(COLUMBIA, S.C., November 2, 2017) – The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina proudly presented six Unsung Hero Awards across the State of South Carolina to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary care to enhance the well-being of children in South Carolina’s kinship families as part of our Kinship Care Initiative. Formal (licensed) and informal (non-licensed) kinship caregivers in South Carolina who provided care for a relative’s child throughout the preceding year or longer were eligible for nomination, including fictive kin.
The Foundation received multiple nominations from across the state and selected 6 outstanding individuals to be recognized at the Kinship Care Summits being held in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville. Each Unsung Hero had different stories representing the spectrum of kinship families. It takes a village to raise children with so much love. “We are honored to recognize the selflessness and dedication of kinship caregivers who lovingly sacrifice to provide for the children in their care, through the Foundation’s Unsung Hero awards,” Tom Keith, Foundation President. On behalf of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, we thank you for celebrating these amazing Unsung Heroes with us.
· Charleston: Christina and Jason Wilson, Delores Wright – presented by Foundation President, Tom Keith
· Columbia: Floyd Robinson, Lee and Jonathon Patterson, along with Gail Davis – presented by Foundation Board Member Lisa Bernardin.
· Greenville: Jallinda Amos – presented by Foundation Board Chair, Gerald Smalls
Christina and Jason Wilson
Jason and Christina Wilson have a total of 5 children, four of whom joined their family through kinship care - Cady (15), Emmy (14), Ashleigh (12), and Aidan (10). They were nominated by Erin Hall and Megan Branham of the Palmetto Association for Children and Families, with help from Erin Walker, staff member at Child Abuse Prevention Association in Beaufort. Mrs. Wilson is a fearless advocate for kinship care, she serves on our Foundation’s Statewide Kinship Care Advisory Council. She has also testified before members of legislative committees at the State House on behalf of children and kinship care providers.
Delores Wright, has been a kinship caregiver for 14 years. She was nominated by Andrea Thames and Kim Clifton, of HALOS located in Charleston. Delores received her grandson, Errick when he was just two days old, and one year later she also accepted placement of his brother Kenijah. Delores has fought to keep the boys together and in kinship care their entire lives. She appreciates that her struggles can be an example for others and willingly shares her knowledge and experience with anyone that will listen.
Floyd Robinson, was nominated by Mellinda Tyler, Kinship Care Coordinator at the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Mr. Robinson is the fictive grandfather to three children – Juliana, Alexander and Kylie. Although he has been actively involved with the children for the last ten years, he became the kinship caregiver for two of the children since 2016. A retired mechanic, he ensures the children have meaningful connections to others.
Jonathon and Lee Patterson
Jonathon and Lee Patterson were nominated by Joshua Patterson, Jonathon’s brother. They care for a high school student they are not related to. With only four days’ notice, they became parents to a teenage boy, taking him in, although they barely knew him. With a two year old of their own, overnight they became parents of a teenager. They changed their work schedules, finances and renegotiated so many things, balancing between the desires of an absent, ill parent navigating disciple, boundaries, girlfriends, driving, colleges and more. They exemplify how anyone can step forward in time of need.
Gail Davis, has been a kinship caregiver for more than 15 years. She was nominated by Shannon Watson, who works at South Carolina Youth Advocate Program. Gail has custody of her grandchildren - Mikalen, Dalemarius, Sage and Tiffany. They are active in church, school and extracurricular activities. Gail has faced multiple adversities. She shares her strength and willingness comes from God to make it through the toughest days!
Jillanda Amos, has been a kinship caregiver for several years. She was nominated by Kim Young, a foster care provider and family friend. Jillanda has custody of her niece Dynesti. Jillanda has remained in contact with Dynesti’s foster parents, who are now her niece's God Parents, as Jillanda recognizes the important role they played in Dynesti’s life for 14 months. This is a perfect example of foster family and kinship family maintaining positive family connections. Jillanda continues to rise above, while caring for 5 year old Dynesti.
About the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, established in 1996, is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and underserved in all 46 South Carolina counties, and strategically uses resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.