Nominations Open for Child Advocacy Fall Awards
August 17, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
OKLAHOMA CITY – During its annual Fall Forum meeting, slated for Oct. 11-13, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will announce winners of four awards recognizing excellence in child advocacy and philanthropy.
Nominations from members of the public are now being accepted for these awards, which can be submitted on the organization’s website at https://oica.org. The four awards are the Steven A. Novick Child Advocacy Award, the Laura Choate Resilience Award, and the Jasmine and Melvin Moran “Kidizenship” Award, along with a new recognition. Beginning this year, OICA has created an award for an attorney or judge who has distinguished themselves in the fight for children. This recognition will be the Jari Askins Justice for Children Award.
“Each of these awards represent something special about remarkable individuals who fight for Oklahoma’s children,” said Joe Dorman, OICA’s CEO. “Steven Novick dedicated much of his legal career to improve the lives of youth in state custody. Laura Choate was one of those for whom Steven fought and she has dedicated her life to that same cause. Jari Askins has fought for children in all three branches of government, and Melvin and the late Jasmine Moran are two of Oklahoma’s finest child advocates who have spent their life together elevating opportunities for children.”
Steven A. Novick served as the legal counsel for the children who brought forth the “Terry D” lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma. Through his effort to represent these children and the thousands of others who benefited from this case, reforms were brought about to improve the conditions of Oklahoma youth in state care. It was in the aftermath of the “Terry D” lawsuit that OICA was created. The award is for excellence in child advocacy.
Laura Choate has served as a lifelong advocate for Oklahoma children and was the first recipient of the Resilience Award. She worked with OICA to reform the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice system to better serve and protect Oklahoma children, and currently sits as a board member. As a youth, Choate served as a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit that resulted in dramatic changes to Oklahoma’s juvenile justice system and was used as a model by many other states to establish higher standards. The award is for someone who, like Laura, has overcome difficult circumstances to become an effective child advocate.
Jari Askins has been a judge, a lawmaker, and the state’s lieutenant governor. She currently serves as the state’s administrative director of the courts, one of Oklahoma’s top judicial officials. As a lawmaker and lieutenant governor, Askins supported and enacted a series of bills designed to improve the quality of life for the state’s children. The award is for a practicing attorney or sitting judge who has distinguished themselves as an advocate for children.
The Kidizenship Award is OICA’s statewide awards program recognizing and rewarding excellence in youth philanthropy for youngsters under the age of 18. The award is named after Melvin and Jasmine Moran, philanthropists, best known as the founders of the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole, Oklahoma.
Dorman said anyone is eligible to nominate a qualifying Oklahoman for any of the awards. “All one has to do is go to our website at oica.org and fill out the nomination form for a suitable nominee,” he said.
Each year, we receive a tremendous group of nominees who embody what is best about Oklahoma. I look forward to seeing the suggestions and presenting those to the OICA awards committee who will determine the recipients.”
Nominations will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23. Award winners will be announced at OICA’s annual Fall Forum, where activists and state officials come together to learn how to better advocate for children and develop the annual “Children’s Legislative Agenda” to guide OICA’s work at the State Capitol.