BOCA RATON, FL (June 9, 2010) - Clayborn Mathis, graduate of Palm Beach Lakes Community High School, was one of 74 young scholars honored at the recent George Snow Scholarship Fund awards reception. As the recipient of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) Scholarship, he was uniquely recognized for academic achievements and his dual-role responsibilities as a family caregiver.
AACY is a locally-headquartered national not-for-profit organization that serves as a national resource for the support of children who are caring for ill, aging, elderly or disabled family members. Its Caregiving Youth Project is the first comprehensive program in the United States to address the multiple challenges faced by these children and their families.
According to Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD, founder and president of the American Association of Caregiving Youth, "We are extremely pleased to be able to partner with the George Snow Scholarship Fund and help provide college funding for such a well-deserving student as Clayborn. This recognition is especially important in light of the growing number of children who, like Clayborn, are tasked with being a both a student and family caregiver. Clayborn has been successful and we congratulate him on his accomplishments; many others who lack support are not able to remain in school."
Since the age of six, following the death of his mother, Clayborn has been raised by his grandparents, who have been "incredibly supportive throughout the years," he explains. When his grandmother became ill several years ago, he took over as family caregiver and has continued assisting his grandfather following her death. At one point, he was helping his grandfather manage 15 different medications.
Clayborn plans to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he will major in business administration. Additionally, he will be a contributor to the AACY website and newsletter which are available to youth caregivers throughout the country. His grandfather's care will be turned over to Clayborn's sister.
"I appreciate the recognition by the George Snow Scholarship Fund and especially the American Association of Caregiving Youth," he says. "It's amazing to be able to connect with others who have gone through some of the same obstacles I have and giving them a word of encouragement is a good thing."
BOCA RATON, FL. (June 10, 2010) - Ronnette Virginia Smith, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., has joined the Board of Directors of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY). Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, she is responsible for Wal-Mart's outreach and social investments in America Indian & Alaskan Native and Mature (50+) communities.
Prior to joining Wal-Mart in 2006, Ms. Smith was affiliated with Southern Company in Atlanta, Georgia, and worked as an independent business consultant. Her diverse client roster included HVAC, financial services, residential and commercial building, restaurant, day care and specialty retail accounts. A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, she has studied post graduate work at the University of Phoenix in Organizational Behavioral Management and is currently pursuing a Masters of Science of Leadership Ethics at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
The American Association of Caregiving Youth is a locally-headquartered not-for-profit organization that serves as a national resource for the support of children who are caring for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members.
"We are delighted to welcome Ronnette to our Board of Directors," stated Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD., founder and president of AACY. "In addition to her outstanding business and professional expertise, her personal experience as both a child and adult caregiver, brings an exciting new dynamic to the Board and her unique understanding of the challenges faced by the children and families we serve will be invaluable."
Connie Siskowski is highlighted in this exerpt from the press releases of the 2009 induction ceremony into Ashoka. Besides Connie, you'll be able to meet all of the class by following a link on the page.
Boca Raton Mayor Susan Welchel is pictured with “young carers” from Oxford, England, during a discussion of the need for community and governmental recognition of and support for students who also have caregiving responsibilities for ill, aging or disabled family members.As part of their mission during a 5-day trip to Palm Beach County, the young carers sought to draw attention to the dramatic difference between the United Kingdom and United States support for young caregivers between the ages of 8 to 18.In the UK, “young carers” have been recognized and given support by external organizations, members of parliament and over 300 young carer projects throughout the realm.In the United States, only one program recognizes and supports “youth caregivers” -- the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP), established in 2006 and headquartered in Boca Raton.(CYP is the major program of the non-profit American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY), which was recently formed locally as the first national organization dedicated to the issue of youth caregivers.)
The UK young carers and their adult companions also met with their local student/caregiver counterparts who are members of (CYP), visited Boca Raton Middle School, which was the first school to adopt the CYP in Palm Beach County, and toured and met with representatives of the Palm Health Care Pavilion at the Molly Wilmot Center in West Palm Beach.They also took part in a conference call with the New York State Caregiving Coalition’s Subcommittee of Young Caregivers.
KICKS OFF INAUGURAL YEAR WITH RECOGNITION RECEPTION
BOCA RATON, FL (January 20, 2010) Over 200 people including state and county elected officials and leaders in the health and educational fields, will join participants and staff members of the American Association of Caregiving Youth at a reception at the Broken Sound Club on Thursday, February 4.
“This event not only marks the national kick-off of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY), the first national organization dedicated to the issue of youth caregivers,*” states Mark Hansen, former member of the Palm Beach County School Board, who is chairing the event, “but it also honors several very special local advocates of this issue.”
Highlighted by a keynote address by Frank McKinney, real estate artist, philanthropist, visionary and five-time international best-selling author, the program will include recognition of Ann Faraone, PhD, retiring Director of Student Intervention Services, Palm Beach County Schools, who has been instrumental in recognizing the need for and expansion of the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) which is under the auspices of AACY, and Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD, founder and president of both CYP and AACY, recent $50,000 Purpose Prize Winner and Lifetime Ashoka Fellow. The event will also recognize the courage of several local youth caregivers who have shared their stories with the public.
Nationwide, there are conservative estimates of over 1.3 million youth caregivers, and the number continues to grow. This is especially true in South Florida, where the demographics and cultural norms play key roles in driving the prevalence of youth caregiving.
Locally, the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) was created in 2006 as the first comprehensive program in the United States to address this issue and to provide education and awareness, research and support services for dual-role middle school students who are also family caregivers. Since its inception at Boca Raton Middle School, CYP has expanded its services to six additional middle schools throughout Palm Beach County and has provided assistance, support and education to over 5,000 students.
According to Dr. Siskowski, “the American Association of Caregiving Youth will foster the replication of the CYP model throughout Florida and nationally, increase awareness about youth caregiving and provide direct and indirect support services for youth caregivers and their families.”
“It is AACY’s vision,” she continues “to be the national resource for the support of youth who are both students and caregivers within their families so they can regain a bit of childhood and achieve success in school and in life. No child should have to drop out of school to care for ill, aging or disabled family members.” For more information or to attend this ground-breaking event, visit or call 561-391-7401.
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