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Quincy resident recognized for work with homeless children

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 14, 2012 05:16 PM

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A Quincy woman has received recognition for her work with homeless families, after dedicating long hours making shelter residents feel more at home.

Jonna Green, a Quincy resident and Duxbury native, was recognized for the Sue Heilman Award for Excellence, Communiy Member, at Horizons for Homeless Children’s 16th Annual Recognition Awards Dinner on June 4.

Named after retired Executive Director Sue Heilman, who was with Roxbury's homeless agency for almost 20 years, the award honors people who have shown exemplary commitment to homeless children and families, said Meryl Sheriden, the chief development officer for Horizons.

“It was a highly esteemed award given in her honor,” Sheriden said.

Awardees are nominated by their peers and then chosen by a selection committee, comprised of Horizon’s Board of Directors, CEO, chief playspace director, and past recipients.

For Green, the award made sense in light of the work she was doing both with Horizons and elsewhere, Sheriden said.

“Jonna Green is a person who is out in the field, spreading the good work of a professional working with homeless children and making a difference,” Sheriden said.

In addition to being a Children’s Case Manager for the Old Colony YMCA Family Services, out of Brockton, Green participates in Horizon’s Playspace Program, which seeks to build age-appropriate, kid-friendly spaces in family shelters.

As shelter liaison for that program in the Southeast Region, Green supports 19 families at the David Jon Louison Center and another 13 families at the Family Life Center.

Green was noted for her dedication to leadership, commitment, creativity, and teamwork when being given the award, and Horizons staff praised Green’s demeanor when handling clients.

“With more than 50 children in her care, Jonna is true to her agency’s mission. She supports the parents in their journey to self-sufficiency; supporting both the children and their parents with dignity and respect,” co-workers wrote in the awards booklet. “Jonna exhibits the leadership, compassion, and commitment every day to the children and families her programs serve.”

Co-workers described Green as constantly having a baby in her arms or toddler around her legs, and said she ensures families are welcomed and supported.

At the ceremony, Diana Marrero and Jayd Rodrigues, both from Boston, were recognized as Staff Members for the Sue Heilman Award.

Sherri Killins, Commissioner of Early Education and Care for Massachusetts, who is from Connecticut, was also recognized for the Public Leadership Award. Diane Hessan, President and CEO of Communispace, was recognized for the Awareness Building Award.

For more information on Horizons for Homeless Children, click here.

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