Nominations are Invited for 2018 Triad Advocate of the Year
Adoption Network Cleveland is proud to honor individuals each year who have influenced the wider community through advocacy and outreach efforts in child welfare, improved the lives of children and teens waiting for adoption and enhanced the experiences of members of the adoption triad. This award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption and child welfare field as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone. For a nomination form and more information, visit (link). Nominations for 2018 are due to Adoption Network Cleveland by Friday, September 14, 2018.
Winners over the years include – April Dinwoodie, adoptee, Donaldson Adoption Institute; Rita Price, The Columbus Dispatch; Jean Strauss, filmmaker; Nickie Antonio, State Representative; Dominique Moceanu, Olympian and author; Danita Harris, NewsChannel 5; Jim Ewinger, The Plain Dealer.
Triad Advocate of the Year Award
The Triad Advocate of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption field as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone, meeting one or more of the following criteria:
- Contributed through exceptional volunteer efforts
- Influenced the wider community through their advocacy and outreach efforts
- Improved the lives of individual children and teens waiting for adoption
- Enhanced the experiences adoption triad members by providing information, advocacy, or other support.
A full list of Triad Advocate of the Year Award winners can be seen here.
2017 Award Winners
Linda retired from Adoption Network Cleveland in 2014 after holding the position of Program Coordinator for Adult Adoptees and Birthparents for 13 years. Since that time she has been an amazing volunteer and continues to guide, support, counsel and mentor others at Adoption Network Cleveland.
Linda mentors search volunteers and general meeting facilitators, and is always interested in making these programs the best they can be. Linda is a positive change maker and an advocate for birthparents, adoptees and adoptive parents. Her work as a facilitator at the Rocky River General Meeting highlights her skills as a communicator. She encourages attendance and pays attention to details and relationships, ensuring these meetings are always powerful and meaningful.
Linda has continued to provide support to some of the members that she started working with while she was employed here, finding relatives in some extremely difficult searches. This summer, Linda went truly above and beyond when she traveled to South Carolina with an adoptee to meet his family at his request so that he did not have to go alone.
Andrea has worked diligently with Adoption Network Cleveland for many years as in her role at the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services as the senior supervisor for post adoption. Nearly everyone her unit serves – returning triad members and families that have adopted from foster care – can also benefit from our services.
Part of her job is providing non-identifying information and support upon request to those who were adopted through Cuyahoga County. These can be challenging situations, given that children were often removed from their birthparents for reasons of abuse, neglect, or dependence. Andrea demonstrates a supportive and understanding attitude toward those in search hoping to reunite with birthparents, adoptees, and often siblings separated due to foster care and adoption.
As CCDCFS has recently reorganized and our formal relationship with them has shifted, Andrea has been proactive and creative in making sure that their adoptive families know about our services. She holds her workshops for prospective parents in our offices and makes sure that all the parents meet our staff and know how we can help them on their journey.
Andrea has maintained a collaborative working relationship with our program staff serving adoptive families and adult adoptees and birth parents and siblings, referring people directly to Adoption Network Cleveland for the ongoing support and guidance she knows will be needed and provided. Andrea truly understands the importance of people getting their needs met and questions answered. She is a compassionate professional who works with those touched by adoption every day and advocates to make a difference in their lives.
As Genetic Genealogy has emerged as a field, Amanda has been on the cutting edge of using DNA technology to inform and assist adoptees and others with unknown parentage in finding out more information about themselves. Amanda has worked with DNA Detectives and is co-founder of DNA Funding U (link to www.dnafindingu.com) which is a collaborative group of genetic genealogy researchers who through education, consultation and guidance assist a community of people searching for answers about their family origins. She has worked to connect over-the-counter products, complex technology, and people’s quest for their origins – and used her knowledge to produce resources and step-by-step guidance to make answers accessible.
A birth sibling, Amanda reunited with her older sister after searching for many years, and this reunion has been the impetus for her work.
