2016 Celebrating Successes for Children

Howard County Celebrates Successes for Children

Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman and the Department of Community Resources and Services honored individuals and programs that have made a difference in the lives of children at the 17th annual “Celebrating Successes for Children” ceremony held April 27, 2016. The ceremony recognized the contributions and dedication of more than 70 honorees, including child care providers, local businesses, teachers, volunteers, students and coaches. Category winners included:

Lisa Rhawanji - Parents As Teachers

Infants and Toddlers: Lisa Rahwanji, Parents As Teachers
Lisa Rahwanji is a Parent Educator with the Parents as Teachers program. To her monthly visits with families, Lisa brings interactive, developmentally-appropriate activities for parents to complete with their children and provides information about available community resources. Lisa’s fun, yet always professional outlook enables her to tailor her visits to meet each parent’s concerns and goals.

Preschool Category Winner Dawn Randall Good Beginnings Child Care

Preschool: Good Beginnings Child Care and Preschool
Good Beginnings provides the ideal environment to encourage children to reach their full potential. From the loving and dedicated staff and teaching assistants, to a driven and focused director/owner, students are actively involved in arts and crafts, science, math, reading and other activities that build confidence and knowledge.

Robert Woodard Columbia Acedemy EMS

Elementary: Robert Woodard, Columbia Academy Elementary/Middle
New to Columbia Academy, Robert Woodard has brought a fresh and innovative approach to teaching math to 5th and 6th graders in a classroom that mixes not only ages, but also ethnicities, genders and learning styles. Students are encouraged to share their individual talents in a carefully constructed curriculum designed to bring out the best in each of them.

Jennene Blakely and Todd Holmes

Middle School: Jennene Blakely and Todd Holmes, Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks 
Upon learning that nearly 80% of the students enrolled in the Department of Recreation & Parks’ Teen Section Afterschool Program were unable to swim, department staff created the “Learn to Swim: Drown-Proofing Program” at the County’s Roger Carter Community Center. Offered at no additional cost to families, the swim program teaches students how to swim and since its implementation, has dramatically improved participants’ comfort level in the pool.

James LeMon Wild Lake High School
High School: James LeMon, Wilde Lake High School
As principal of Wilde Lake High School, James LeMon oversees one of Howard County’s most diverse high schools. A fierce and tireless advocate for all of his students, Mr. LeMon strives to meet with each student and their family to learn where the student is academically and socially, and help them discover ways to contribute to their community. Whether establishing afterschool and weekend tutoring programs to help students succeed academically, or celebrating his community’s heritages, he is continuously finding ways to encourage students to be proud of themselves.

Chiara D'Amore Columbia Families in Nature

Mixed Age Group: Chiara D'Amore, Columbia Families in Nature
Chiara D’Amore founded Columbia Families in Nature (CFIN) as a way to provide free, fun and friendly opportunities for families to spend time together in nature. CFIN focuses on promoting family enjoyment, unstructured play and community, with the goal of improving children's health, education and overall well-being. CFIN attracts dozens of enthusiastic parents and children each month and club events often include a service project, such as planting milkweed to support Monarch butterflies.

TK Olaniyan Glenelg Country School

Youth Making a Difference: Olatokunbo (TK) Olaniyan, Glenelg Country School
Since losing her mother to sickle cell disease and a carrier herself, TK has used her personal experience with sickle cell to bring greater awareness to the disease. Last year as a high school sophomore, TK demonstrated her leadership skills before Congress by testifying on the importance of sustaining medical research for the disease. So far this school year, she has established the “Hope of Sickle Cell” organization, secured the organization’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and developed the website: www.hopeforsicklecell.org. A true role model to all, TK’s efforts show how just one person can make a significant difference.

Dr. Sangita Doshi Pediatric Dentistry of Columbia

Family Friendly Business: Dr. Sangita Doshi, Pediatric Dentistry of Columbia
At Pediatric Dentistry of Columbia, Dr. Doshi and her staff treat their young patients with care, patience and humor, turning each visit into a learning experience to establish lifelong healthy habits. Dr. Doshi and staff take the time to explain the visit step-by-step, patiently answering questions to help make both parent and child comfortable with the prescribed treatment and dental hygiene. Dr. Doshi also visits schools to teach children about the many benefits of good oral health habits.

Colleen Nester Howad County Family Options Program

O’Donnell Family Award: Colleen Nester, Howard County Family Options Program, Howard County Health Department
The O’Donnell Family Award is presented annually to an individual or group in recognition of extraordinary commitment to providing caring, outstanding and effective direct care to the children and youth in Howard County. This year’s award recipient, Colleen Nester, is the program supervisor for the Howard County Family Options Program, a home visiting initiative targeting pregnant and parenting teens ages 13 to 18 years old. As a mentor, Colleen fosters early childhood development, parental bonding and improved parent/child interaction. Most of her clients successfully graduate high school and go onto receive a higher education.

