Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2017) As founder of The Neediest Kids (TNK), a program of The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), Tom Cookerly’s mission is to ease the growing struggles of the almost 250,000 students affected by poverty in D.C.’s schools. By annually awarding a school leader who is prioritizing these students with a $4000.00 cash award, Cookerly seeks to bring poverty-stricken students to the forefront of administrators minds.
The first inaugural Tom Cookerly Exceptional School Superintendent Leadership Award went to former Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza on March 24, 2017, at UnCorked!, an annual fundraiser for TNK held at The National Museum of Women in the Arts. Fairfax County, one of the ten school districts served by TNK, is the largest in Virginia and tenth largest in the country, serving over 186,000 students. Fairfax County has been a leader in their ability to use the resources provided to impact the lives of the nearly 52,000 students who are eligible for free or reduced meals -a key indicator of poverty. Additionally, it was the first county to produce a detailed report showing the positive impact TNK has on students and families who received services.
Mr. Cookerly started the Neediest Kids in 1972 while General Manager of WJLA-TV (now ABC 7) in order to help young people who, through no fault of their own, could not reach their full potential because they needed glasses, hearing aids, shoes or coats. This award continues his legacy of helping students through collaborations involving the entire community and hopes to bring attention to the growing population of needy students in the affluent National Capital Region.
About The Neediest Kids
The Neediest Kids, a program of The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), provides emergency funds to D.C. Metropolitan area students in need so they have the basic essentials needed to stay in school and thrive. Working with 10 local school systems, The Neediest Kids Program also provides students with new clothes, uniforms, eye exams, eyeglasses, and access to dental/medical care, school supplies, transportation and more. In the past three years, it has served over 117,000 students in a region where more than 42%, or close to 250,000 students, qualify for free or reduced-priced meals (FARMS), a primary indicator of poverty.
About The National Center for Children and Families
Founded in 1915 as an orphanage in the District of Columbia, NCCF is a private, nonprofit child and family welfare agency with a commitment to serving poor, disadvantaged, abused, neglected, and/or abandoned children, youth, and their families. Current program services include emergency shelters and transitional housing for homeless families and youth, a high-intensity therapeutic group home for adolescents, therapeutic and traditional foster care and adoption, independent living for youth transitioning to adulthood, teen parent services, and community-based prevention services that promote academic achievement, parental involvement, economic and vocational stability, and healthy families. Its programs have become social service models, redefining both NCCF’s reputation and the agency’s position in the human service continuum in the Washington Metropolitan Region. https://www.nccf-cares.org
Source: The National Center for Children and Families