Connecting for Kids recently honored five individuals who have helped fulfill the organization’s mission to provide education and support to families with concerns about their child.
Honored last week at the Connecting for Kids Annual Fundraiser were:
- Parents of the Year: Chris & Maureen Box, of North Ridgeville
- Educator/Professional of the Year: Natalie Tesar, second grade teacher at Eastview Elementary School in Avon Lake. Tesar resides in Bay Village.
- Kind Kid Award Winner: Kyleigh Briggs, of Olmsted Falls
- Board Member of the Year: Kim Riley, of Westlake
Parents of the Year: Chris & Maureen Box
From arranging fundraisers to encouraging dads to get out and connect with each other, Chris and Maureen Box have become an integral part of Connecting for Kids. The two of them have taken a tough situation, as parents to a child with a severe disability, and used their incredible courage and strength of character, along with their contagious positivity, to build a community within the Connecting for Kids organization.
Educator/Professional of the Year: Natalie Tesar
As a second grade teacher and Building Advisory Team member at Eastview Elementary School in Avon Lake, Tesar has quickly proven to be one of the building’s strongest educators and leaders. She has excelled in the classroom and in all roles presented to her. This devotion and hard work is the reason her students perform so well. She is student-centered, plans instruction to meet her students’ individual needs and uses technology to engage and empower her students. Tesar always goes above and beyond for her students. She provides them with materials they need for class, shows them that she cares, and finds the positives in every student she has. Tesar displays all the professional and personal traits that make her a quality educator. She is professional, caring, builds strong relationships with others, and remains calm under stressful circumstances.
Kind Kid Award Winner: Kyleigh Briggs
The Kind Kid Award from Connecting for Kids is given to a child under 13 years of age who demonstrates kindness and compassion to peers. Kyleigh has continually volunteered for intervention student counseling at Olmsted Falls Schools and is the person who raises other children’s spirits when she finds them needing it, both friends and strangers. Kyleigh even hosted an iced tea stand to raise over $150 for Kick-It for Cancer. She is always encouraging her family to visit the elderly in the nursing home because she tells them, “It’s the right thing to do,” which, according to her nomination, has been her slogan since she learned to talk. Kyleigh cares for all people and for the well-being of animals, too.
Board Member of the Year: Kim Riley
Riley’s dedication to the mission of Connecting for Kids is exemplified in her multiple accomplishments on the board of directors. She helped to develop the internal organizational structure needed for growth. Riley also identified the need for a moderate-to-severe disabilities group of families within Connecting for Kids and volunteered her time to help lead the group. She personally mentored most of the initial members and helped them through the unique challenges of parenting a child with more severe needs. The group has more than 100 members, and it has become a tangible and permanent part of the Connecting for Kids culture. Finally, Riley is never afraid to challenge a plan or offer concerns about a proposal’s feasibility. This willingness to speak up and share ideas about how to help families has enabled Connecting for Kids to grow.
Connecting for Kids serves all families, including those children with and without formal diagnoses. CFK offers educational programs, support groups, a Parent Match Program and numerous resources. For more information, visit: connectingforkids.org, email [email protected] or call 440-250-5563.