Weekend Highlights

Published February 9, 2013
Our Community

Congratulations Unsung Hero: Angela Fish

seattle child article photo
Angela Fish.

February is Parent Recognition Month. Strengthening Families Washington, of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State, believes there is no better way to recognize a parent, grandparent, foster or adoptive parent than by acknowledging the numerous and impressive things they do to strengthen their family and those around them in their community.

Seattle’s Child is proud to sponsor the Washington Unsung Hero Awards, recognizing our everyday heroes and honoring the important role caregivers play in children’s lives. There are 28 nominees for the 28 days of February, and Seattle’s Child will highlight each and every one.

Congratulations to the Unsung Hero for February 9: Angela Fish – Puyallup, WA:

Angela Fish is a parent of two Autistic boys.  She has worked tirelessly for the past 4 years to offer information and support to families of children with special needs.  In the last year she has created a non-profit organization (Exceptional Families Network) which provides information and support to families whose children have special needs.  She holds monthly meetings enlisting highly qualified speakers who talk about their specialties and awareness to help support children with special needs, their families, and the community.  Her speakers have included therapists, doctors, lawyers and educators, as well as adults with special needs.  She has also developed a book lending library which she brings to monthly meetings.  This past year she has held biweekly meetings and has enlisted the support of the Tacoma Childrens Museum for use of their museum and conference rooms.  She has also enlisted numerous volunteers to give one-on-one childcare within the museum so that parents can attend the meeting while their special needs children play.   All of this is offered to the public free of charge.

Her goal is  to inform parents and the public about supporting the family and their children with special needs.  She has given numerous talks herself at many private and public agencies such as University of Washington,  The Tacoma Childrens Museum, YMCA, Tacoma Children's Librarians, etc., to help educate the pulic about the special challenges that both the parent and children with special needs face in public settings.  She has accompanied numerous parents to I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) meetings, given information, and acted as a resource for referring families to agencies in their community who may support their particular needs after personally listening to hundreds of stories of parents who face incredible challenges with their special needs children.

She has inspired numerous professionals who have worked with her own children such that most of them can't refuse when she asks for their support as speakers at her monthly meetings.  She has given easily 30-40 hours weekly over the past four years to this work, all without pay.  She is not independantly wealthy; her family struggles every month just to get by.  In fact she often wonders how long she can continue doing this work without helping her family financially.  As an educator who has worked with her son Kyle years ago, I can tell you that I have never met a more selfless, generous and compassionate person who freely gives herself to the support and education of others in need.  I wish we could provide her with a state or private grant that could pay her a salary for all the good she does continually in the community to support special needs families, but until then I would greatly appreciate you honor her as an Unsung Hero.

Nominator:  Marti Cates

(2) Comment(s)

I agree with Marti that there are few people who work as passionately and tirelessly for parents of children with special needs. Congratulations, Angela! You deserve this honor!

Posted by Candy Warkins on Feb 10, 2013

Angela's passion for helping families who have children with special needs is unmatched. While working with her as the former Education Director at the Children's Museum of Tacoma, she shared so many thoughtful strategies for how all of us can help support these families in our operations and community. Not only does she secure speakers to inform regional families, she's a great speaker herself. Congratulations Angela.

Posted by Debbie Kray on Feb 26, 2013

Post a Comment



More About This Story...

Read the stories about the other inspiring Unsung Hero award winners:

February 1: Christine Matter – Tacoma, WA

February 2: Christena Evans – Spokane, WA

February 3: Carmen Gonzalez – Burien, WA

February 4: Sence Gonzalez – Olympia, WA

February 5: Lina McDonald – Silverdale, WA

February 6: Roseanne Henzel – Yakima, WA

February 7: Jill Homme & Deb Libbey – Battle Ground, WA

February 8: Bulcha Kenate – Tukwila, WA