2008 Be There for Your Kids Awards Winners

In an effort to recognize and reward outstanding individuals and program service in healthy father involvement with children, families and communities throughout Colorado, the Colorado Fatherhood Council established the Be There for Your Kids Awards in 2008.

The 2008 Be There for Your Kids Awards winners were recognized during our annual Fatherhood Training Academy last October. Here is a brief look at their many accomplishments:

Program of the Year - Dad UP – The Road Called STRATE
The Road Called STRATE is an employment and training program dedicated to meeting the needs of at-risk clients, many of whom most members of society have deemed failures. The Dad UP program was established primarily to teach ex-offenders and non-custodial dads the importance of being there for their kids.

The program motivates dads to jump through every hurdle necessary to get to their children. This often means going to court with them, establishing workable child support plans, job placement and retention services and parenting skills. Through life skills training and gang prevention programs, Dad UP clients become strong role models for their families and communities.

Father of the Year – Shalako Powers
Shalako Powers, a heavy equipment operator for the Montezuma County Landfill, began the Responsible Fatherhood Program at The Pinon Project in January 2008. The father of two girls, Aspen and Shanaoh, Shalako shares custody with their mother.            

Shalako is very involved in his daughters’ lives. He strives to demonstrate and instill good values in them to prepare them for future trials and tribulations.

As a participant in the Responsible Fatherhood Program, Shalako has had an incredible impact on other fathers. He calls them on a weekly basis to motivate them to attend class or inform them of what they are going to miss. In class he treats them with a tremendous amount of respect.

Shalako is now working toward an associates degree from Pueblo Community College. His goal is to then earn a degree in secondary education so that he can become a high school history and world cultures teacher.

Advocate of the Year – Walt Grady
Walt Grady, vice president of The Arc of Larimer County Board of Directors, serves adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families in Larimer County. He is a tireless advocate for improved quality of life through access to opportunity. Walt advocates, educates and organizes – all on behalf of people with cognitive impairments.

Walt increased access to advocacy support for citizens in northern Colorado by being one of the founders of The Arc of Larimer County. His work during the past legislative session will impact the care-giving and employment opportunities available for people with developmental disabilities and their families throughout Colorado for years to come. He is truly an advocate extraordinaire!

Community Impact Award – Scott Gilmore
Scott Gilmore has served as a father figure to more than 50 children over the past 15 years. He is the co-founder of Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) and is a full-time employee with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Scott is only the second African-American biologist to be employed with the Division of Wildlife. He lives to educate and empower kids.

Through ELK, Scott serves African-American and Hispanic children by being a positive and dependable male role model. He mentors children to have deep respect for themselves, their community and the environment. Kids who participate in ELK have a 98 percent high school graduation rate compared to a 50 percent rate for African-American and Hispanic students attending Denver Public Schools.

In addition to his work with the Division of Wildlife and ELK, Scott serves on the Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Colorado Fatherhood Council - Member of the Year – Dan Welch
Dan Welch has been an important part of the Colorado Fatherhood Council for many years. As a member of the Council, he assisted with the development of the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Grant application with the federal government and has served as an important liaison between

funded programs and the Colorado Office of Child Support Enforcement. In addition, Dan has overseen the development of numerous publications designed to assist fathers, programs and communities.

Individual of the Year – Troy Grimes
Troy Grimes serves as a father advocate with the Lowry Family Center (LFC). He continually goes beyond expectations while serving fathers. Troy acts as a mentor, provides resources, job opportunities and educational assistance and offers fathers relationship guidance.

Troy doesn’t pamper or make fathers feel beholden to him or LFC. He quietly goes about influencing them in such a way that they begin to work on their own behalf. Over the years, he has developed a “posse” of fathers that assist LFC with community activities, fund raising and other responsibilities that come about when you are working with fathers. Troy is very involved in all of his cases and keeps lines of communication open to provide a wide range of views.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Your daily commitment to fatherhood showcases the many different ways dads can be there for their kids.

Stay tuned for an announcement of the 2009 Be There for Your Kids Awards winners at the Colorado Fatherhood Rally on June 20.