Child Advocate of the Year honored
Samira Beckwith, chief executive officer of Hope Hospice and Palliative Care, was presented with the 2008 Child Advocate of the Year Award at an award banquet in the Hyatt Regency at Coconut Point.
The R. David and I. Lorraine Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award is named after the owner of Wendy’s. Each year it is presented to a community activist who helps homeless, neglected and troubled children.
Beckwith was one of five finalists who were considered for the award by the Children’s Home Society who gave it out Saturday. This was the first year that nominations for the award could be submitted by the community instead of being decided by the board of directors.
Jacqueline House, development director for the southwest division of the Children’s Home Society, explained that the award is for a person who has advocated for children with their time and who gave a voice to improve the lives of children.
Locally, Hope Hospice provides a number of services to young people.
Hope Child and Teen Care works with local children of various ages from newborns to 19-year-olds.
Pediatric Hospice Care provides care to children who are terminally ill. A unique care plan is tailored to each child and workers use a holistic approach in their care.
A team of physicians, nurses, social workers and counselors work with children while in hospice care and they offer expressive therapies that employ art and music.
Another program, Partners in Care: Together for Kids, offers palliative care to children with limiting conditions. It offers pain control, in-home care, expressive therapies and one-on-one counseling.
Hope Hospice is also well known for the Rainbow Trails Camp where children dealing with a death in the family can grieve and heal together.
The camp is open to children between the ages of 5 and 18, and uses support groups in a safe, weekend camp experience. It costs $1,100 per camper, and organizers said 80 children enroll each year.
John Strickling, community relations director for Hope Hospice, said more than 180 children were served by Hope Child and Teen Care in 2007.
The 2007 award recipients included Jim and Linda Malone, trustees from the Naples Children and Education Foundation.