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Strengthening Families Washington 2016 Unsung Hero: Joyce Mallinger

2016 Unsung Hero Joyce Mallinger

February 6, 2016

Honoree:  Joyce Mallinger, Olympia

Nominator:  Shelly Willis

Joyce Mallinger has inspired hundreds of Kinship Caregivers to be better "parents" to their relative 

children during her years 16 years as both a Kinship Cargiver, and a later a facilitator of Kinship Support 

Groups in Mason, Lewis, and Thurston County. 

Joyce joined the first kinship support group offered by Family Education and Support Services before our 

agency was even officially formed.  As we grew and "incubated" under other organizations before forming 

our official organization in 2000 she stayed with us.  She survived those many transitions [.  Her granddaughter also participated 

throughout all of those years in our Kinship Support program. Today Chloe is a 17 year old high school 

senior, preparing to graduate and continue on with her college education.

Joyce's encouragement of relative caregivers has been monumental. She always arrives with a smile, a 

calmness, and quiet reassurance.  She is an excellent listener, has a 6th sense for when a caregiver 

needs just a little push, and is a tremendous advocate when someone is being treated poorly.  She helps 

Kinship Caregivers to remember their choice was to keep children safe, and to raise them in a stable 

environment.  She is a good listener, allowing others to share the emotions and fears that come with 

raising kinship children.   She role models that in her own life and has inspired hundreds of Kinship 

Caregivers to do the same.  

She is also a women who knows how to allow others to succeed and take leadership. She will often sit 

back, or turn the conversation toward a caregiver she knows will offer the right support for the right 

person.  She is not teratorial, and not afraid to let others find confidence. She works tirelessly to make this 

world better for kinship families.  Every sector of our Kinship community has felt the hug of her words.  

Thanks to Joyce children are safer, grandparents have found a way to "do right by the kids", and we have 

a safe place for any kinship caregiver looking for a welcome ear over a tri-county area.  She shows up, 

get's to work, and doesn't stay for a thank you. .. that is not why she does it.    She is a shining example of 

relentless compassion and I am honored to nominate her for this award.  Joyce Mallinger is our Unsung 

Hero... and it is time for her to sing!


Seattle's Child is proud to once again sponsor the Unsung Heroes being honored in February by  the Department of Early Learning’s Strengthening Families Washington. Every day this month we'll present an Unsung Hero on seattleschild.com.   Nominations are accepted from around the state and and include biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofit organizations; some mentor others in their communities. All honorees are true heroes - outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children. 

February 1 Honoree: Shelly Willis

February 2 Honoree: Yvette Dear

February 3 Honoree: Teresa Garcia

February 4 Honoree: Chandra Reeves

February 5 Honoree: Carrie Fannin


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