Monday, May 12, 2014

DEL Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program announces 2014 Parent Leadership Award winners

Parent leaders can be found all around the state--and at the annual Infant and Early Childhood Conference last week, DEL's Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program honored two woman who have helped their own families and others meet the needs of their children with special needs.
Tracie Winkelman and Jessie Atkins,
2014 ESIT Parent Leadership Award winners

Tracie Winkelman
Parent Leadership Award winner - Eastern Washington
Eight years ago, Tracie and her husband Kevin had their second daughter Mia. Mia was born with Down syndrome. Tracie became aware of the lack of identifiable resources that were available for her family and other families that also had a child with Down syndrome. She and other families diligently worked to secure approval from the Down Syndrome Association for a local charter.  

Tracie now serves on the Down Syndrome Association of the Mid-Columbia board and has been instrumental in its growth and success. Tracie has used her skills as a teacher to help meet the educational needs of other families that have children with special needs in her position as a teacher at the Children’s Developmental Center in Richland. 

Tracie is always willing to share her own experiences as a parent with other families that are facing similar challenges.

Jessie Atkins 
Parent Leadership Award winner – Western Washington
Jessie and her family had tremendous persistence and love that motivated them through the challenges they faced when their son, Stage, was born six years ago. Stage was born with multiple medical challenges. As a parent of a child with special needs, Jessie and her husband Jeff received birth to three services in Snohomish County.  

As a result of having a child with special needs, Jessie became a parent leader in her community. Jessie worked as a parent-to-parent coordinator and volunteer for the Arc of Snohomish County. She served as the co-chair for the Snohomish County Family Interagency Coordinating Council, bringing parent perspective and advocacy to the council. She is also a member and past president of the Marysville School District’s Special Education PTSA. Jessie has used her advocacy skills to speak to the Legislature about services for children with special needs. 

The word “never” is not in Jessie’s vocabulary. She will find a way to get positive results for her family and any family that she helps.

Congratulations, Tracie and Jessie, and thank you for your contributions to your communities!

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