Champions of Change
The White House Office of Public Engagement and USICH are pleased to announce the 13 Champions of Change in the Fight Against Child and Youth Homelessness. These community leaders serving vulnerable children, youth, and families were honored at a ceremony at the White House on July 12th.
The event featured two panel discussions on youth homelessness and the path forward which was moderated by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families Bryan Samuels. The 13 Champions of Change shared useful lessons they have learned in their careers spent improving the lives of children, youth, and families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.
Opening Doors sets the goal of ending homelessness for children, youth, and families by 2020 and calls upon community leaders to leverage mainstream and targeted resources, collaborate across sectors, and take a holistic approach to serving children and youth. The Champions of Change honored embody a strong commitment to children and youth paired with innovative, collaborative solutions to prevent and end homelessness that address housing stability, physical and mental health needs, and educational outcomes for children and youth. Read about the work of the 13 Champions below:
Sherilyn Adams, LCSW, is Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services, San Francisco’s largest nonprofit provider serving the diverse needs of homeless and runaway youth. Sherilyn has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit social service sector, where she’s managed a variety of programs; she came to Larkin Street in 2003, pursuing a lifelong passion to serve children and teens, and oversaw the agency’s licensed residential programs, HIV/AIDS-related services and outreach programs. Her strong dedication and ability to inspire and lead Larkin Street’s teams and her skill in establishing and maintaining relationships with public and private funders and partners earned her a promotion to Chief of Programs, and, in August 2005, she became the agency’s Executive Director. Under her leadership, Larkin Street has grown its housing capacity by 50%, earned national and international recognition for its innovative service model, and contributed to local, state, and national policy advancements for homeless youth.
Tim Baack has been affiliated with Pathfinders since 1988 and currently serves as its Executive Vice President. Under his leadership, Pathfinders moved to its current location in 2009 – an enhanced facility in the Riverworks Business District of Milwaukee - and added two new major programs: the Youth Outreach Drop-In Center and the Q-BLOK LGBT Young Adults Housing Initiative. A strong advocate on behalf of disadvantaged youth and families, Mr. Baack also serves as Board President of the Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services, a statewide membership organization that promotes best practice standards and positive youth development methods on behalf of runaway and homeless youth serving agencies. A state-licensed professional counselor, Mr. Baack is also an elected Steering Committee member of Milwaukee’s Continuum of Care (CoC) and currently serves as Chair of the Coordinated Entry work group – an essential element of the CoC’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, a community-wide effort to prevent homelessness and increase the availability of safe and affordable permanent housing and supportive services. Tim lives in Pewaukee, WI with his partner John Sheaffer and their three dogs. Their extended family includes their two sons Ben and Adam and their spouses/partners Aimee and Dana, as well as their amazing twin grandkids Oliver and Violet.
Steve Bewsey is the Director of Housing and Homelessness Services for Youth at LifeWorks in Austin, Texas. He is responsible for the oversight of a comprehensive continuum of programs serving runaway and homeless youth, including a Street Outreach Program, an Emergency Shelter, a Transitional Living program, a Maternity Group Home, and a Supportive Housing (apartment-based living) Program. Utilizing the skills he has acquired over more than 42 years of working with youth, he provides professional trainings throughout Texas with the Texas Network of Youth Services, as well as throughout the nation with the Academy of Competent Youth Work and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center. Steve is the past Vice President of the Texas Youth & Child Care Worker Association, currently the Vice President of the Academy for Competent Youth Work, and a member of the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services Work Group for Advancing Competency Work where he has worked tirelessly to professionalize the field of youth care work.
