Here are your 2017
What is an Unsung Hero? A parent or caregiver who demonstrates incredible resiliency,
draws upon a strong support system, understands their child’s development or needs, shows empathy and support toward their child’s feelings, and who is not afraid to ask for help or receive help.
The winners are...
Jennifer Snider, Martin, TN
Jennifer provides her grandchildren with a loving, supportive home in which they could blossom into well-rounded, successful people who impress everyone they meet. She took on the role of parent without hesitation, and provides her children with everything they need.
Erica Senecal, Murfreesboro, TN
Erica, a mother of three children, suddenly became a single mom. She quickly learned how to care for and provide for her children on her own. Erica advocates for her children with the help and support of many people and organizations in the community, she is bold in asking for and accepting help when needed, and her resilience shines bright and is an example to others in the community.
Myra Cooper, Murfreesboro, TN
Myra Cooper is the respected president of the Tennessee Foster Adoptive Care Association, and she practices what she preaches with her own children. She leads by example, and challenges all who interact with her to be better people.
Jodie Martin, Dyersburg, TN
Jodie has grown in knowledge and uses it to strengthen her family. Once she learned about childhood developmental stages and attachment theory she began to interact with her daughter more thoughtfully. She successfully fostered her child’s potential, and as a result, her daughter has grown into an intelligent, well-behaved, and sweet child. Jodie did all of this while completing a vocational school certification and overcoming personal health issues.
Tisha Keck, Springfield, TN
Tisha Keck is a great candidate for the Unsung Hero Award because she, as part of a ministry that helps care for children of moms that are serving time in prison, has taken in two children in addition to her three biological children. Tisha has a nurturing spirit and hs found a way to wholeheartedly care for these children. She provides a nurturing home, doing everything from birthday parties to speech therapy to potty training so that these children have a healthy, happy childhood.
Craig and Lisa Taylor
Craig and Lisa have opened up their home for the past seven years to provide love, normalcy, and a sense of permanency to many foster children. They provide a safe, nurturing home for their children, often even after they turn eighteen.
Jason and Deanna Meador, Gallatin, TN
Deanna Meador and her husband Jason are poster parents for parents of children who are deaf. They moved to be closer to oral deaf programs, participate in studies to research new technology, and promote sign language to children who are deaf and hearing in order to build a support system for children who are deaf. Deana even volunteers as a grant writer for the nonprofit, Sign Club Co., so they stay proactive and provide support for other families in similar experiences.
Guillermina Perdue, Oneida, TN
Guillermina Perdue has made an incredible commitment to her child by making the choice to stay at home, speaking both English and Spanish to him, and by instilling healthy habits by cooking and cleaning with him by her side. She values creating a supportive home, unlike the home of her youth, so that her child can be a physically and mentally healthy, secure, intelligent, independent, and happy person.
Donna Neal, Hendersonville, TN
Donna has dedicated her life to helping children by caring for foster children always as if they were her own biological children. Her advocacy for the importance of each child's permanency, educational, and vocational needs shines as a bright star in her community.
Jan and Decon Jones, Huntland, TN
Jan and her husband, Decon, have opened up their hearts and their homes to foster children unconditionally, understanding that not every child will respond with love, appreciation, or affirmation at that time in their lives. Their dedication, hard work, compassion, patience, and self-sacrifice are demonstrated in the sense of stability and safety they provide for their children.
Shannon Washington, Memphis, TN
In the face of adversity and traumatic life events, Shannon continues to advocate for children and families, particularly around mental health services. As a single mother, her positivity, persistence, and resilience provide outstanding examples for her daughter and community. She demonstrates the importance of a having a strong support system, and constantly gives back to her community by volunteering at her daughter's school and serving on local advisory committees. community!
Anne Ballard, Nashville, TN
Anne is an adoptive parent of three children and is in the process of adopting two more. Three of her children are deaf. She understands her children's developmental needs and is supportive of their emotional needs as well. She is extremely proactive at building a strong support network for herself and her children. Anne has actively pursued every outlet to make her children feel supported at home and school including learning sign language.
Shonda Lay, Helenwood, TN
Shonda Lay, a mother of twins, has overcome her own adverse childhood experiences to provide her children with the best childhood experience that she can by nurturing them to be healthy, happy children. She understands the importance of the role her twins’ father plays in their lives, and she co-parents the girls with him.
Tonya Bowman, Nashville, TN
Tonya is an excellent example of resiliency and advocacy. She provides her daughter, who has autism and hearing challenges, opportunities to have her own voice. She is active in parent-led organizations that support families with children with special needs and is a tremendous advocate.
Michael and Royce Ann Johnson, Mt. Juliet, TN
Michael and Royce Ann Johnson are foster parents to a child with severe medical, developmental, and physical disabilities. They go above and beyond what is expected of foster parents, acting as strong, loving advocates for their child.
Jonathan and Stacy Brashier, Waynesboro, TN
Jonathan and Stacy became certified as foster parents for therapeutic and medically fragile children when they learned that three siblings were going to have to move. If all goes according to the plan, the three siblings will officially join the Brashiers' family of five this year. They are ready to provide a sense of permanency and unconditional love for these three children.
Celana Allen, Jackson, TN
Celana is a dedicated parent who is a leader in her community. She is involved with sports team, Boy Scouts, church, and volunteering all while home-schooling her son with ADHD. She is a fierce advocate. She has founded a non-profit to assist with needy families in her community. In addition, fighting for her son to receive specialized care and attention academically, to empower him and accommodate his unique strengths and challenges.
Mdalalah Abuhadba, Nashville, TN
Mdalalah is an avid volunteer in the Nashville community. After graduating for MTSU she balances motherhood, volunteering for the Islamic Center and being a volunteer preschool teacher with training professional counseling students to better serve the Arab American population. She truly is a servant leader in the community.
Linda Parham, Mosheim, TN
Linda is a perfect example of motherly love. Linda and her husband have dedicated their life to fostering children while raising 4 of their own! She values the new additions to her family and strives to make them feel at home, right down to the kind of shampoo they like. Her example in the foster parent community shines, and demonstrates that with love and respect, a confident, well-nurtured child can grow up to be an active, contributing member of their community.