By Lena Scaff, Director of Early Learning Centers of Lubbock and SPCCAP member
Since 2004, Carolyn Simpson has been the voice for infants and young children at the Lubbock Area United Way, serving as the Community Impact Associate and Director of Success by Six. She has contributed in so many areas it would be difficult to list the many areas her handprint has touched in our local community. Her unwavering focus on helping to ensure babies are born healthy as well as the promotion of early literacy and school readiness for all children regardless of the challenges faced by families has been paramount.
Even more specific to this award, Carolyn has been instrumental in building and growing the South Plains Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention (SPCCAP) serving as Co-Chairman from 2011 to 2013 and as Chairman from 2014-2016. The Coalition experienced significant growth under her leadership. The Go Blue Lubbock initiative, which was started in 2013 and is now the signature project of the South Plains Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention, was one of her ideas. Since then, this initiative has grown and has gained even more community support. These efforts have also helped to grow the Child Abuse Conference, a part of Go Blue Lubbock held in conjunction with Covenant Children’s.
When funding for child abuse prevention efforts was eliminated in Lubbock County in 2013, Carolyn worked diligently to help in advocacy efforts both on the local and state level to restore funding. She was instrumental in getting child abuse prevention added as an area of advocacy on the state level with United Ways of Texas. This provided a great increase in advocacy efforts for our local region at the state level.
Carolyn also assisted in helping to secure the HOPES (Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Intervention Services) contract for Lubbock County, which started in January of 2015. She helped in the required community assessment process, in obtaining letters of support for the project from across the community and in formulating program responses. The almost five years of funding from HOPES, which is scheduled to continue through 2020, will bring more than $1 million in state funding to assist in child abuse prevention and support services to families in Lubbock County. HOPES funding has been the most sizable and the most stable funding for prevention Lubbock has ever received and has resulted in many new initiatives being launched and many more families being reached.
More recently, when the State Commissioners for the Department of Family and Protective Services visited Lubbock in the spring of 2018 for the first time to review the HOPES efforts, Carolyn helped to organize and execute a tremendous welcome and sightseeing effort. Her efforts included getting area legislators to sit down with Commissioners to help them better understand the challenges of providing child abuse prevention efforts in the Lubbock area and the importance of state funding to complement local investment. The impressions made and relationships built during the multi-day event have the potential to impact decision making at the state level for years to come.
Put simply, Carolyn exemplifies the criteria the Cherish the Children Award represents.