OKLAHOMA CITY – With the conclusion of the annual Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) Heroes Ball, we know it is time to trade our costumes for our secret identity normal clothes, but I need to share with you the final winners of the year.
The Heroes Ball is a superhero-themed costume party and gala that helps raise funds for our organization while at the same time bringing recognition to some of Oklahoma’s outstanding champions for children.
This year, we honored the Cherokee Nation, the Potts Family and the Potts Family Foundation, Jabee Williams, and former Oklahoma First Ladies Donna Nigh and Cathy Keating. We also announced our People’s Choice Award winners based on nominations by Oklahomans and then selected by votes of child advocates for Oklahoma-based hero organizations and/ or individuals.
Our board of directors narrowed the nominees down to the top finalists, with the winners being chosen by online voters and those in attendance at the Heroes Ball. Alethea Satterwhite from ReMerge Oklahoma was the in-dividual advocate selected, and Sara’s Project was the top vote-getter to win the organizational advocate for children award.
The individual who nominated Alethea noted how she has dedicated her life and career to meeting the needs of Oklahoma children and their families. For 14 years, Alethea served at Oklahoma Human Services as a child welfare worker and later, on the post-adoption team to provide resources to foster families and children who previously experienced significant trauma or neglect.
Following her time at Human Services, Alethea joined ReMerge of Oklahoma County. There, she currently leads the “Strengthening Families” team and ensures that mothers and their children are reunified and receiving the services they need to thrive as a healthy, happy family.
Alethea has not only served Oklahoma children at work, but she has also opened her heart and made a home for foster children in need of a safe, welcoming environment to grow. Alethea is currently fostering her 26th child. She is a fierce advocate for families who uses her trauma-informed expertise to build strong alliances with those she serves and make them feel valued, seen, and heard.
Alethea embodies the quote by Nelson Mandela, which reads: “Let us reach out to the children. Let us do whatever we can to support their fight to rise above their pain and suffering.” Alethea Satterwhite is a champion for children and an everyday hero who is making a difference in individual lives and in our community.
In the nomination for Sara’s Project, we were reminded that this organization has dedicated staff members with the mission of helping children. They are always engaged and seeking solutions for problems and keep Oklahomans very informed about what is happening not only at the local office but also on state level. They are constantly involved in improving their facilities and raising funds to provide the best possible outcome for the children that they are tasked with helping.
Their level of engagement with local law enforcement, schools and other agencies is second to none. I am proud to know the staff of Sara’s Project and am thankful to have such a trusted resource in south-central Oklahoma.
Sara’s Project provides so many needed services for children in and around the Ardmore area. They provide everything from crisis management and on-site school crisis assistance to the Child Advocacy Center and Sexual Assault Response Teams serving children and adult victims of sexual abuse/assault. They provide a safe and confidential environment for victims to tell their stories and undergo forensic collections.
While all our nominees were deserving, voters certainly selected two wonderful choices!