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Cole wins Missouri Grandfamilies award

Courtney Cole, (center),  Executive Director of the Excelsior Springs Educational Foundation was recognized for her support of the Northland Grandfamlies Program.  Presenting the award were Amy Vance, (left) MS, DTR, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist and County Program Director for University of Missouri Extension in Clay County; and Christine Brunkow, (right), Program Coordinator of the Northland Grandfamilies Program. (Submitted photo)

November 24, 2017 – Courtney Cole, Executive Director of the Excelsior Springs Educational Foundation, was one of several recipients of this year’s Missouri Champion of Grandfamilies Award, presented at the 2017 KC Area Grandfamilies Conference in October.

This is the fourth year the award was given to honor and recognize individuals and organizations who support, encourage and inspire grandparents and other individuals raising relatives.

More than 175 individuals attended the conference at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, which was planned for grandparents, aunts and uncles who are raising grandchildren or other relatives. Workshops, education and resources from local organizations were offered to assist grandfamilies in their caregiving role.

“The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Creating Resilient Families Through Mind, Body and Spirit,’” said Amy Vance, MS, DTR, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist and County Program Director with the University of Missouri Extension in Clay County. “Through the assistance these individuals and school districts offer to grandfamilies and to programs such as the Northland Grandfamilies Program, grandparents are better equipped to face the challenges they deal with daily in raising their grandchildren.”

“Courtney Cole has been instrumental in establishing and promoting the Excelsior Springs grandfamilies support group and has made significant contributions as a Clay County Extension Council member,” Vance said.

In addition to Cole, others receiving this year’s award are the North Kansas City School District, the Park Hill School District, Liberty Public Schools, and Alfred Jordan, Jackson County Legislator. An award in memoriam was also given to the family of Betty Muhammad, who worked with the Kansas City Missouri Public School District Parents As Teachers Program.

“We would like to recognize all the award recipients and acknowledge those who have supported the University of Missouri Extension and the Northland Grandfamilies Program,” Vance said.

“The Northland school districts that were recognized have collaborated with us for several years and also deserve special recognition.”

“The social workers, counselors and staff at these school districts have helped raise awareness about grandfamilies and the issues they face, said Christine Brunkow, Program Coordinator of the Northland Grandfamilies Program. “These individuals work tirelessly to provide grandparents and their grandchildren with the assistance they need through referrals to community agencies, help in enrolling their grandchildren in school and in ensuring their safety.  Their dedication, kindness and compassion are commendable.”

“All of the award recipients recognize and understand the importance and value of our programs and have helped increase the awareness and the need for such services.  All are deserving of the Missouri Champion of Grandfamilies Award,” Brunkow said.

By Standard Staff • StandardStaff@leaderpress.com

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