CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The state of WV’s Kids Virtual Summit and Awards took place last week. West Virginia Kids Count announced award winners and the 2020 Data Collection Book.
WV Kids Count is in its 31st year of championing the vision to make West Virginia a great place to be a kid. The mission is to provide the most trusted data about West Virginia’s children’s well-being and build alliances to advocate for what kids need.
The data is collected each year, divided into three main categories (Education, Health, Economic). The data collected helps future state and local officials make decisions based on what the population of our children needs. Health and education are at the top; the data collected can help make the changes need for young children underlying success in the future.
“The more people that know about our kid’s well-being, the easier it is to champion what they need most. We’re proud to put our vision out there in making West Virginia a great place to be a kid. We know we can’t do that without the partnership of others, so we thank them for our their support in this cause that is so important to us.”Tricia Kingery, Executive Director WV KIDS COUNT
For more information about WV Kids County, visit their website.
2020 Champion of Children Award Winners
Overall Champion of Children is Brad D. Smith, former CEO and current Chairman of Intuit, and co-founder of The Wing 2 Wing Foundation, an organization whose goal is to advance the great equalizers of education and entrepreneurship in regions where individuals and communities have been overlooked and underserved. Recently, Brad and his wife, Alys, personally donated $25 million to Marshall University and $25 million to West Virginia University because they believe so passionately in education and economic opportunity.
Education Champion of Children is Dr. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University. Dr. Gee is one of America’s most prominent higher education leaders, having helmed universities for more than three decades. Recently, the website Great Value Colleges named him the nation’s top university president. His leadership goals include putting students first, advancing the university’s research agenda, and partnering with West Virginia communities.
Economic Well-Being Champion of Children is Nikki Bowman Mills, a West Virginia native who founded New South Media, Inc. and served as president of the company, publisher, and editor-in-chief. Her mission is to create high caliber publications that change the perceptions of West Virginia by championing the state with positive stories.
Health Champion of Children is Dr. Larry Rhodes, Professor of Pediatrics at WVU School of Medicine, and one of the nation’s leading advocates for rural children’s health. He maintains a clinical practice in Morgantown and provides outreach pediatric cardiology care in several rural communities, including Lewisburg, Glenville, Summerville, Beckley, Gary, and Pineville.
Our Family and Community Champion of Children is Linda McKinney, Director of Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank in McDowell, WV. She is a wonderful example of the goodness of humanity against all odds. The McKinney family and a small group of volunteers are responsible for feeding 150 families each week. Food Bank programs include Lady Night Out, School Break Bag, Baby Pantry, and Emergency Pantry. McKinney represents the best of West Virginia here at home and on a national level.