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 Heroes for February 5
John and Lisa Levesque – Lacey
John and Lisa have four children: two sons and two daughters. Three of them have disabilities. Their eldest daughter, Brittany, is 30 years old and has an auditory processing deficit. Joshua, who is 27, has Asperger’s with dyslexia and he works at Fred Meyer's. Some of the barriers that Lisa and John have faced with Joshua is that he looks like a normal person and people don't think that he has a disability. Many people look at him as if he is a weird person. Anthony has severe autism. He communicates verbally but his language skills are very limited. Anthony does make sure that his family knows that he loves them. He loves to kiss his mom and likes to dress just like his dad. They didn't find out that Anthony had autism until he turned 2. He used to scream a lot and was afraid of dogs. His mom and dad helped him learn to be around animals and that they are always there for him to protect him, and now he does OK with dogs. Anthony actually had a job. Unfortunately he was let go and he is waiting for a new place to go and work. Their youngest child, Kiarra, is 24 years old and she just graduated from the University of Washington and wants to be a doctor.
Seeing this family at church, the only thing I can see is love for their children and how Lisa and John created a safe and lovely place for them. They treat them with a lot of respect and love. I see dad playing with Anthony and how he responds to the love of his dad. Anthony loves church so they always go to mass. Anthony has made social connections there. At the other side of the church is a boy with autism. Anthony likes to see him on Sundays. Every time I see Anthony he has a smile on his face and I just know that he has the best family that someone could have because they make sure he has everything to be happy. I know that Brittany, Joshua, Anthony and Kiarra are happy because Lisa and John love and care for them. Lisa and Anthony volunteer at the food bank filling bags for the satellite program. Lisa and John wouldn't put Anthony in home care because they know he loves his family even though life can be a bit easier for them. They want Anthony to be around the people that he loves. Lisa's dream for Anthony is for him to be happy and comfortable. (Lisa's quote, "Parents have to be realistic on their expectations of their children." ) She thinks that her children are amazing (I know they are) and make her a better person. Lisa and John are without a doubt my unsung heroes.
Nominator: Fatima Gonzalez
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.