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Kathryn A.  Basile Champion for Children award winner Will Malone with Sean Boyle Director of Children’s Services and Kathryn Hensley, Board chair of CSC 

Going above and beyond every day has earned several local teens accolades and a handsome reward.  On Monday, May 19th, the Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County held its Annual Awards Dinner to recognize local youth and child advocates who are making a difference in our community.

Five teens earned this year’s Outstanding Youth Award, which comes with a $1,000 college scholarship upon graduation from high school.  Winners are nominated by the programs in which they participate for displaying exemplary leadership characteristics, achievement and volunteerism. This year’s winners included: Coby Golden of ALPI’s Computer Assisted Tutorial Program; Leeandrea Jones of the Boys & Girls Club’s Chuck Hill Unit; Jeniel McKinley of the Boys & Girls Club’s Ken Pruitt Unit; Merisa Moroz of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Chantel Peak of Future Generations.

Queen Townsend, winner of the Kathryn A. Basile Champion for Children Award (with Kathryn Hensley)

Queen Townsend, winner of the Kathryn A. Basile Champion for Children Award (with Kathryn Hensley)

The Children’s Services Council also recognized two local child advocates for their dedication to improving the lives of children in our area. Will Malone, Family Advocate for Hibiscus Children’s Center’s Supporting Families in Crisis program has worked with local families since 1996. Because of Will and his coworkers, this program has a 100% success rate of keeping children out of the Child Welfare system during and up to 1 year after services are provided. He is a true child advocate and an asset to St. Lucie County.

Also receiving a Champion for Children Award, posthumously named after the Council’s longtime leader Kathryn Basile, was retired educator Queen Townsend. Mrs. Townsend began her career in St. Lucie County as an elementary school teacher who went on to become principal, the director of elementary schools and finally the assistant superintendent before retiring in 2001. She is a former board member of the Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County, but continues to serve on several local non-profit boards, including Project ROCK. She is a dedicated servant to children and noted in her interview that if this award says anything it says who Queen Townsend is.