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Photo courtesy Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families

A tireless champion for kids | Unsung Hero

Cynthia Grayson motivates kids and adults alike

Seattle’s Child is proud to partner with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington to honor outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children. Throughout February, we’ll introduce you to Unsung Heroes from around the state: biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofits; some mentor others in their communities. Enjoy the stories of 2024’s unsung heroes. 

NOTE: Seattle’s Child is running these stories unedited, as written by the people who nominated them, in keeping with the DCYF Unsung Hero process.


Cynthia Grayson, Mukilteo

Ms. Cynthia Grayson is worthy of this award for this reason: She prevails!

She has been a counselor and child welfare and adoption worker. She has been tireless in developing programs such as supervised visitation, Parents as Teachers, and other services for children who have experienced trauma or have special needs. She’s created a fathers’ network and a kinship mentorship program for African American and Native American families. She has been a stellar individual for change on a statewide level. As an informal community advocate, she influenced Washington State’s efforts to reduce and eradicate racial disproportionality in the child welfare system.

When I think of Ms. Grayson, I reflect on a quiet, strong, powerful, selfless beacon for truth, justice, and equity. In the end, all her stamina, compassion, and good work comes back to being present for the grandson she reared first with her husband. She then prevailed in her husband’s honor as a grieving yet attentive widow through her grandson’s formative years. Her grandson is but one of many African American children who are stronger because of her.

However, all the children Ms. Grayson has touched with her care and vision are impacted by her tenacity and voice.

It has been a year and a half since I retired from working for Ms. Cynthia. Her standards and practices continue to motivate me. Even though she is shy of being in the limelight, it seems important that I nominate Mrs. Cynthia Grayson as an Unsung Hero for 2024.

— Linda J. Porter

More Unsung Heroes:

Fighting child abuse with a passion

A new mom helping other new moms

A loving, resilient mom giving it all

Mom of four promotes self care

Katrina Peters has G.R.I.T.

About the Author

Seattle Child Staff