Amanda has helped countless adoptees get more information about themselves and their genetic history. She has developed her knowledge base about DNA testing, continues to fine-tune it, and has created common sense resources to make the subject accessible. Sensitive to those in need, Amanda has set up a program by which DNA testing kits can be donated to foundlings and others.
Amanda is always thinking and planning. She is strategic and generous and actively seeks opportunities to share with those in need, with Adoption Network Cleveland, and with the broader community. Amanda lives outside of Columbus and we are so fortunate to have her here in Ohio.
The Volunteer Award (formerly the Founder’s Award) recognizes outstanding volunteer service, the spirit by which this organization was founded in 1988 and remains critical today. Those of you who know Adoption Network Cleveland’s history know that Executive Director Betsie Norris was a volunteer for seven years building the organization before she came on staff in 1995.
A full list of Founder’s Award winners can be seen here.
2017 Award Winner
Sherri Appleton has been involved with Adoption Network Cleveland for the vast majority of our 30 years. She seems to always be thinking of ways to help and frequently reaches out with ideas and connections — whether it is books from the library sale for the kids we serve, used office furniture give-aways, ideas for publicity, or other opportunities.
Both an adoptee and adoptive parent, Sherri is also an amazing search volunteer and a gem on our search team. She takes on some of the hardest cases – this year helping to crack open one of the most difficult searches we have ever completed. She is diligent and determined, and can be depended on - if there is something out there to find, Sherri will find it. Sherri also regularly attends General Discussion Meetings and is a valuable regular member at the monthly Heights meeting.
In addition, Sherri seems to always say yes — as a professional interior designer we’ve asked for her help in our office space more than once to make the most of the limited resources we have.
Previous Triad Advocate of the Year Winners
April Dinwoodie, Donaldson Adoption Institute and adoptee
Becky Drinnen, adoptee and advocate
The George Fund Foundation
Tara Shook, Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services
Danielle Gadomski, Littleton Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Jeanne Hood, birthparent and advocate
Rita Price, Columbus Dispatch
Susan Anthony, birthparent and advocate
Jean Strauss, filmmaker
Dave Burke, State Senator
Bill Beagle, State Senator
Dorothy Pelanda, State Representative
Nickie Antonio, State Representative
Diahanna Robertson, Bellefaire
John Adams, Adoption Equity Ohio
Mike Martindale, Adoption Equity Ohio
Dominique Moceanu, Olympian and author
David Crampton, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Kate Livingston, Ohio Birthparent Group
Terrell Howard, Foster Alumnus and Advocate
Danita Harris, WEWS NewsChannel 5
Lisa Dickson, Foster Care Alumni of America
Zelma Brown, Cuyahoga County Dept. of Children and Family Services
Jim McCafferty, Cuyahoga County Dept. of Children and Family Services
Jim Ewinger, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Speaker Jon Husted, Ohio House of Representatives
Hon. Peter Sikora, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court
Bill Gruber, Concern for Children
Michael Lehan, Cleveland Browns
Regina Brett, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Deborah & Clinton Wilson, Foster Parent Support Association
Kirstin McNamara, birthmother and advocate
Dr. Anna Mandalakas, Adoption Health Center, University Hospitals
Quo Vadis Ellison, foster parent and advocate
Kim Wheeler, WKYC-TV
Regina Kupecky, author, trainer and therapist
Barbara Irvin, Family Adoption Consultants
Jerry Blake, Cuyahoga County Dept. of Children and Family Services
Denise Goodman, trainer and consultant
Maureen Heffernan, trainer and consultant
Pat Burns, Concern for Children
Elaine Thompson, Clinical Social Worker
Mandel School of Applied Sciences Graduate School of Social Work
Betsy Keefer, Institute for Human Services
Previous Volunteer Award Winners
Jim and Pam Deskins
Ten individuals were honored for their dedication and service during Adoption Network Cleveland's first 10 years:
Susan Kacerek Burlage
Jodi Sandler Cowgill