Frank Cirillo is a graduate of Rider University and the Director of the Mercer County Board of Social Services (MCBOSS). He has over 40 years of experience at MCBOSS in administering a variety of social service programs, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, NJSNAP (Food Stamp Program), General Assistance, Adult Protective Services, Work First New Jersey (WFNJ), and Child Support. Under his direction, MCBOSS has continued and expanded upon its tradition of developing strong and effective governmental and community partnerships in implementing program reforms and advocating for new and creative efforts in addressing the challenges confronting poor and working poor individuals and families. Frank currently serves as president of the County Welfare Directors Association of New Jersey. He is a member of the Mercer County Alliance to End Homelessness, the New Jersey Child Support Council, and the New Jersey Hunger Coalition. Additionally, he serves on numerous intergovernmental and community boards and organizations, and served twelve years as a councilman for the City of Trenton, including four years as Council President (1999-2002).
Sol A. Flores
In 2002, Sol Flores became the founding Executive Director of La Casa Norte (LCN), a community based organization whose mission is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness. Since opening their doors, LCN has helped more than 20,000 homeless and at-risk individuals. By offering access to stable housing and delivering comprehensive services, LCN acts as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. With Sol’s infectious enthusiasm, boundless energy, intelligence, and entrepreneurship, LCN is reshaping the physical infrastructure of the Humboldt Park neighborhood and rebuilding broken lives to foster hope, stable homes, and healthy communities. Sol’s passion and determination to help those in need has built LCN from 2 employees to a 40 employee, multi-million dollar organization that delivers inspiration and hope to the lives of homeless families, single parents, victims of domestic violence and abandoned youth. LCN has rapidly grown over the past ten years to meet the increasing needs of homeless youth and children throughout Chicago. Sol’s commitment to make a difference and live out her personal values through her work at La Casa Norte has proven to be the greatest personal and professional challenge of her life.
Paul W. Hamann
Paul W. Hamann is the President and C.E.O. of The Night Ministry. Founded in 1976, The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides housing, healthcare and human connection to members of the Chicago community who are struggling with poverty or homelessness. Paul joined The Night Ministry in 2002 as Director of Finance and Administration and has led the organization since 2007. As President, Paul provides leadership and vision for The Night Ministry, working closely with the Board of Directors. After graduating Suma Cum Laude from Ohio Dominican College, Paul obtained two graduate degrees: one in Theology with an emphasis on social justice teachings and the other in Nonprofit Administration. Prior to joining The Night Ministry, Paul was Executive Director of Families on Track, a San Francisco nonprofit. He also served on the faculty of the University of San Francisco, teaching Public Administration.
Sparky Harlan has been CEO of the Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara, California since 1983. Under her leadership, the Bill Wilson Center builds connections for youth and families to housing, education, employment, and emotional well-being. Ms. Harlan’s expertise includes working with runaway and homeless youth, foster youth, and youth involved with the juvenile justice system. Ms. Harlan recently recruited other nonprofit, community and corporate leaders to work together in a county-wide initiative focused on ending youth and family homelessness by 2020. She holds a Masters in Nonprofit Management and is a nationally recognized leader in youth services, receiving the Executive Leadership Award of Excellence from the National Network for Youth and the Outstanding Agency Administrator Award from National Safe Place.
Beth McCullough is the Homeless Education Liaison for Adrian Public Schools and the Homeless Education Coordinator for Lenawee County in Michigan. In her eleven years in this role, she has crawled under porches to find homeless youth and visited aluminum sheds to rescue children who are using a blue tarp as a blanket. “Education is the answer” is her mantra. Beth received her Bachelor of Arts from Siena Heights University and her Masters in clinical psychology from The Michigan School of Professional Psychology. Beth is a certified Montessori Teacher, a limited license psychologist, was the director of a domestic violence shelter, and worked as a psychotherapist and a college instructor for 12 years. She has presented at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth annual conference, the Michigan Department of Education state conference of homeless education, and a Congressional Caucus on homelessness in Washington, D.C. Beth and her husband Gary have been married for 21 years and have two children, Abigail and Christian.
