Seattle's Child is proud to once again sponsor the Unsung Heroes being honored in February by the Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington.
Every day this month we'll present an Unsung Hero.
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.
Today's honoree, Alesia Cannady of Seattle, was nominated multiple times:
I would like to nominate Alesia Cannady for the Unsung Hero 2019 Award. I met Alesia two years ago when the Rainier Valley Heritage Parade & Festival invited me as a celebration artist to assist parade participants with creating their parade ensembles.
Alesia had not one, but two ensembles she wanted help for: The Love Train and Angels of Hope. We had a wonderful, fun collaboration that has turned into a friendship and more creative collaborations with her own community projects, including Threads of Change, Love Train Play Street, Angels of Hope Play Place, Pepper Pot Kinship Support Group and Women United Seattle.
Alesia has a deep understanding of the needs of kinship caregivers like herself and it motivates her daily to bring folks together in her community, to inspire them to support one another, to hope and have the courage to gather and create positive and meaningful change in their worlds. She's continually doing outreach, organizing meetings, work parties and hosting social gatherings at her home. If she has a need to create income, she brings others along with her, as with the Senior Sewing classes she teaches.
Alesia is one of the most compassionate, passionate, and generous people I know. She is active in her church and her belief in love over hate is strong. She's an inclusive and nonjudgmental individual who knows the power of lifting people up through connection. Her work ethic defies roadblocks. She's a woman of her word.
Her commitment to raising her granddaughter Aleyiah is unquestionable. She's determined to raise her to be a strong, caring, independent woman through modeling it herself. My experience of the two of them together in the community and at home makes it apparent. Alesia has also raised twin nieces and cared for her father as he aged.
Alesia undoubtedly deserves any award that will help sustain and grow her vision. It would undoubtedly change the lives of many many families and communities. Alesia is flesh and blood too, and this award would certainly help to maintain her seemingly unstoppable spirit, and bring critically needed networking support as she walks her talk down the path.
There is so much more about this woman to be celebrated & supported. Please include my vote for Alesia Cannady!
Nominated by Norma Baum
I am nominating Alesia Cannady for the Unsung Hero Award. She has been raising her granddaughter for the past five years. She has shown strength from time to time in all five areas.
She received a phone call from her son out of the blue to come to the hospital in Tacoma and get his baby because he and the baby’s mom were on drugs. This phone call changed her life status from retired to a Kinship Caregiver. After getting the baby she petitioned the court for custody. She stayed positive, grounded and surrounded by other caregivers and community as she cared for the baby while going through the court system.
Alesia has her granddaughter attending Genesee Early Learning Center, a high-quality preschool where she is a volunteer.
Alesia has a love for her community and the children which gave her the inspiration to start hosting a free Play Street the Love Train in September 2014. The street she lives on is closed off so that the children can play in the street, community resource tables and food. Her backyard is turned into a play land for the younger children. The community looks forward to this free event twice a year with one of the dates being in September for a back-to-school party with school supplies for the kids, backpacks, free haircuts for boys and hairstyles for the girls, new shoes, clothes, resource tables and lunch is provided for the families.
Nominated by Cynthia Green
Alesia is a constant, supportive presence in our community.
From founding transformative organizations like Women United, or Angel of Hope Play Place — a respite for kinship caregivers and the children they care for, to hosting the "Love Train Play Street," a biannual free community event featuring food, music, dance and resources, she does it all with grace and compassion.
She has built a diverse and strong network of local caregivers (Pepper Pot Kinship Group), partnered with local community organizations, and even marched in parades sharing her love for the community and encouraging folks to jump in and dance alongside her. Overcoming the odds, she has raised her granddaughter with the greatest care and affection. Not only is she a phenomenal role model for her, she is the neighbor everyone wishes they had, and someone many in our community feel lucky just to know. Alesia deserves plenty of awards for not only her parenting, but for the joy and love she brings to all children and the rest of the community as a whole.
Nominated by Maggie Block and Devin Chicras