When I took the helm at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), the board of directors made it clear the mission of our organization needed to move back to our roots. Our mission is “creating awareness, taking action, and supporting policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”
 
Part of raising awareness about children’s issues is recognizing the good work that is already being done in our community. That recognition not only assigns credit where credit is due, but also encourages others to do good work as well.   
 
OICA’s way of encouraging that recognition is through our two premiere awards: the Laura Choate Resilience Award and the Moran Kidizenship Awards. OICA is now accepting nominations for both, through September 14th, and we hope the public will nominate many deserving recipients (nominees can be submitted at OICA.org).
 
The Laura Choate Resilience Award, our longest standing award, is named in honor of one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit which helped create OICA back in 1983 (Laura’s lawsuit helped to document instances of horrible abuse within the child welfare system and forced the state to reform and improve its policies).  The Laura Choate Resilience Award was created to celebrate individuals who have been significantly impacted by adverse childhood experiences but have overcome obstacles, made a lasting contribution to the lives of young people, exhibit bravery, demonstrate dedication to fostering resilience in youth and inspire resilience in youth by exhibiting the characteristics of the “7 Cs of Resilience.” Those characteristics are:
 

  1. Competence: Taking notice of what young people are doing right and giving them opportunities to develop important skills,
  2. Confidence: Ability to navigate the world, think outside the box, and recover from challenges,
  3. Connection: Connections with youth and with communities that offer young people the security to stand on their own and develop creative solutions,
  4. Character: Clear sense of right and wrong and commitment to integrity,
  5. Contribution: Taking action to improve the well-being of others,
  6. Coping: Ability to manage adverse experiences and exhibit resilience, and
  7. Control: Understanding and exhibiting characteristics of respect and responsibility.

 
Our second line of awards, the Moran Kidizenship Awards, recognizes and rewards excellence in youth philanthropy. The Kidizenship Awards provide young Oklahomans under the age of 18 across the state with the opportunity to celebrate and showcase their activities which benefit their peers – other young people in Oklahoma. The Awards represent the true Oklahoma Standard – the opportunity to demonstrate how young Oklahomans are making this a great state!
 
The awards are named after Melvin and Jasmine Moran, philanthropists in their own right, who have spent their lives celebrating opportunities for the youth of Oklahoma. Though most well-known as the founders of the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole, OK, the Moran Family has spent decades dedicated to the improvement of lives of children all across our state.
 
Five finalists will be selected for the Kidizenship Award, with one overall winner determined by the OICA Board of Directors.
 
If you have someone in mind who should be recognized with one of these awards, please go to OICA.org and submit your nomination under the awards tab.  Please help us find those unsung heroes who are going above and beyond to help Oklahoma’s youth!