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Posted on: April 30, 2019

Turn the Town Blue Committee presents 2019 Strong Family Awards

2019 Strong Family Award winners

The Turn the Town Blue Committee on Tuesday night honored five Kenosha County families with the 2019 Strong Family Award.

These awards were presented during a Family Game Night event at Ruffolo’s Special Pizza 2 in Kenosha. This event concluded a series of community activities held throughout April in recognition of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.

This is the second year the committee has awarded the Strong Family Award to families that demonstrate the qualities of the five protective factors that are the foundation of the research-based Strengthening Families approach: Parent resiliency, knowledge of parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children, social connections, and concrete support in times of need.

The 2019 Strong Family Award honorees were:

The James and Stephanie Hunter and Ryan and Jen Nachtigal families, nominated by Dr. Diane Gerlach:

Gerlach said she nominated these families together because of their friendship and the support they have given one another through good and bad times.

“The Hunters and Nachtigals take on whatever comes their way,” Gerlach wrote in her nominating materials. “They have taken in numerous young foster children in need, no matter what the story.”

Gerlach noted that many of these children have had medical and mental health needs, and that the families worked patiently with services, specialists and biological families.

“Their caring and dedication have been passed on to their children,” Gerlach wrote. “As they reach adulthood, we are gaining a new generation of foster parents.”

The Eladio and Veronica Corona Family, nominated by Frank Elementary School teachers Rosana Peters and Georgette Ball:

The nominators stated they believe this family is a perfect role model to other parents and are raising children with strong values.

“The Corona family is surrounded and supported by a wonderful extended family,” the nominators wrote. “More importantly, they offer help when needed, but they do not expect anything in return.”

Aurora Garcia’s family, nominated by Maria Saenz-Estevez, a Prevention Services Network service coordinator:

Saenz-Estevez noted that when Garcia was referred to Prevention Services Network, she was going through a very difficult time with the passing of her daughter.

“Through her grief, she continued to take every action step needed to do what was in the best interest of her grandchildren,” Saenz-Estevez wrote. “She gives them complete support, emotionally and socially. She has a strong bond with them.”

The James and Samantha Meyer Family, nominated by Elise Scott, a Head Start educator:

Scott said she nominated this family because she felt that within the last two years of working with them, she has seen many strengths and she believes they are greatly deserving of the recognition.

“Throughout the years, I’ve watched as Mr. and Mrs. Meyer worked hard to make sure their children were always well taken care of and never lacked,” Scott wrote. “They would only accept community resources when desperately needed, and always made sure to leave what they could for others in need.

“Their parenting style exhibits knowledge of child development and supporting their social and emotional competence, through love and affirmation.”

About the Turn the Town Blue Committee:

Founded in 2009, the Turn the Town Blue Committee is made up of representatives from various agencies, including the Prevention Services Network Family Resource Center, Community Impact Programs Inc., the Kenosha County Division of Health and the Kenosha County Division of Children and Family Services.

Other partners include the Kenosha Unified School District, Kenosha Achievement Center-Early Head Start, Kenosha Area Family and Aging Services Inc. and Lutheran Social Services-Stop Child Abuse and Neglect.

More information is available at by searching for "Turn the Town Blue Campaign" on Facebook or by calling Chelsea Colwill at 262-697-4689.

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