Child & Family Services Honors the Remarkable Work in our Community

Agency's Celebration of Friends event is a true recognition of our friendships and partnerships that contribute to improving the lives of children and families in need. The following individuals received awards during the 2018 Celebration of Friends:

The William B. Hoyt Memorial Advocacy Award recognized individuals in our community who demonstrated the commitment to advocacy as exemplified by the late New York State Assemblyman, William B. Hoyt. This year, Avi Israel and Save the Michaels of the World, were honored for their hard work and dedication in raising awareness of the impact the opioid epidemic has here in western New York.

The John N. Walsh, Jr. Board Appreciation Award celebrated a Child & Family Services' Board Member whose work and dedication helped make a positive impact on those we serve. Matthew V. Spencer, was honored for his passion to improve the lives of others. Matthew has served on the Agency's Board of Directors as well as the Heartlight auction committee for several years. He has organized numerous donation drives to help the women and children of Haven House. Matthew has made many valuable contributions to Child & Family Services that have brought much joy to the individuals we serve.

The Susan T. Siwiec Distinguished Donor Award honored two individuals who exemplified the spirit of giving. Nancy Cox and Rachael Brown were honored this year for their commitment to the agency through their participation on the Ambassador Committee, serving as co-chairs to Fashion Show with a Twist and creating valuable community relationships on behalf of Child & Family Services.

The Stanley G. Falk Memorial Award for Distinguished Educators recognized Laura Collins. Ms. Laura Collins has been a dedicated employee, educator and leader at the Stanley G. Falk School. She is currently the Principal of the Falk- Roosevelt Campus as well as the four satellite locations in the Buffalo Public Schools. We honored Ms. Collins for her never-ending love and support for the children and staff of Stanley G. Falk School.

For the first time ever, we presented the Edwin T. Bean Volunteer Award in honor of the late Edwin T. Bean, Jr., Child & Family Services' board member for more than 53 years. The award recognized a devoted volunteer. This year, we honored Chuck Silsby, a volunteer at the Center for Resolution and Justice. As a volunteer mediator, Chuck has mediated 25 custody cases in which parents are able to focus on the best interest of their children. As a mediator, Chuck has volunteered over 100 hours to the Center for Resolution Justice.

The Child & Family Services' Distinguished Employee Award recognized the commitment, energy and dedication on the part of an outstanding employee. As the Supervisor of Counseling and Advocacy Program at Haven House, Josie Houtsma consistently goes above and beyond to help in providing a safe and welcoming environment for domestic violence survivors for the past 28 years. It is estimated that she has worked with approximately 3,000 individuals since she began her tenure.