The Jacque Cady Annual Advocacy for Children Award 

Congratulations, Tonia!

Tonia’s recommender said:

During Tonia’s tenure as Children’s Services Consultant for the Rochester Public Library, she has embedded herself in the early childhood network both locally and statewide. She has been an active participant in ECDI, PECAN, Monroe County Youth Bureau, WXXI Education Partners, and many other local organizations. She is recognized statewide for her training on Supercharged Storytime and Every Child Ready to Read using the framework of Talk, Read, Sing, Play, has been an active supporter of the Talking is Teaching campaign. She introduced Raising a Reader to Rochester in 2016 and has served more than 3000 families with the program which introduces children ages 0-3 and their families to the importance of reading together and developing a reading habit. She is a tireless advocate for children’s services funding in the libraries and under her tenure has been successful in helping secure City funding for several new FT children’s Librarian positions, resulting in a 97% increase in programs for children in the city branches and at Central Library.”

Parent Leader Award

Congratulations, Michaela!

Michaela’s recommender said:

“Michaela has been a parent leader and advocate not just for her children but all children she encounters. Michaela spent 3 years on the School #57 PTO and the last 2 years as president. She was also an active member of her daughter’s former school’s School Based Planning Team. Michaela is now an Urban-Suburban parent where she is the Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group at her daughter’s elementary school. Michaela is the Secretary of the Education Committee for the Rochester NY NAACP Branch #2172 where she fights for RCSD students to receive the quality education that their Suburban counterparts receive. Michaela is a member of the Healthy & Equitable Futures Resources Learning Collaborative. This collaborative is run by the National Parent Leadership Institute and is in place to create equitable environments for Black and Brown children from 0-8 years old.”


Congratulations, Patricia!

Patricia’s recommender said:

“At School 23, Ms. Patricia McKinney’s name is legendary. Ms. Patricia or “Auntie Pat,” “Ms. P” or just “mom” are some of the loving names the scholars at School 23 call her. Ms. Patricia started working at School 23 over 15 years ago as a custodian. She quickly worked her way from the cafeteria support to teacher support as a classroom assistant and for the past 10 years as the School 23 Parent Liaison. When my family enrolled at School 23 almost 3 years ago, Ms. Patricia was the first person that greeted my husband and me. My family moved to this community with very little local family and were concerned that our sons would struggle acclimating to a new school environment. But from the moment we met Ms. P, as a parent I knew someone truly loved and supported my sons as her own.”

Congratulations, Heather!

Heather’s recommender said:

“Championing safer streets in the Southwest area of the city, play in her neighborhood, and pushing forward recommendations for Rochester 2034, this person has not only spent her time, but dedicated a huge portion of her entire family’s time, to making Rochester a better place to live, work and PLAY! Heather Feinman is a parent of five daughters and lives in the City of Rochester. As an interpreter, and chiropractor, and Mom extraordinaire – Heather knows what it means to put kids first.

Heather first came to Healthi Kids as the PTO President at School #2 helping us with our safe routes to school work and advocating for change at her neighborhood school. Since then, her work with us has continued to grow. Heather and her children were a large part of the Story Walk at Phillis Wheatley, so much so that her kids actually point out to anyone new that it’s “their story walk”. She also started going to Speak to Council sessions regularly with her kids, she provided coaching to all of her girls to speak. Heather has even had one of her daughters who at the time was five years old share with city council the importance of play for her.”

Congratulations, Cherrise!

Cherrise’s recommender said:

“Cherriese is a mother and parent leader in the Greater Rochester community. Cherriese is a 2019 PLTI alumni and has made advocating for parents a priority in her life.

Cherriese has made her presence known and sits at multiple tables advocating for children of different abilities, children of color, the Muslim community, and fathers. Cherriese started the first ever Black history celebration in the Hilton School District and has since taken her advocacy efforts to the Brockport School District. Cherriese has a special gift of identifying a need and rising to the occasion to meet that need.

Cherriese is a member of the Healthi Kids Coalition. As part of this, she has been an active participant in a working group that is conducting a racial equity impact analysis of the Healthi Kids Advocacy Agenda, to ensure its policy goals will achieve racial health equity.”


Congratulations, Allen!

*Allen not pictured

Allen’s recommender said:

Allen Jackson is a father, grandfather and community leader. Allen has made advocating for fathers a priority in his personal and professional life. Allen works as a community health worker at Healthy Baby Network where he engages with fathers who are striving to become the best dads they can be.
Allen brings his real, lived experience to every aspect of his work. At 18, Allen was a single father working to navigate a system that offered little to no support to single Black fathers. Allen is also a committed grandfather and an RCSD employee.

Allen is a member of the Healthi Kids Coalition. As part of this, he has been an active participant in a working group that is conducting a racial equity impact analysis of the Healthi Kids Advocacy Agenda, to ensure its policy goals will achieve racial health equity. Allen’s contributions to this work will support the Coalition’s efforts to advocate for policies, systems and environmental changes that nurture the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of kids from birth to age 8 in the City of Rochester.

Organizational Partner Award

Congratulations, PLTI

PLTI’s recommender said:

I would like to recognize is the powerful work of the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute. This organization has consistently supported the work of ROC the Future through our PECAN orientation, Office of Parent Engagement collaboration, Healthy Futures Learning Collaborative and
parent focus groups for the Whole Child Health Grant.”