, Hinds Behavioral Health Services, receives this award for consistently partnering with families and the Hinds County Making a Plan (MAP) team to ensure children can stay in their homes and community. This year this award is being named in memory of Jo Turlington. Jo was a much-beloved friend and colleague who died in March 2022. We hope this award will honor the kind and selfless life she lived. We are also thrilled that the first recipient is an essential part of the Hinds County MAP team since Jo was the team’s first coordinator and a passionate advocate for MAP teams throughout the state.

Accountability states: “We will be open and honest with you about our organization and help you get information from the systems that serve your child.” Isabelle Taft, a reporter with Mississippi Today, receive this award for her accurate and in-depth reporting about the mental health system. We especially appreciate her commitment to clearly explaining developments and processes that can be confusing and conveying the real-world struggles of people with mental illness and their families. This award honors the memory of our much-beloved founder Tessie Schweitzer. Tessie was fearless and unrelenting in holding the mental health system accountable. She would be the first to hold us to task if we did not do so as well.

Again, the date is Monday, January 23, for our 9th Annual Community Partnership Celebration at 5:00 p.m. Please help us celebrate these remarkable award recipients and all that we can accomplish as we work together for our children.

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