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Boca Raton's Woman of Grace

November 11, 2011
Boca Raton's Woman of Grace
Boca Raton, FL.

Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD of Boca Raton became a Woman of Grace at the 12th annual Women of Grace luncheon of the Bethesda Hospital Foundation held on November 9, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton in Manalapan.

Siskowski earned the award for her volunteerism and for making a difference for caregiving youth and their families in Palm Beach County. According to Siskowski, a national expert on child caregiving, there are at least 10,000 children locally who have these adult responsibilities.

Siskowski is the first in the nation to create a comprehensive and successful support system for caregiving youth. The Caregiving Youth Project, a program of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) facilitates skills building/support groups in middle schools, offers workshops on life skills, conducts home visits to link families to help and provides academic support as well as other resources to ease some of the responsibility and give caregiving youth the chance to be kids. It has established a Continuing Care Division for its 200 caregiving youth in high school as well as a Bereavement Transition Program for those students who experience the death of their care receiver. To date it has provided services to nearly 500 caregiving youth and their families and has more than 98% of its members staying in school.

"We need healthcare, education and the community to come together to recognize, reach out, and support caregiving youth to safeguard their education, their health and well-being along with their futures," says Siskowski. She wants the staff at Bethesda and other medical centers to become educated and then designated "Caregiving Youth Friendly Facilities" so that when family members are admitted, caregiving youth will be recognized for the value of their role and be included rather than excluded as part of their loved ones health care team.

In 2009 Siskowski received the Purpose Prize and a lifetime Ashoka Fellows award for the Caregiving Youth Project. Ashoka recognizes leading social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to social problems. In 2010 she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Johns Hopkins University and earlier in 2011 AACY received the Heroes in Medicine Community Outreach Award from the Palm Beach County Medical Society.


AACY is dependent on the generosity of others to continue and expand its work. For more information visit www.aacy.org, call 561-391-7401 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shining a Light on Young Caregivers

The American Society on Aging published the following article3 about the American Association of  Caregiving Youth:

America's Only Youth Caregiving Group
Illumines a Silent Epidemic

By ASA Staff

It wasn’t until a therapist asked Connie Siskowski about her experience as a young caregiver to her beloved grandfather—if she thought it was normal thing for a kid to do—that Siskowski realized it wasn’t.

Early one morning, when she went to give her grandfather his medication, she found his lifeless body. Siskowski was only 13 years old.

She recalls that night like it was yesterday. Back then there was no recognition of a child’s grief, or of the caregiving role, so it has become Siskowski’s calling as president and founder of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) to help young caregivers. Her group, founded in 1998, evolved into the first and only program that identifies and supports caregiving youth in the United States.

Read the rest of the article here.

Santa Rosa Beach 6th Grader Speaks Out

A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 6th grader speaks out on Youth Caregiving and wins 1st place in her class for her critical thinking: Her mom doesn't want any flack as she reaches out to help us.




BOCA RATON, FL (August 22, 2011) -Over 125 local community, business, religious leaders and elected officials joined the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) and TD Bank to honor Maria Levix, Executive Director of the Schmidt Family Foundation at a Back to School Breakfast Celebration held last week. As a featured event of the annual Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce "Festival Days", the event also served as a fund-raising and awareness-building opportunity to benefit the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP), which is a program of the locally-based national non-profit AACY.  

Special surprises, musical interludes, and heartfelt accolades filled the fast-paced morning program.  Following words of welcome by AACY Board members Mark Hansen, Chairman, and Dr. Tom Tift, Secretary, and an interfaith prayer led by Ken Roughton, Pastor of First United Methodist Church, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel, provided the first surprise of the day by presenting Maria with an Official City Proclamation designating August 18 as "Maria Levix Day."  Representatives of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Florida Atlantic University, the Spirit of Giving Network, Boca's Promise and the Toppel Foundation also offered surprise tributes and recognition of Maria's community advocacy. Chrissy Biagiotti, who served as the first executive director of Boca Raton Interfaith in Action, the original non-profit organization from which AACY and CYP grew, was also on hand to congratulate Maria on her role in the growth of the organizations.

Citing Ms. Levix' invaluable contributions to AACY and its Caregiving Youth Project, Connie Siskowski, AACY President, stated, "Over five years ago, Maria was the first from the funding community to understand the major connection between family health situations and the ability of a child to learn. Her efforts and belief in our mission led her to win support for child caregivers from the Schmidt Family Foundation and other foundations.  The collaborative funding initiative resulted in the establishment of the first Caregiving Youth Project in the United States and, ultimately, what is now the American Association of Caregiving Youth.  We are extremely grateful for Maria and the Schmidt Family Foundation's continuing participation in our work." An inscription on a heart- shaped paperweight presented to Levix simply read, "In 2006 You Understood."

