Please join us in congratulating this year’s Award recipients!
We will post the criteria for each award at the bottom of this page.
Catherine Knowles, Homeless Liaison of the Year – you can read more about Catherine HERE
Brenda Dowdy, Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award – you can read more about Brenda HERE
Heather Denny, McKinney Vento State Coordinator of the Year – you can read more about Heather HERE
Distinguished Service and Leadership Award, Presented to the Texas Homeless Education Office – read more about them HERE
Nominee must be a homeless liaison in a school system. Each nominee must have a minimum of three years’ experience working as a homeless liaison. Nominations will be accepted by State Coordinators who are responsible for the admin State Coordinators may make multiple nominations.
Nominees must be homeless liaisons who:
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of the challenges faced by children, youth and families, including unaccompanied youth and preschool-aged children as it relates to homelessness.
- Have a thorough awareness and knowledge of State and school district policies and other state and local policies that impact children and youth experiencing homelessness.
- Are recognized as an expert in the field and have the ability to meet the needs of children/youth experiencing homelessness, support and encourage academic success and implement cross program coordination and community collaboration.
- Exemplifies leadership and innovation in regard to the implementation and compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
- Are well-known within their school system and community. He/she has earned the admiration and respect of their colleagues and community members.
Nominees for the Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award should exemplify the spirit that Sandra embodied in her work with youth experiencing homelessness.
Sandra Neese was a founding member of Nevada’s homeless youth education office in 1988. For the next 10 years, she gave of herself tirelessly so that all children in this region may have what most take for granted: safety, shelter, and a future. A child advocate at heart, she was a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and established a mentor program for student athletes that thrives to this day. She was also a founding board member of Community Chest, Inc. in 1991, the location of Nevada’s homeless youth education office, and rural non-profit agency serving children and families in northern Nevada. She loved the outdoors, New York City, ballroom dancing, and traveling. In the fall of 1998, Sandra faced her greatest challenge: a cancer that would not relent. I have never seen a woman display more courage in the face of death. Giving of herself to the end, she personified what it means to leave the world a better place.
In memory of her magnanimous spirit, Community Chest, Inc. established the Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award to honor people like Sandra who have given so much of their lives so that young people without shelter may find the promise of tomorrow.
~ Shaun Griffin. Community Chest, Inc. – Published in “The Beam,” October 1999