Encourage the Heart Dinner

Calendar-IconAugust 31, 2016

Thank you to those who attended and supported The Encourage the Heart Dinner sponsored by Lykins Energy Solutions, American Modern Insurance Group, Park National Bank, Southwest Ohio Equipment Services, Children’s Hospital Medical Center and PNC Bank.  The following community awardees were honored for their extraordinary service to children and families: 

HEALTH: Dr. Warsi and Nicole Jones, NP

Dr. Warsi and Nicole Jones, NP, Loveland Healthsource of Ohio providers, are amazing partners with Child Focus.  They have been fabulous ambassadors and implementers of integrated behavioral health and pediatric health care, truly accommodating Child Focus' presence in their practice and integrating services to serve patients holistically. There are many examples of this but one story sticks out in particular.  They recently saw a child who was complaining of chest pain and increased heart rate. The staff assessed and suspected that it was anxiety that was the underlying factor and provided a "warm hand-off" to Child Focus Mental Health Staff and we started services.  Child Focus would like to acknowledge that Nicole was not fully recognized that night during the program.  Nicole initiated and cultivated the relationship with Child Focus to provide integrated care to families.  Her efforts are critical because behavioral health services are an essential element of the health care services continuum and treatment of mental illness in the individual/family context are integral components of family medicine and positive outcomes.  Both of these providers truly value treating the whole child and working in partnership with mental health to maximize child outcomes. 

LAW ENFORCEMENT: Officer Arter, Officer Lutson and Corporal Buelterman

Officer Kent Arter: Officer Arter works for Miami Township PD and he is the School Resource Officer for Milford High School and Milford Jr. High School. Officer Arter routinely assists students who are presenting with an emotional crisis, some of which are Child Focus, Inc. (CFI) clients. Officer Arter completed Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training at CFI, he has been a presenter at CIT trainings, and he routinely seeks assistance from mobile crisis and the hotline when dealing with high risk situations in the community.

Officer Chad Lutson: Officer Lutson works as a road patrol officer for Union Township PD. Union Township is a heavily populated region of Clermont County and Officer Lutson encounters many situations which involve individuals who are dealing mental health issues, substance use disorders, and a variety of other stressors. Officer Lutson does an outstanding job of handling these type of issues and he is a willing partner for the mobile crisis team. Officer Arter has responded to Child Focus on multiple occasions to assist CFI staff members with clients who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Officer Lutson completed Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training at CFI, he has been a past presenter for CIT trainings, and he recently signed on as the Law Enforcement Liaison for Clermont County CIT where he will work with Child Focus Mobile Crisis staff and Clermont Mental Health Board staff Lee Ann Watson on facilitating the 4 day CIT training at CFI.

Corporal Brett Buelterman: Corporal Buelterman works for the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office and he encounters a wide range of situations involving individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. He recently assisted mobile crisis in a situation in which an individual completed suicide. Corp. Buelterman routinely seeks consultation from the hotline and he calls on mobile crisis responders on a regular basis. Corp. Buelterman is a graduate of Crisis Intervention Team training at CFI.

EDUCATION:  Laura Nazzarine, Matt Earley and Kevin Dunn

Laura Nazzarine: Laura is a relentless advocate for children in West Clermont Local School District. She is particularly passionate about supporting children with special needs and those who may not necessarily fit the traditional educational approaches.  Her enthusiasm, creativity and collaborative spirit have brought to fruition some of the most innovative programming in existence in our community. All of us at Child Focus recognize that without Laura’s support and energy, the programming available to meet the needs of some of the most challenging students in our community, would not be possible. We treasure the long history of collaboration and look forward to our continued work together to Make THE Difference in the lives of young children and their families.

Matt Earley and Kevin Dunn:  Matt and Kevin recognize the impact of early learning experiences in preparing children for success in Williamsburg Local Schools. They know that one of the best ways to support a child’s successful entry into school is by providing access to quality preschool. In less than two years, through collaborative efforts, the district under the leadership of Matt and Kevin is offering quality early learning opportunities for 75% of their incoming Kindergarteners. Their “can do” attitude and genuine belief that every child deserves an opportunity, makes working with this incredible team a joy. Child Focus could not ask for better partners as we join others in the community to Make THE Difference in the lives of young children and their families.

CAPACITY BUILDING:  Sen. Uecker, District 14; Rep. Green, District 66; Deanna Vietze, Brown County Board of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services and Kelly Smith, Mental Health & Addictions Advocacy Coalition (MHAC)

Child Focus made a substantial investment in the future of children and families in Brown, Adams and Highland County areas with the purchase of a new building in Mt Orab with the help of a State Capital Grant. The State of Ohio's biennial Capital Budget provides appropriations for the repair, reconstruction and construction for community projects of local or regional interest. The process of enacting a biennial Capital Budget, which begins many months prior to introduction of a capital appropriations bill in the General Assembly, occurs within the context of another activity — preparation of the state's six-year Capital Improvements Plan, and continues for many months after, required the extraordinary help, advocacy and support of these four amazing people, ultimately helping Child Focus garner a Capital Grant to improve and enhance our ability to provide therapy, case management, telepsychiatry, parent education and foster parent training to children and families and sustain our agency over time. 

ADVOCACY:  Scott Sloan, 700 WLW & Jen Motley, iheartmedia

The need for foster and respite parents has never been greater as child well-being has become increasingly compromised by poverty, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and caregiver mental illness. Foster care is the right answer for children who must be placed outside their birth home while serious family matters are mediated. Foster parents are the every day heroes who give children the gift of safety, security, stability, nurturing and normalcy during this traumatic time in their life. Scott and Jen have always been an ally for Child Focus and an advocate for children and we wanted to recognize their efforts to promote positive media coverage of foster care in Cincinnati. Though their help and linkages with other individuals with a passion for foster care, Jen and Scott helped connect companies like Lamar Billboards, Baxla Tractor and Councilmember Winburn with Child Focus to dream up the Big Day of Foster Care at City Hall and implemented an extensive, donated media and awareness campaign to recruit foster parents, educate the community on the needs of children in foster care, build resources for children in care and celebrate those who advocate for these children.


Lizzy, recently featured on Channel 9 WCPO, started her own charity to benefit local children and encourage literacy.   And everything started with a dream.   Lizzy called her mom at work and told her she wanted to tell her about a new venture over work that night. That night over dinner, she proceeded to tell her mom and dad about a dream she had.  In her dream, the world was a disaster because kids didn’t have books and they couldn’t read.  Her idea was to give kids a fun pillowcase to lay on while they read before bedtime, hence her name of Sweet Dreams by Lizzy.  Over her Christmas break, a family friend, Patty Cottingham, set up a meeting for her and the Eastern Area United Way so they could advise her on organizations that could use her pillowcases and books.  Shirley Terry helped Lizzy in donating materials. Lizzy has inspired these women and many others to make countless donations; including their time, money,  books, fabric and pillow cases to help Lizzy and her cause.  So far, Lizzy has donated her pillowcases and books to our children and teens in foster care, early learning and Mt. Orab programs and has plans to benefit many other children in our community.