(Baton Rouge, LA) — On Oct. 14, hundreds of community members, nonprofit executives and civic officials gathered at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center for the 25th Annual Angel Award Gala.
The honorees were chosen from nearly 200 nominees submitted across Louisiana. Each Angel was also presented with a $25,000 grant to the nonprofit organization of their choice to deepen the impact of their work. The 2019 Angel Award honorees are:
- Pamela Allen of Ruston, the executive director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind, a nationally recognized leader and advocate for creating opportunity-rich futures for blind children in Louisiana.
- Destiny Adams Cooper of Baton Rouge, one of the founders of the Humanities Amped program, which empowers students to become critical readers, writers and thinkers by addressing real-world issues through the humanities.
- O’Neil Curtis of Baton Rouge, a barber and entrepreneur in Baton Rouge who co-created Line4Line, which has brought reading and mentorship to thousands of young men.
- Yolanda Green of Shreveport, a registered nurse who works in the school-based health center at Linwood Public Charter School, where she is known for her innovative approaches to improving the health and quality of life for students.
- Melissa Juneau of Baton Rouge, a speech-language pathologist and the recently retired CEO of The Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior and Development, which saw dramatic growth in its services for children with special needs under her leadership.
- K.C. Kilpatrick of Shreveport, a foster parent and founder of Geaux 4 Kids, Inc., a nonprofit that provides Geaux Bags of necessary items for a child’s first night in foster care, allowing children and families to begin journeys of healing at a moment’s notice.
- Sarah Omojola of New Orleans, the director of The Welcoming Project, supports young people who have been involved with the criminal justice system by filling gaps, providing solutions and teaching skills to get them back on the path to achievement.
- Anna Palmer of New Orleans, a foster parent and the founder of Crossroads NOLA, which helps recruit and train foster families, and also leads training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention to bring hope and healing to children in foster care.
Each year, the Foundation also honors a “Blue Angel,” an employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana who has shown extraordinary commitment to children. This year, the Foundation selected Deirdre Barfield, M.D. of Shreveport – a longtime volunteer at the Martin Luther King Health Center and Pharmacy, where she provides high quality family medicine services for people who cannot afford to pay for healthcare. Dr. Barfield also mentors students from area colleges who aspire to healthcare careers.
After the award ceremony, the Blue Cross Foundation unveiled an initiative called “Angels of Change” – a $2.5 million grant fund for organizations served by past Angel honorees to collaborate on solving issues for Louisiana’s children.
“Each of these outstanding individuals, both those honored this year and over the last 25 years, represents best of what our state has to offer its children. We believe that together, they can make a real dent in many of the ongoing problems Louisiana’s kids face. We are excited to support their collaborative efforts through our new Angels of Change grant programs and continue to support each of them and future classes of Angels in the years to come,” said Michael Tipton, Blue Cross Foundation president.
A full recap, videos, photos, and information about the Angels of Change grant program are all available at www.BCBSLAFoundation.org
About the Blue Cross Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianians by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together, Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Foundation invest $3.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits.
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