Several community action agency staff and volunteers in Minnesota were honored this fall by MinnCAP and by the national Community Action Partnership during each of their annual staff conferences.
Ann Macgregor, awareness coordinator with Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) out of Mankato, Minn., and Lakyn Sathoff, a volunteer with MVAC, were honored by MinnCAP on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, during its Annual MinnCAP Staff Conference, held virtually this year.
Maria Steen, Child Care Aware manager, with Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership (CAPLP) out of Moorhead, Minn., and Jamie Roach, a client with CAPLP, were both honored by the national Community Action Partnership, on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, during its annual national staff conference.
MinnCAP’s 2021 ‘Steve Chadwick Advocacy Award’ & ‘Allies in ACTION Award’ winners
Ann Macgregor – Steve Chadwick Award Winner
Macgregor, has been with MVAC for nearly 30 years, was honored with the “Steve Chadwick Advocacy Award” for her long-standing dedication to reducing poverty, effective advocacy, and leadership in her community. The award is named in honor and memory of Steve Chadwick, former executive director of Community Action Duluth. Chadwick, an active advocate on behalf of MinnCAP and people experiencing poverty, died of cancer in 1995. This award is based in Chadwick’s beliefs, and is for an individual who is currently involved in a Community Action Agency either as a staff person, director or volunteer including board members.
“Ann’s goal is to convince everyone she meets to love Community Action,” said Amanda Mackie, executive director of MVAC. “If you sit by her at a baseball game, you are going to hear about how we fight poverty. She shines when promoting the agency in local media and tirelessly works to build relationships with business leaders and community groups that have deepened our roots in south-central Minnesota.”
“I grew up in a community-oriented family,” explained Macgregor, “and making sure that when the people in your community are thriving, the community will thrive… and I believe that everyone deserves a chance at success.”
Lakyn Sathoff – Allies in ACTION Winner
Sathoff, was honored with the “Allies in ACTION Award” which recognizes a client that demonstrated tenacity in overcoming barriers, inspires others, and gives back to the community. Sathoff originally came to MVAC as a client seeking assistance in 2012. As a teenager, Sathoff was in and out of foster care and struggled with addiction and the juvenile detention system. MVAC’s Youth Program helped Sathoff get her G.E.D., complete family drug court, and get a job. Eventually Sathoff would earn her cosmetology degree, open her own salon, Hair etc., and start a nonprofit, Lakyn’s Care, to provide donations to local young cancer patients. She continues to be a volunteer, mentor and advocate for MVAC and drug court and leader in her community.
“Lakyn has a resiliency like I’ve never seen,” explained Tammie Hested, family resource coordinator at MVAC. “She doesn’t make excuses, she knows she has made mistakes, but she puts her head down and overcomes them. She has inspired me, for sure, and she continues to pay-it-forward and give back.”
“It’s nice to receive this award because I didn’t always think I was going to be this successful,” Sathoff said. “I want to help other people succeed and know that no matter how far down they are that it doesn’t need to stop them.”
National CAP’s 2021 ‘National Advocacy Award’ and ‘Sargent Shriver Personal Achievement Award’ winners
Maria Steen – Advocacy Winner
Steen, who has been with CAPLP for nearly 10 years, was honored with the National Advocacy Award for her dedication to advocating for policies that improve children’s lives. She is always in the front of the line when advocacy is needed and she advocated tirelessly this past year, both nationally in in Minnesota, to save the child care field.
“She brings information and encouragement and helps her staff, her field, her community understand the importance of why we need to focus on advocacy,” said Anne McCully, executive director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota. “Not just to get the funding we need but also to get the systems changes and other policy changes to really sustain this field of child care and early childhood.”
“Since early on in my career I’ve just been passionate about making sure kids have what they need to thrive and their families do too,” said Steen. “Advocacy to me is engaging with those who represent us to make sure they know what is going on in the real world and how to make decisions that affect our daily lives.”
Jamie Roach – Shriver Award Winner
Roach was honored with the National Sargent Shriver Personal Achievement Award. The award is named in honor of Sargent Shriver, who was passionate about ending poverty in America and is one of the founding architects of community action in 1964. Roach first came to CAPLP as a Head Start parent enrolling her daughter over three years ago. CAPLP also helped her secure emergency housing for her kids and got her into its Career Connect program where she worked nights to became a Certified Nurse Assistant and got a job at a nursing home. Today she is working towards her LPN nursing degree and is building her own house through Habitat For Humanity.
“Drugs, alcohol, and abuse were all I knew growing up,” Roach explained. “I would do anything to ensure my children have better childhoods than what I experienced.”
“Jamie truly embodies the community action spirit of hope,” said Lori Schwartz, executive director of CAPLP. “And she is spreading hope to others showing them that they too can work to reach economic stability.”
Additional Staff Recognized at MinnCAP Conference