The Annual Parent Leadership Breakfast was created to commemorate our years’ work over a hot breakfast. As our organization has grown, so has the breakfast; we look forward to highlighting outstanding Detroiters that go above and beyond to ensure a better future for our children, with the Parent Champion Awards.
This year’s breakfast will take place on Saturday, December 9th at Cass Tech High School. Click below to register!
Designed to celebrate those people who make unseen, heroic sacrifices every day to make sure their children’s needs are met and that they attend school each day ready to learn.
For those people who look after others’ children as their own: the troop leaders, postal workers, grandparents, block club leaders, crossing guards, and coaches. Village Leaders are considered parental figures and show their love for all children in the community.
Elizabeth Riachi won top honors in two categories – The Resilience Award and the Village Leader Award, and was chosen for the Resilience Award not only for her own resilience, but also for the resilience she inspires in others. Elizabeth has suffered physical challenges these last few years but she has remained constant in her parent outreach at Munger Elementary-Middle School and in support of DPN. As a breast cancer survivor, she has presented 6 workshops for DPN telling her story to encourage timely screening and early detection, inspiring many women to step up and get mammograms. She has assisted with Gleaners food distributions, facilitated DPN workshops, and is now a certified trainer in all DPN’s core programs. As a trained Literacy Coach, Elizabeth has also provided over 100 families with DPN’s Pathways to Literacy home visits as part of this Early Childhood Literacy Program. She helps with all things DPN Español and is a pillar in Southwest Detroit. As of a few months ago, she is now dealing with newly diagnosed cancer but has not skipped a beat in support of her community.
Minnie Davis is President & CEO of Young Men-N-Motion, Inc., where she provides outreach services, housing support, training, mentoring, resources and referrals to homeless and at-risk young men ages 11 to 26, to ease the difficult transition to adulthood. Minnie has served in human services and education over 30 years. She has dedicated her life to being an advocate for children and adults, working and volunteering in the homes, schools and community. She takes pride in being a mother of one daughter, one adoptive son, and also being a foster and adoptive mom of 17
surrogate children. She also serves as an Alumni of AmeriCorps and as Program & Resource Director of the Mathis Community Center. Minnie’s kind and courageous heart gives all of us hope for our village.
Rhonda Askew pushes through no matter the trials facing her, from losing everything in a house fire to having incapacitating leg surgery, to her mother’s passing. Through it all, she continues to be there for her community, for her three children, three grandchildren, and her great-grandchild. She has faced tremendous adversity over the years, but her strength and tenacity as a parent has never wavered. She is now celebrating 18 years of sobriety, during which time she has always been of service to others, and has served on the board of several organizations, including Creekside CDC and Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance. Rhonda has organized, with other parents, the Southeastern Neighborhood Association Block Club and helped establish the Detroit Cardinals Pop Warner Football Team. She was also awarded the Spirit of Detroit Award in June 2017 from Bridges of Hope.
Karen Lewis is a tireless advocate for domestic violence victims. Karen’s daughter was 8 months pregnant when her boyfriend stabbed her to death causing Karen to lose the life of her daughter as well as what would have been her first grandchild. Karen opened The Angel House to assist victims of domestic violence to escape their abusers by relocating them out of state so that they can start a new life. She also holds support groups for victims and teaches a 6-week course, “Thriving After Abuse.”
Dorothea Nicholson is a single mother with two special needs children who was in a fight for her life to receive the appropriate support and services necessary for her children to be academically successful. As a result, she has become a tireless advocate for our most vulnerable children – those with special needs. Dorothea spends most of her time ensuring parents are well-informed, understanding of, and able to articulate the needs and rights for their children with special needs. Dorothea is not afraid to speak up for parents and children or challenge administrators who attempt to shortchange students with special needs.
Nicole Maloy is the mother of six children, and she plays an active role helping the children in her community. She hosts an Annual Backyard Bible Camp at her home free of charge for dozens of children each summer. She also hosts movie and game nights in her home, serves as hair stylist for the children on her block, and helps to get other children home from school. This year she organized a food and clothing give-away from her home and made it a community service event for the children.
Shoniqua Kemp is a determined advocate for children and parents who has never let personal adversity stand in her way. Even during times when she experienced homelessness, Shoniqua stood up for children through her parent organization in the Osborn neighborhood and through DPN, making advocacy trips to Lansing and even to Washington, D.C. Shoniqua has always fought to ensure that schools provide children with a safe environment and what they need academically, and that parents are made to feel welcome in the school.
