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In recognition of their outstanding work this year, Jan Shangle, Coordinator for the Ottawa County Great Start Collaborative Coalition, Mary Manner of the Traverse Bay Area Great Start Collaborative and Jamina Tepley of Oakland County Great Start Parent Coalition were awarded the state’s top “Fierce Heart” award for young children by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.
The awards were presented during a press conference on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in Room 252 of the State Capitol Building. Michigan’s sixth annual Star Power event took place the same day. On Main Streets and via “virtual Star Power” thousands of Michiganders showed their support for making early childhood a top legislative priority.
The Fierce Heart award honors individuals and organizations that show unwavering dedication to the Great Start vision and take relentless action at the national, state and/or local levels to bring that vision to reality. The award is given by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation that works to maximize all state, local public and private investments into an efficient and effective Great Start early childhood development system for all of Michigan’s families.
The Investment Corporation supports the Great Start Initiative, a statewide effort to provide parents with the early childhood development resources they need to prepare their children for success in school, career and life.
HEARD FROM THE HONOREES
Jan Shangle,Coordinator, Ottawa County Great Start Collaborative Coalition
“Every day new children arrive in Ottawa County as part of families who are seeking ways to thrive rather than simply survive,” Shangle said. “I am fortunate to live and work within a community of people who have fierce hearts and are willing to take on the daily challenge of making Ottawa County a creative, supportive, and vibrant community to raise families in. Through the coordination of the Great Start Collaborative I have the pleasure of working with strong, committed service providers, community leaders, and parents. Together we have the opportunity to make a difference in all areas of life that affect children’s success in school and life: physical and social health, support services, parent education and leadership, and high quality early care and education.
“I am grateful to those who have offered me recognition of this work with the Fierce Heart Award, but could not be as strong an advocate if it were not for those who stand with me in the work. Thank you to all of my current and future Great Start Collaborative partners: our children are our community’s future.”
Jamina Tepley, advocacy specialist, Oakland County Great Start Parent Coalition
“I am both honored and humbled to receive this award,” Tepley said. “Honored because it is a recognition of the relationships we are building with our legislators -- relationships that are fundamental to helping them understand the importance of investing in early childhood, and to ensuring that Oakland County's and Michigan's youngest children get a "Great Start"; and humbled because I could not have done this work on my own -- this work has been shared by so many of our Parent Coalition Members and Collaborative Partners who work with me to engage our legislators in a variety of ways, and by my colleagues who so actively support and participate in our advocacy efforts as well.
“With experience as an Attorney, Legislative Aide and Judge, she is able to interpret and relay important information about legislative policy and budget issues with ease, and offer a balanced, non-partisan perspective,” Wingard said. “She has inspired people, who would normally be passive observers of the process, to become active, passionate participants willing to speak up on behalf of their children and families.”
Mary Manner, Coordinator, Traverse Bay Area Great Start Collaborative
“Receiving the Fierce Heart award from ECIC was as unexpected honor,” Manner said. “I am delighted to accept it on behalf of all our Great Start Collaborative members, Great Start Parents, community partners and friends. Together we are making a difference for families in northwest lower Michigan.”
Doug Luciani, president of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce and board member at the Investment Corporation, was in Lansing to accept the award on Manner’s behalf.
Luciani said Manner is considered a leader among the Michigan Great Start network for her devotion to ensuring that the community and state support young children and their families. And that she has worked diligently within the six counties that encompass the Traverse Bay Area Great Start Collaborative to create a culture that is dedicated to creating system change based on parent voice and input.