Small Organization/Program Category

Judith Fritsch, The Open Table (Phoenix, AZ)

Judith had the privilege of being a foster parent to several young girls, many of whom she remains in contact with today. She also describes herself as a “recovering bureaucrat” as she has 23 years’ experience working in the human services field in state government.  Prior to retiring in 2012, Judith oversaw the Director’s Office of Community Partnerships and Innovative Practices, which sought out community-based programs and entities willing to partner with government in innovative ways of delivering much needed services designed for child/family welfare. Since retiring, Judith has served as an ongoing consultant to Open Table, Inc., meeting her personal passion to build a model that serves youth aging out of the foster care system. Judith is committed to assisting people willing to invest their personal time/life experience to help transform the life of another.

Bria Zolman, Ball State University (Muncie, IN)

Bria serves as the Guardian Scholars Program Manager at Ball State University. Bria was introduced to the needs of young people in foster care through a former role with an Indiana Department of Child Services Older Youth Services provider where they provided life skills education programming and coordinated the states National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) surveys. At Ball State University, Bria’s role is advocating for the needs of students who experienced foster care as they pursue their goals of post-secondary education. Through the Guardian Scholars program, Bria is committed to promoting equity and removing barriers to access to students who experienced foster care. Their holistic approach to programming is founded on the promotion of self-advocacy, growth mindset and inclusive excellence.

Sue Evans, Walden Family Services (San Diego, CA)

Sue has 35 years working in child welfare in both England and CA. When Sue Evans first joined Walden Family Services in 2000, she quickly earned recognition for developing innovative programs that promote the healthy development of children in foster care and other at-risk youth and she currently serves as the Chief Operations Officer, and continues to develop programs both in partnership with the Counties and community agencies to provide quality, equitable services to children and youth in their communities. Under Sue Evans’ leadership, Walden’s foster care program expanded and Walden has now become an expert in developing foster care programs. 2013, Sue Evans launched the transitional housing placement program in Walden designed to reduce homelessness among former foster youth. Walden is now the second largest CA provider of transitional housing for 18-21 year olds.

Mid-Size/Large Organization/Program Category

Teyana Curran, Silver Lining Mentoring (Boston, MA)

Teyana is the Director of Regional Programs at Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM). She oversees the strategic direction of local programs by collaborating with team members to provide the best quality services possible for mentees and mentors. All of her efforts are in the service of working towards SLM’s mission which is to empower youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. Teyana has a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and has been serving youth and young adults in the Greater Boston area for over a decade. Teyana continues to be driven by her desire to empower young people to be their full selves and to support them in having access to the opportunities & networks that will help them navigate adulthood independently.

Marcie Dearth, IMPOWER (Longwood, FL)

Marcie Dearth is the Vice President of Residential Programs and External Relations for IMPOWER, a Central-Florida based behavioral health and child well-being organization. She joined IMPOWER in 2012, and has more than two decades of experience in the non-profit and government sectors focused on advocating for at-risk children and families. Her passion for helping those in need — including youth transitioning out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems — led her to expand her expertise into fundraising, marketing and program development. Mrs. Dearth is recognized for her track record of implementing and expanding programs and increasing philanthropic support and brand recognition to ensure sustainability and growth for the organizations she has represented. As a member of IMPOWER’s Executive Management Team, she leads the agency’s strategic visioning, fundraising, grants/contracts, and public relations/marketing efforts. She also oversees IMPOWER’s two residential programs — The Grove, a 32-bed youth substance abuse treatment program, and The Village, a 16-bed transitional housing option for former foster youth and those at risk of homelessness.

Youth Impact Category

Anne Harrison, The Monkey & The Elephant (Philadelphia, PA)

Currently the Executive Director at M&E, Anne’s career spans 20 years in community non-profit work. She has developed a specialization in program design, partnership development, nonprofit management, employment training and youth development. Anne is also an artist and aims to lead with an eye towards creative problem solving and active leadership development. Prior to M&E, Anne was the Administrator for the City of Philadelphia’s Out of School Time Department in the Office of Children and Families. Prior to the city, Anne led the Children and Youth Departments at Congreso de Latinos Unidos and Fleisher Art Memorial.

Simone Hidds-Monroe, Just in Time for Foster Youth (San Diego, CA)

Simone feels a great sense of pride as an alumnus of foster care. In the five years Simone spent in the system, she developed a love and admiration for foster youth and has dedicated her career to positively impacting her community. After emancipating, Simone earned her BA in Child Development and her MA in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs. Simone has contributed over 10 years to supporting and empowering current and former foster youth in residential care, higher education, and non-profit. Simone is now making her impact at Just in Time for Foster Youth as the Associate Director of Advocacy and Community Empowerment where she leads efforts toward improving Child Welfare Services and connecting the foster community to mental health resources.