Tricia Raikes is co-president of the Raikes Foundation where she leads the Foundation’s efforts to be a catalyst for innovative, collaborative and pragmatic solutions to help young people reach their full potential. Her commitment to addressing youth homelessness spans volunteer service at an organization providing emergency services for homeless youth, participating in annual One Night Counts of her region’s homeless, co-chairing a regional “systems-building” planning process, and overseeing the Foundation’s grantmaking to address homelessness. Ms. Raikes’ community service has included leadership on boards including those of the College Success Foundation, the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska, the United Way of King County (where she served as co-chair of the 2006-07 United Way of King County Campaign), the Washington State University Foundation and King County Boys & Girls Club, as well as Stanford University’s Task Force on Undergraduate Education. Drawing on a successful career in marketing communications, she hopes to raise awareness of the needs of our community’s most vulnerable young people and to help facilitate solutions for success.
Lisa Stambolis, RN, CPNP, is the Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Health at Health Care for the Homeless, Inc. in Baltimore City, Maryland. Lisa has been exclusively in the field of public health for nearly 20 years and in her role as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner she been providing health care to children and youth in Baltimore City, in settings which include school based health centers, emergency shelters, and street reach. In her role as administrator at HCH she has helped create an innovative primary care clinic for homeless children and youth based on the clinic-outreach model. She is also an advocate for improving the lives of homeless youth. In the past year she was instrumental in helping to pass legislation in Maryland that will allow unaccompanied youth the right to consent to their medical treatment. Lisa is very active in several community coalitions aimed at helping homeless children and youth and is on the Community Advisory Board for the Youth Empowered Society (YES) and the Center for Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Lisa earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of the Maryland School of Nursing and a Master’s degree in Acupuncture at Tai Sophia Institute, Graduate School for the Healing Arts.
Margaret Schuelke leads Project Community Connections, Inc.’s efforts as its Executive Director. PCCI operates a permanent housing program, often referred to as rapid rehousing, that provides a unique and crucial service to the homeless services provider community and its clients. This program allows homeless service providers to focus on stabilizing clients with case management while PCCI assumes the task of placing clients into appropriate permanent housing settings within the community. PCCI’s comprehensive housing placement program incorporates housing assessment, housing counseling, housing locator services, landlord liaisons and facilitation of a financial assistance component that supports client move-in costs. Margaret received her B.A. from Georgia State University and her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Georgia.
Deborah Shore is the Founder and Executive Director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), a multi-service agency working with disconnected, homeless, and runaway youth and families since l974. The mission is to improve the lives of runaway, homeless, abused, neglected, and at-risk youth and their families in the Washington area. SBY currently serves 1,500 youth and 5,000 family members each year.
It is through her leadership that SBY has developed its unique approach which combines proven youth development practices with pioneering family strengthening strategies called Competency Based youth work. Serving a community where institutions and systems are broken and young people and their families are struggling to overcome obstacles, the agency has developed 16 programs which have a proven track record. Services are provided in natural settings and include shelter, transitional living and permanent housing programs, street outreach, home based family strengthening counseling, job training and placement, sexual health promotion, afterschool programming, violence reduction and youth leadership development. Her efforts have been aimed at providing a continuum of service that strengthen families, help youth develop life skills and a pathway to becoming self sufficient and contributing members of our city and world.
As Executive Director of Sasha Bruce, Deborah has always seen the importance of being an advocate for more comprehensive and accessible youth and family services. She is currently serving as the Chairman of the National Network for Youth and on the Board of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates. Recent awards include the Bender Prize for Excellence in Non-profit Management and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Network for Runaway and Youth Services.
Carl Siciliano is a nationally recognized advocate and provider for homeless LGBT youth and has been dedicated to this population since 1994. He began his career helping to manage shelters, soup kitchens, and residential programs for homeless individuals in New York, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. His programs have been widely recognized for their quality and innovation. In 2002, Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC), which has grown to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBT youth. In 2002, he was named by OUT Magazine as one of the 100 Outstanding Gay Achievers. His work was recognized by the Stonewall Democrats of NYC in 2006, and in 2007 he was awarded the Brooke Astor Service Award, which is given to those who are relentless in their dedication to the city of New York and who have contributed substantially to its enrichment. Today Siciliano continues to fight for the rights and empowerment of homeless LGBT youth through the growth and outreach of the Ali Forney Center.