Proceeds of the event benefited AACY's Caregiving Youth Project that offers services to children who care for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members.  Since its inception in 2006 at Boca Raton Community Middle School, CYP has expanded its services to more than 400 students in eight middle schools and 17 high schools throughout Palm Beach County. The demand for its support services in-school, out-of-school and at home is increasing as families, especially those with health issues, face the challenges of economic tolls.  For additional information, please contact us at (561) 391-7401.


Boca Raton, FL. What do you get when you combine thanking a community advocate who has made a difference in the lives of many thousands of children and families with elected officials, business and religious leaders, a fantastic ocean and Intracoastal view, and a fast-moving, early morning program designed to celebrate the return to school in Palm Beach County?  You get the "Back to School Breakfast," one of the featured events of Boca Festival Days and the one community constituents won't want to miss!

Held in conjunction with two local yet national corporations, TD Bank and the non-profit American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY), the program will be highlighted by a special award for Maria Levix, Executive Director of the Schmidt Family Foundation. Ms. Levix is the "go to" person with a "can do" attitude.

The exceptional personal qualities and organizational skills of Levix led to her promotion as Executive Director in the year 2000. In this role she represents the Schmidt Family's mission of giving back to the community. Most notably she worked with Barbara Schmidt to create the nonprofit Spirit of Giving Network to spearhead collaborative initiatives and reduce duplication of services among many local non-profits.

It was Maria Levix who, in early 2006, learned about the proposed Caregiving Youth Project at a Spirit of Giving Network meeting. Her insight and immediate understanding that there is a major connection between family health situations and the ability of a child to learn, led her to seek and win support for child caregivers from the Schmidt Family Foundation. As a result, the first US Caregiving Youth Project and what is now the American Association of Caregiving Youth became a reality.

WHEN: Thursday, August 18
                7:30 am - 9:00 am

WHERE: Carmen's Restaurant at the Top of the Bridge Hotel
                999 East Camino Real
                Boca Raton, Florida

WHY: Proceeds of the breakfast will benefit the
Caregiving Youth Project, a program of AACY
that offers services to children who care for ill, injured,
elderly or disabled family members.

Breakfast tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door.  Please contact (561) 391-7401, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to purchase a ticket or for more information.

Jersey Mikes Partners with AACY


Enjoy Jersey Mike's Subs and provide spirited support for the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY). Headquartered in Boca Raton, AACY is the only organization in the United States that identifies supports and recognizes children who are responsible for the care of their ill, injured, elderly, or disabled family members.

Beginning on Thursday, June 2, the Jersey Mike's Sub shop located at 1920 NE 5th Avenue in the Fifth Avenue shops on Federal Highway, will donate 15% of all sales generated every Thursday evening between 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

"We are pleased to partner with the American Association of Caregiving Youth which provides invaluable support to local caregiving youth who are also middle school or high school students," stated Dale Driver, Regional Marketing Director.

In a related program on Friday, June 3, the Jersey Mike's Sub shop will also donate a portion of proceeds from 5-year old Shoshanna Faerman's birthday party. Her mother is AACY's Civic Engagement Coordinator who decided to celebrate her 6th birthday there.

Shoshi said, "I want to help the children of my community like my mommy does." As part of the birthday celebration, Shoshanna and her friends will share in building the ultimate Jersey Mike's 6-foot sub, take a tour of the facility and create a custom cookie creation.

For additional information, please contact Laura Poklemba at (561) 391-7401or visit our website at www.accy.org.

List of Articles on the Web - 2011

Links provided by Google

 PubMed Result
2: Siskowski C, Diaz N, Connors L, Mize N. Recognition and assessment of caregiving youth in hospice and home healthcare. Home Healthc Nurse. ...

Youth Caregivers: A Cowichan Region Project providing support to ...
A local director has prepared a powerful look into the lives of caregiving youth in our own community. Now you can watch Chris Kruger's documentary online! ...
The Caregiving Youth Project – H.264 800Kbps Streaming.mov ...
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! No related posts.
* Caregiving Youth Project Of Pinellas
Caregiving Youth Project of Pinellas - Mission: The focus the is to identify, recognize, ... AACY - The American Association of Caregiving Youth. ...
Caregiving Youth Project
AACY - The American Association of Caregiving Youth. Resources for young caregivers.

The Internet and Social Media: A Curse On Our Kids? Not If They're ...
Recently, I've had the privilege of volunteering with The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) in an outreach/media relations capacity. ...


Dual Role Students Honored, Legislators Voice Support For AACY and ...
All proceeds from the event are earmarked for support to and awareness of the more than 1.4 million youth caregivers who shoulder the tremendous ...


Young Caregivers In The U S Free PDF Download - MildPDF.com
Browse and download Young Caregivers In The U S PDF for free.

The nature of caregiving in children of a parent with multiple ...
This study explored youth caregiving for a parent with multiple sclerosis (MS) from multiple perspectives, and examined associations between caregiving and ...

