July 12, 2021



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org



OICA Announces 2021 “Heroes for Children”

Heroes to be Recognized at Annual Heroes Ball

OKLAHOMA CITY – Preparations are underway for the 2021 Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s Heroes Ball, at which we honor the state’s heroes for children. This year’s event will be expanded to two in-person locations and a virtual option for those who wish to enjoy the event remotely.

The event will be held in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, connected by a live feed, and across the Zoom platform on Friday, July 30; a reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. The 2020 Heroes Ball, held at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, was held virtually across Zoom. Last year’s effort won a national award for the best virtual event.

We are thrilled to be getting back together this year. Even so, we realize though some may still be uncomfortable in crowds, and we wanted to make sure those child advocates can be a part of the festivities.

The Oklahoma City venue will be at the historic Hilton Skirvin downtown, while the Tulsa venue will be the Greenwood Cultural Center. Tickets for both locations, the virtual option, and sponsorship options are on sale now at oica.org.

Those who attend the Heroes Ball help make sure we can continue our work on behalf of Oklahoma’s children. Tickets are already becoming limited, so now is the time to get your tickets and help make Oklahoma an even better place for our state’s youngest residents.

As the event’s name suggests, the Heroes Ball will honor Oklahomans who are heroes to Oklahoma’s children. This year’s historic ball also will pay tribute to the children and families impacted by the Tulsa Race Massacre 100 years ago, which is why it was important to have a venue in Greenwood, Dorman said.

Co-chairing this year’s Heroes Ball will be Mary Blankenship Pointer, the Honorable J.C. Watts, and the Honorable Dan and Andrea Boren. This year’s superhero theme will honor both Marvel’s Captain America and DC Comics’ Wonder Woman. Both characters are celebrating their 80th anniversary and both have African American counterparts. Steve Rogers passed Captain America’s shield to “The Falcon,” Sam Wilson, and Wonder Woman has a Black twin sister named Nubia.

Several of the award winners have already been announced. The prestigious “Kate Barnard Perseverance Award” will go to longtime advocates Bob and Jean Harbison of Lawton for their work to enact early childhood education in Oklahoma. Individual Advocates of the Year are Chad and Charis Richison of Paycom.

Organizational honorees will be the Oklahoma State Department of Health, county health departments, and tribal health departments. They are being honored for their work to vaccinate Oklahomans against COVID-19.

Awards yet to be determined are the recipients of the Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards for individuals and organizations; this award is named for Anne Roberts, OICA’s longest-serving executive director. As the name suggests, these awards come from the nomination and votes of child advocates. Nominations are in, and the finalists will be posted on our website for public voting. The winners will be announced during the Heroes Ball.

For more information about the Heroes Ball, to vote for an individual or an organization for a People’s Choice award, or to find out how you can help OICA continue its mission of fighting for Oklahoma’s children, go to the website at www.oica.org or call 405-236-KIDS (5437).