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 14
Mellissa Hiatt – Monroe
Mellissa works tirelessly, and in an entirely internally motivated way, at the Housing Hope child care center in Everett. This is a child care with clients who are largely from the homeless program. It is a program with limited resources, high standards and high levels of stressors every day. She not only does her job here every day to the highest standard, she also brings a level of calmness, professionalism and positive leadership to everyone else, staff and families alike. Additionally, Mellissa’s home life could be called stressful by some. She has a large family that includes her own children, her teenage daughter’s daughter, a longtime friend (and her two children), who she has opened her doors to because they were having hard times. In Mellissa’s opinion, "That’s what you do; that’s family." She also cares for her own mother. The only feedback I've ever heard from her about these major potential stressors is "I love my family." At work, she is clearly there because of her love for the children. She always has a smile and a lighthearted comment every time I see her, no matter how deep into a stressful situation she is. She recently moved into a house she and her family spent a year building through a local program, and now that it's full with all of these people relying on Mellissa (the only working one in the home!), she told me the other day, "I guess that’s why god gave me the home."
Mellissa is also very active in her church and I believe it’s her faith that keeps her from letting life get to her. She likes to say "let go and let god," which you could translate into a nonreligious version of just doing what you feel is right and making the best of what life brings you. That’s Mellissa in a nutshell. No matter what life brings her, she handles it with positivity, humor and integrity, and it always ends up bringing her love and happiness rather than pain and suffering. She is a hero to her children, her friends and coworkers, the families at the center and just in general.
Nominator: Jaime Beebe
Singing the Praises of Our Unsung Heroes
Read about all of the wonderful, everyday heroes who have won Washington Unsung Hero Awards: seattleschild.com/2015-Unsung-Heroes.