Bouquets of Thanks to the 2016 Celebrating Success Community Sponsors!

A New You Ellicott City

Chick-fil-A Johns Hopkins Road

Columbia Association

Custom Media Options

Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks

Howard County Library System



Soccer Shots

The Sensory Station

Toby's Dinner Theatre


WisdomWell Family Acupuncture & Wellness

2017 Celebrating Successes Community Sponsor Opportunities

Your support helps honor those who make our community a better place to live, work and raise our families. Bring your business or name to over 400 community members as we pay tribute to 125+ people and programs that truly cultivate "Excellence in Bloom." For more information about how you can support Celebrating Successes, email children@howardcountymd.gov or call 410-313-1940.

Celebrating Successes for Children

Do you know people or programs that make a positive impact on the lives of Howard County children? Plan to nominate them for recognition at the 18th annual “Celebrating Successes for Children” ceremony presented by Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman and the County’s Department of Community Resources and Services. Coordinated by the Department’s Office of Children and Families, the awards program honors people, programs or businesses that make a difference and serve children in one of the following categories:

Infants and Toddlers (0-3 Years) – Program or individual(s) serving children 0-3 years.

Preschool Age (3-5 Years) – Program or individual(s) serving children 3-5 years.

Elementary School Age (K-5TH Grade) – Program or individual(s) serving children Kindergarten-5th grade.

Middle School Age (6TH - 8TH Grade) – Program or individual(s) serving children 6th through 8th grade.

High School Age (9-12 Grade) – Program or individual(s) serving children 9th through 12th grade.

Mixed Age Group – Program or individual(s) serving children in multiple age groups or if the nominee is not covered by one of the above categories.

Special Nomination Categories:

Making a Difference Youth Award – Individual(s) ages 11 to 18 who have made a difference in their community. (This award is NOT for programs or organizations that serve young people.)

Family Friendly Business Award (non-childcare only) - A Howard County business that stands out for its policies and/or service to children and families.

Celebrating Successes for Children Nominations are Easy!

  • Step One: Provide contact information for you and your nominee.
  • Step Two: Select a category for your nominee.
  • Step Three: Tell us about your nominee. Answer a few questions.
    • Question 1 (100 word limit for this question): Describe how this nominee promotes the growth and development of children.
    • Question 2 (100 word limit for this question): What sets this nominee apart from others? Please provide specific examples.
    • Question 3 (100 word limit for this question): How does this nominee promote inclusion, diversity or community involvement? Please provide specific examples.
    • Question 4: What is your relationship to the nominee?
    • Question 5: How did you hear about Celebrating Successes?
    • Question 6 - For FAMILY-FRIENDLY BUSINESS Nominations ONLY: (100 word limit for this question):
      • What makes this business stand out from others that provide the same products and/or service(s)? How does this business support families?
    • Question 7: For Making a Difference Youth Award Nominations ONLY: (100 word limit for each of these questions):
      • Describe how this nominee has made a difference in their community. Please provide specific examples.
      • How does this nominee promote inclusion, diversity or community involvement? Please provide specific examples
    • Step Four: Submit your nomination online by Friday, March 3, 2017

Celebrating Successes for Children Guidelines:

  • Choose only ONE category for your nominee. The judges reserve the right to move a nomination to different category if, in their opinion, it fits better.
  • While an individual nominee does not have to be a resident of Howard County, he or she must serve Howard County children; however, program or business nominees must be located in Howard County.
  • The Family-Friendly Business category is meant for businesses other than child care. If you are nominating a child care program for their family-friendly policies, please choose the appropriate age category.
  • Be sure your narrative is detailed, thoughtful, and provides enough information for judges to consider. We may contact you for more information about your nominee.
  • Multiple nominations for the same person or business are not considered votes. The panel of judges is more interested in the quality of a single nomination than the quantity of nominations received.
  • Individuals or programs nominated three or more times in the past will be recognized as a one of our Perennials and are not eligible for an award. (Click here to see a list of Perennials)
  • Please be aware of your word count when answering questions 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7. Judges will not read beyond 100 words!

How to Nominate:

The nomination period is now closed, check back during January 2017 to submit your nomination for the 18th Annual Celebrating Successes

Nominees will be recognized during the Month of the Young Child at the County’s 18th Annual Celebrating Successes for Children ceremony to be held April 26, 2017 at Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane in Clarksville.