White House to honor Wisconsin man as ‘Champion of Change’

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The White House will honor Tim Baack, a Wisconsin advocate for homeless youth, and other leaders in that field as Champions of Change on July 12.

“Today’s Champions of Change have made extraordinary commitments to helping children and youth reach their full potential despite the challenges arising from the experience of homelessness,” said Barbara Poppe, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The efforts of these champions, and others like them across the country, are critical to achieving our goal of preventing and ending homelessness for families, youth and children by 2020, and ensuring that every child has a safe and stable place to call home.”

The president created the Champions of Change program as part of his Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different group of champions is recognized.

In this week’s celebration, which can be watched at www.whitehouse.gov at 1:30 p.m. EST on July 12, the president will honor 13 champions, including Baack.

Baack, according to a release from the White House, has been affiliated with Pathfinders since 1988 and currently serves as its executive vice president.

Under his leadership, Pathfinders in 2009 moved to its current location – an enhanced facility in the Riverworks Business District of Milwaukee – and added two new major programs: the Youth Outreach Drop-In Center and the Q-BLOK LGBT Young Adults Housing Initiative. 

The White House says Baack, who lives in Pewaukee with his partner John Sheaffer, is “a strong advocate on behalf of disadvantaged youth and families” who also serves as board president of the Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services, a statewide membership organization that promotes best practice standards and positive youth development methods on behalf of runaway and homeless youth serving agencies.

A state-licensed professional counselor, Baack also is an elected steering committee member of Milwaukee’s Continuum of Care and serves as chair of group working on CoC’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

Other champions being recognized this week include:

• Margaret Schuelk, who leads the Project Community Connections, Inc. efforts in Georgia. PCCI operates a permanent housing program, often referred to as rapid rehousing, that provides a unique and crucial service to the homeless services provider community and its clients.

• Sherilyn Adams, the executive director of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco, which serves the diverse needs of homeless and runaway youth. Adams has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit social service sector, where she’s managed a variety of programs. She’s overseen the shelter’s licensed residential programs, HIV/AIDS-related services and outreach programs.

• Beth McCullough, the homeless education liaison for Adrian Public Schools and the Homeless Education Coordinator for Lenawee County in Michigan. In her eleven years in this role, she has crawled under porches to find homeless youth and visited aluminum sheds to rescue children who are using a blue tarp as a blanket 

• Frank Cirillo, the director of the Mercer County Board of Social Services in New Jersey and has spent more than 40 years administering a variety of social service programs. He is a member of the Mercer County Alliance to End Homelessness, the New Jersey Child Support Council, and the New Jersey Hunger Coalition. Additionally, he serves on numerous intergovernmental and community boards and organizations.

• Carl Siciliano, a nationally recognized advocate and provider for homeless LGBT youth. He began his career helping to manage shelters, soup kitchens and residential programs for homeless individuals in New York, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. In 2002, Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center, which has grown to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBT youth.

• Paul Hamann, the president and CEO of The Night Ministry, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides housing, healthcare and human connection to members of the Chicago community who are struggling with poverty or homelessness. Hamann joined The Night Ministry in 2002 as director of finance and administration and has led the organization since 2007.

• Steve Bewsey, the director of housing and homelessness services for youth at LifeWorks in Austin, Texas. He is responsible for the oversight of a programs serving runaway and homeless youth, including a Street Outreach Program, an Emergency Shelter, a Transitional Living program, a Maternity Group Home, and a Supportive Housing (apartment-based living) Program.

• Sparky Harlan, CEO of the Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara, Calif., since 1983. Under her leadership, the center builds connections for youth and families to housing, education, employment and emotional well being. 

• Tricia Raikes, co-president of the Raikes Foundation, where she leads efforts to be a catalyst for innovative solutions to help young people reach their full potential. 

• Lisa Stambolis, the director of pediatric and adolescent health at Health Care for the Homeless, Inc. in Baltimore. As a pediatric nurse, she has been providing health care to children and youth in Baltimore City in school health centers, emergency shelters and street reach.

• Sol Flores, the founding executive director of Chicago’s La Casa Norte, a community-based organization that serves youth and families confronting homelessness. Since opening, LCN has helped more than 20,000 homeless and at-risk individuals and is reshaping the physical infrastructure of the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

• Deborah Shore, the founder and executive director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a multi -service agency working with disconnected, homeless and runaway youth and families in the Washington area since l974. SBY serves 1,500 youth and 5,000 family members each year.

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