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

2016 Celebrating Success