Ora Williams has always taken the part of the kids who are often forgotten – those with incarcerated parents. She served as after-school coordinator for VIP Mentoring, which provides mentors for children with incarcerated parents. She organizes Fellowship Chapel’s Angel Tree, providing Christmas gifts from their incarcerated parents to children whose parents are in prison and unable to buy their kids presents. And she serves as president of Mothers of Inmates Support Team, where she discovered that many grandparents are raising their grandchildren due to incarcerated parents. This led her to initiate the Grandparents Parenting Again support group at DPN eight years ago. Ora herself is a grandparent parenting again – she has been parenting her 10-year-old granddaughter, Aniya, since Ora’s son Jason passed away three years ago.
Acknowledges the community members who can always be relied upon to be there. This could be a grandparent who never stops praying, a pastor who keeps his church doors open, or a teacher who stays in touch with her students long after they’ve graduated.
For people who give of themselves with passion, joy, and unwavering commitment to improve the lives of young people in Detroit. Whether through legislation, advocacy, volunteering, or other avenues, this person is always working for the well-being of all children and give a voice to important issues that affect our children.
Tanisha is always there when she is called upon to uplift and empower parents. She takes every opportunity to assist parents with tools to help their children excel. She lives the example of how parents not only care for their own, but care for the ones without parents as well. Tanisha also holds administrators, district leaders, and teachers accountable for providing the best possible learning environment for students and has often assisted other parent leaders with resources and tools to ensure their children receive the same level of support.
Mrs. Harris has devoted her life to making conditions better for all children in Detroit, and she has focused her work in the schools and community organizations in and around the Osborn neighborhood, which has been her home for most of her life. For the better part of four decades, Mrs. Harris has been a constant presence at community meetings, school board meetings and various task forces and committees working to improve education outcomes. She is most concerned about helping all children read better and has been involved as a volunteer in myriad effort as a tutor and mentor, including United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs and the SAY Detroit Play Center. Even in her 80’s, she continues to speak with passion and hard-earned authority on what is going well and what still needs to happen to make Detroit a better city for children.
Labrita is a tireless volunteer who puts her own troubles aside when called upon to help others. Even during periods when Labrita and her three pre-school children were displaced due to flooding, she threw herself into volunteering in the Hope Starts Here program for early childhood education, where she has hosted community conversations and served on the strategic planning team. Lobrita is always there whenever her community needs her.
Johnathon is the principal of the Academy of Public Leadership at Cody, where he sets a tireless example of dedication to ensure that all children have a real opportunity to get a diploma than Johnathon. He is keenly aware of how schools move their most challenged children in order to improve their school’s test scores, and Johnathon continues to give these students a home and opportunity to succeed at his school. He thoughtfully and creatively comes up with pathways, ideas, and approaches to understand and reach each of his students, and continuously encourages and challenges others to do the same. It’s safe to say that hundreds of young people now have a high school diploma and a more optimistic outlook and chances in life because of what Johnathon has done for his students over the past ten years.
Henry is a pastor, community leader, father, grandfather and friend to many. Henry consistently talks about what kids in Detroit need, and he consistently works on strategies to help kids in Detroit do better. For more than ten years, he has almost single-handedly made Restorative Practices a must-do for schools across Detroit. He also actively recruits and encourages fathers to join and attend a ministry that meets from 6 to 8 am every Saturday morning for a year, and Henry is at every session. On these two issues alone, Henry is Always There, as he has been on many other causes and issues to make things better for children in Detroit.
Robert is senior program officer for the Skillman Foundation, where he has served for 16 years. Robert has provided support for the Foundation’s faith-based, fatherhood and boys of color work. His true passion is demonstrated in his unwavering efforts on behalf of youth and the monumental challenges facing African-American and Latino boys in particular. Robert coordinated the Skillman Foundation’s Good Neighborhoods community change work in the Brightmoor, Chadsey Condon and Cody Rouge neighborhoods. Prior to joining the Foundation, Robert spent 13 years at New Detroit, Inc. in various leadership positions including community economic development, consensus building, conflict management, race relations, and diversity. He is a lifelong resident of metropolitan Detroit and serves faithfully as a Deacon at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church.
LaTonya has been a dedicated and active member of DPN for well over 10 years. She teaches Love and Logic Parenting, provides loving and nurturing childcare at DPN events, and volunteers to handle front desk duties to help things run smoothly at the office at all times. The people in her classes find her to be understanding about their challenges and dependable for needed advice. She handles all types of situations with a smile and patience. She is also the mother of four children and has one grandson, Alexander.
Jason was part of one of the most well-known hip hop groups to come out of Detroit in the 1980’s, but committed his life to helping young people in Detroit after losing his brother to gun violence. He founded The Yunion to reach young people through relationships and has used martial arts and music as a platform. His messages and motivation for parents and children have reached millions through You Tube in the past few years, and have even been replicated on the award-winning television show This Is Us. Every conversation with Jason will eventually lead to a story about young people and how and why we need to do better by them.