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Posted on: December 7, 2023

Safe Kids Kansas Recognizes Advocates for Life-Saving Work

Safe Kids Kansas

Safe Kids Kansas presented its Annual Awards yesterday, December 5. The awards recognized outstanding contributions by individuals, coalitions, organizations and businesses toward reducing unintentional injury to Kansas children. The awards were presented virtually via Zoom. Photos of honorees with their awards are available upon request to Cherie Sage. Contact information for each honoree is listed below.

Awards include the prestigious Dr. Dennis Cooley Award of Excellence, named in honor of pediatrician Dr. Dennis Cooley of Topeka. This year’s Cooley Award will be presented to Katie Schatte, Coalition Coordinator for Safe Kids Johnson County.

“Katie has forged a career out of her dedication to child safety,” said Cherie Sage, State Coordinator for Safe Kids Kansas. “Through all her many activities and affiliations, Katie sees opportunities to make a positive impact in the lives of others and seizes those moments to rally others to lend their support. We are proud to know Katie and to bestow her with our highest honor.”

Katie Schatte has led Safe Kids Johnson County as their coalition coordinator for nearly 20 years and is well known for her creative and innovative approaches to safety education and coordination of community volunteers. She is also a founding member of the nonprofit Charlie’s House, member of Pilot Club of Shawnee Mission and volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.

Safe Kids Kansas will also present awards for Outstanding Partnership for Child Safety, Outstanding Coalition Organization, Local Coalition of the Year, and Service Recognition awards. In addition, Safe Kids Kansas added a new recognition award this year in honor of our previous Medical Advisor, the Dr. Jeffrey Colvin Award for Outstanding Innovation in Child Safety.

The Dr. Jeffrey Colvin Award for Outstanding Innovation in Child Safety was presented to the Center for Research for Infant Birth and Survival (CRIBS).

CRIBS provides expertise in program evaluation, research, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices related to maternal and infant health. CRIBS participated in a national collaborative led by Dr. Colvin to explore socio-economic factors and how they may impact safe sleep behaviors through analysis of national Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data. In addition, they are engaging in an analysis of Vital Statistics Birth Outcomes for Hispanic families to identify disparities in higher infant mortality rates.

The Outstanding Partnership for Child Safety award was presented to two organizations. The McPherson Family YMCA and the Kansas Head Start Association.

McPherson Family YMCA opened a Life Jacket Loaner Station in their YMCA facility in Spring of 2023. This pilot program, which allows swimmers and boaters to borrow a lifejacket for FREE for up to 14 days at a time, is open to everyone in the McPherson community and surrounding area. The McPherson Y’s LifeJacket Loaner Station has lifejackets available in sizes ranging from infant to Adult 4XL that can be borrowed at no charge for use at birthday parties, lake outings, camping and fishing trips, hotel pools, etc. Recently, the McPherson YMCA partnered with the local Special Olympics to loan the lifejackets to its athletes.

Kansas Head Start Association has partnered with Safe Kids Kansas to provide safety education to Home Visitors, and access to home safety devices to provide to the families they serve. In addition, they have distributed safety-themed books provided by Safe Kids Kansas to their Head Start families, encouraging reading to children while sharing important safety tips to parent and child.

The Outstanding Coalition Organization award was presented to the YMCA of Topeka.

YMCA of Topeka has partnered with Safe Kids Kansas to provide free swimming lessons to low-income children in Shawnee County. To address issues of equity, they have created a swimsuit library for children without access to swimsuits so every child can enjoy the water and learn life-saving skills. In addition, they are working to provide Safety Around Water curriculum to Shawnee County children who have little to no experience around water.

The Local Coalition of the Year award was presented to Safe Kids Cloud County.

Safe Kids Cloud County stays busy engaging with community partners to address multiple safety risk areas from bike safety to medicine safety to safe sleep. Coalition coordinator, Katie Kearn, meets with local leaders to understand community needs and opportunities and to recruit partners along the way.

Service Recognition Awards were presented to Cherie Lee of the Montgomery County Health Department and Safe Kids Montgomery/Elk/Chautauqua Counties, and Francine Gollub, with Stormont Vail Health.

Cherie Lee has prioritized and promoted childhood injury prevention efforts in Montgomery County through her energetic approach. Cherie’s positive and friendly demeanor is bridging the relationship between the health department and the community while promoting Safe Kids programs to protect children from preventable injuries.

Francine Gollub is a Child Life Specialist for Stormont Vail Health and is a leader in child passenger safety work in Shawnee County. She collaborates with partner agencies offering resources and mentorship, and coordinates resources to ensure families feel confident their children are riding as safely as possible.

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