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Youth in Youth Development Center Honored:
Social Service Advocate, Media also Receive Awards

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2009
Contact:      Linda O’Neal
                  Richard Kennedy
Phone         (615) 741-2633

Nashville –– Success in describing the problems children face, in working across professions to address those problems and in overcoming early failure to rise above them earned Tennesseans awards today. The awards were given at the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth’s Children’s Advocacy Days at War Memorial Auditorium.

Joetta Yarbro, director of the Dyersburg City School System’s Family Resource Center, was awarded the 2009 Jim Pryor Child Advocate Award for a career of tireless advocacy for children. The superintendent of her school system stated, “I have never known anyone who was more insightful about the needs of children and families....Human services, law enforcement, probation/parole, the faith community and judges in our county recognize her expertise and respect her recommendations concerning what is best for families.” Yarbro earlier received the Northwest Council on Children and Youth advocacy award.

Alonzo Coleman, placed in Mountain View Youth Development Center for crimes including aggravated robbery, was honored for his success in turning his life around. He worked within the treatment plan created by the center and earned a place as captain of a moot court team organized by Jefferson County Juvenile Court Judge Ben Strand Jr. The team did not win the competition, but Coleman learned he could be successful and now has plans for a productive future. TCCY presented him the 2009 Youth Excellence Award, based on a nomination by the Center’s staff.

Three Making KIDS COUNT Media Awards were presented to print media representatives.

Emily Bregel of the Chattanooga Times Free Press and The (Nashville) Tennessean were awarded 2009 Making KIDS COUNT awards for large market print media. Bregel was honored for consistent efforts to create awareness and understanding of public policy and social issues that impact children and families and her skill in working with social service professionals. She was nominated by the Southeast Council on Children and Youth.

The Tennessean received the award for a series of articles focusing on infant mortality. The newspaper was nominated by TCCY central office staff for its ongoing efforts to inform readers about children’s policy issues also contributed to TCCY’s decision to honor it.

Liz Engle of the Cookeville Herald Citizen won the Making KIDS COUNT Award for small market print media. She was honored for stories covering local prevention programs that raised awareness of substance abuse and grief issues facing youth and efforts of community groups to address them. She was nominated by the Upper Cumberland Council on Children and Youth.

These awards are presented annually by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth at its Children’s Advocacy Days. The Commission is an independent agency created in 1955 by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families.

For more information on the Commission, the awards and the winners, please call (800) 264-0904 or access the agency’s website at