The American Association of Caregiving Youth's Hearts and 'Soles ...
Venue Name: Country Club of Boca Raton Venue Address: 6200 Boca del Mar Dr Venue City: Boca Raton Venue State: FL Venue Phone Number: (561) 391-7401.

Caregiving Youth Story - RWJF-LFP
He gave his name and contact information to Kathy, the woman at the table, so she could call his family and share how Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) could ...

AACY to Honor CYP Graduating Seniors and Courage Award Recipients
The American Association of Caregiving Youth will be honoring its first class of graduating student caregivers and youth caregivers who have shard their ...

Boca Raton Chamber - AACY to Honor CYP Graduating Seniors and ...
AACY is continuing its model Caregiving Youth Project while expanding its reach ... The mission of the CYP is to: a) Increase awareness of caregiving youth ...
Caregiver Support - idealist.org
Location: Boca Raton, Florida, United States; Description: Caregiving Youth are children and adolescents who are 18 years of age or younger who provide ...


Caregivers Support Network, Caregiving Youth Project of Pinellas ...
PR NewsChannel
Proceeds from the event will go toward Caregiving Youth Project of Pinellas, a group of children responsible for providing care for a loved one. ...

PR NewsChannel

Young Caregivers
Caregiving youth; Young carers. Definition. Many definitions for “Young Carers” exist in qualitative and quantitative research which has been conducted in ...


American Association of Caregiving Youth's 2nd Annual Hearts and ...
Come to pbpulse for American Association of Caregiving Youth's 2nd Annual Hearts and “Soles" Fundraising Dinner details, and to find other Charity ...

 Lynn quake survivors 'want to finish what we went there to do'
The beneficiaries were the Florence Fuller Child Development Center and the American Association of Caregiving Youth. "We lost our daughter. ...

Boca Raton Chamber - State Legislators Join In Bipartisan Support ...
Palm Beach County, FL – January 6, 2011 – The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) is pleased to announce the participation of FL State Senator ...


 State Legislators Join In Bipartisan Support for Floridaâ•Žs ...
Conservative estimates of the number of caregiving youth nationwide exceed 1.4 ... AACY's model program, the Caregiving Youth Project, in full partnership ...


Young Caregivers
Young Caregivers. American Association of Caregiving Youth · Caregiver Youth Project · When Your Parent Has Cancer: A Guide for Teens ...


The Caregiving Youth Project of Pinellas (CYPP), of the Caregivers Support Network, supports children in our community who provide care to a parent, ...

2011 Scholarship Opportunities


Caregiving Youth are graduating!  Now what?  We have two amazing scholarship opportunities for you to make a difference in their continued path to success!
1.  Your gift will be matched as we collect for our 6th year to offer a scholarship in partnership with the George Snow Scholarship Foundation for the AACY CAREGIVING YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP.  Deserving finalists include:
  • A daughter cared for her dad, a former businessman with heart disease and who is now on dialysis. Her stay-at-home mom went to work but was laid off. This daughter provided care, went to school, worked and wants to further her education.
  • A mom has Lupus and dad, an alcoholic, died. An uncle can no longer help with health insurance. Meds for both mom and son, are very expensive. The son's hope is to become better educated and support his mom.

    2010 AACY Caregiving Youth George Snow Scholarship Fund winner Clayborn Mathis.

  • To survive after abuse from a stepfather, this daughter and mom moved in and slept on the floor of an aunt with mental health issues. Help us help this student and encourage her success.
  • An immigrant, this student has been caring for her younger sister with autism. She also works to help support her family as dad lost his job. With help, she will be the first in her family to attend college!
  • At age 7 this child witnessed his dad's death and became his mom's "link to the world" in their journey of mental health issues and poverty. Now they live in FL with family and, with support, he is on the path to college and a successful future.
  • Caring for a bedridden uncle and two siblings with disabling conditions has made this student's life a daily challenge. Yet, she has been successful in school and is anxious to have the opportunity to further her education and future plans. 
2.  The new FRED GALLAND CAREGIVING YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP is in memory and honor of the First Chair of the AACY Board who died on March 31, 2011 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.  This award is for a graduating senior who has been active in the Caregiving Youth Project. We are so proud of these deserving youth who began with CYP as 8th graders in our first year, 2006-07.
No donation amount is too small!  Every penny counts as TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER and only TOGETHER CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of children who care for family members who are ill, injured, elderly or disabled!
By connecting for the first time with caregiving peers, caregiving youth learn they are not alone.  Now let's let them learn they are not alone as they go forward in their lives!
Mail a donation to: AACY - 1515 N. Federal Highway, Ste 214, Boca Raton, FL 33432, call our office at 561-391-7401 and charge your contribution, or Donate by clicking:
When donating, please designate the scholarship of your choice.
THANK YOU!         
Snow Winners 

Pictured Above Are Some Caregiving Youth Scholarship Winners of the Past



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