2015 Change Maker Awards

Celebrating the Winners

The Change Maker Awards celebrate leaders, organizations, and local heroes that are creating change in children’s mental health. From the halls of Congress to the halls of a New York City public school, our honorees embody the relentless courage and care needed to transform children’s lives — and the way mental illness and learning disabilities should be talked about and treated. We invite you to meet the 2015 Change Makers, listen to their stories and support their work.

Honorees

Champion Award Winner

Congressman Tim Murphy, PhD

A longtime clinical psychologist, Congressman Murphy is currently serving his seventh term representing the 18th district of Pennsylvania. His chief cause: creating meaningful reforms in the US health care system, particularly around mental health. He is co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and co-chair and co-founder of the GOP Doctors Caucus. This past December he unveiled his landmark mental health reform legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

“There’s not a time I walk onto the floor of the House of Representatives when having a vote when someone doesn’t come up to me and say, ‘When are you moving your bill?’” says Congressman Murphy. “I want to see this through, I want to make sure it happens.”

Congressman Murphy is leading the charge in Congress to reform our mental health care system with his groundbreaking bill to get help to the patients and families who need it most.

Activist Award Winner

First Lady Chirlane McCray

As chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund for the Advancement of New York City, First Lady Chirlane McCray has dedicated her efforts to a very personal cause: mental health advocacy. Inspired by her daughter’s past struggles, she is working with the Department of Mental Health and Public Hygiene and the Fund for Public Health to create a road map for transforming care in New York. By connecting community groups, city agencies, and individuals, it will set an example for the world.

“The first step to solving the crisis is to simply acknowledge that it exists,” says McCray. “We must start a real public conversation about mental illness, and we must start connecting people to appropriate services. That is how we will shatter the stigma.”

Her vision of meeting and treating people where they live will create a revolutionary mental health care system that truly meets the needs of all New Yorkers.

Corporate Advocate Award Winner

Bloomingdale’s

Represented by Tony Spring

Bloomingdale’s, a founding partner of the Child Mind Institute, took a stance on mental health at a time when few organizations were speaking up about it. Over the past five holiday seasons, Bloomingdale’s, led by CEO Tony Spring, has sold numerous limited-edition special products that have raised funds to benefit patients and research at the Child Mind Institute, as well as promote awareness about this important public health issue.

“We could never be as successful a business without being actively involved in important causes,” says Spring. “I watch people, they pick up and they love the products, but then they smile a little bit more because it’s making a difference in the communities and it’s making a difference in the children in their neighborhoods.”

No other national company has made as unflinching a commitment to children’s mental health care as Bloomingdale’s.

Community Builder Award Winner

Active Minds

Represented by Alison Malmon

Founded and led by executive director, Alison Malmon, who lost her brother Brian to suicide, Active Minds raises awareness about mental health issues at 400 colleges across the United States. Working peer to peer to destigmatize psychiatric illness on campus, Active Minds guides school administrative efforts, affects national policy, and—most important—empowers students to speak openly and to get help.

“Everything that I learned from Brian spurred me to start Active Minds,” says Malmon. “It’s sometimes really hard to recognize good that can come from something as awful as Brian’s death. What I find particularly meaningful is that I can get a chance to remember him daily and that his life has a ton of meaning, and we’re working hard to ensure that we continue to see that through until the very, very end.”

By empowering college students to speak openly about mental health, Active Minds is creating a generation of people who are already changing the conversation about mental health in our country.

Local Hero Award Winner

Angela Renz, LCSW

For decades, NYC school social worker Angela Renz has helped thousands of at-risk children, educating their parents and teachers about the dangers of stress and the benefits of teaching resilience. At PS 59 and MS 167, where she currently splits her time, Renz establishes teacher workshops, leads group and individual therapies for students, and has a reputation for keeping up with the lives and family situations of hundreds of kids.

“I think that when you’re working with youth there’s an element of the future. Even what you say to a student today—you may have an immediate reaction, but there’s always that hope,” says Renz.

Angela Renz is exactly the kind of person you want looking out for your kids when they’re at school. She is tireless and empathetic and she moves mountains for children every day. That’s why she’s our local hero.

Finalists

Honorable Mention - Local Hero

Chrisi Hard

Chrisi is a mother of two and a mental health advocate. After her own battles with trauma and alcoholism, one daughter with bipolar disorder and another with type 1 diabetes, Chrisi started and coordinates an annual half marathon and a separate 5K run with her team, the Stigma Busters, to educate the public about the perils of stigma. She is also a professional baker, and, during Mental Health Month, she holds a Bake for Bipolar fundraiser. When not baking or running, Chrisi can be found helping at local mental health events. Read more about Chrisi.

Honorable Mention - Local Hero

Lauren Book

Lauren Book is the founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids. A victim of childhood sexual abuse herself, through Lauren’s Kids she has turned her experiences into a force for good. The mission of Lauren’s Kids is to prevent sexual abuse through education and awareness, and to help survivors heal with guidance and support. For more information, visit the Lauren’s Kids website.

Honorable Mention - Local Hero

Hakeem Rahim

Hakeem Rahim was a Harvard junior when he experienced a psychotic episode that led to hospitalization and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He went on to earn his BA in psychology from Harvard then his MA and EdM from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and started his own consulting firm focusing on mental health advocacy. Hakeem now shares his inspirational story of living with mental illness with audiences across the nation, encouraging others to speak up about mental health. For more information, visit Hakeem’s website.

Honorable Mention - Community Builder

International Bipolar Foundation

The International Bipolar Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by four parents of children with bipolar disorder. The foundation focuses on research, support, and education. IBPF offers a plethora of free, accessible programs and campaigns to help raise awareness around bipolar disorder. For more information, visit the foundation’s website.

Honorable Mention - Community Builder

Rising Tide

Rising Tide is a car wash dedicated to the empowerment of individuals with autism. Each Rising Tide location will provide employment for people with autism through easy-to-learn, process-driven labor. As it grows, Rising Tide hopes to support the autism community through living wages, career advancement opportunities, independent living skills, and self-advocacy training. For more information, visit the Rising Tide website.

Honorable Mention - Community Builder

Babylon Junior-Senior High School

The staff at the Babylon Junior-Senior High School works to better the lives of students both within and beyond the school environment. Teachers and staff at Babylon perform home visits, donate to charities, and provide accommodations for students in need. After Hurricane Sandy, the school became actively involved in relief efforts, offering transportation, school supplies, lunch relief, and mental health support to students and their families affected by the storm. For more information, visit the school’s website.

Honorable Mention - Community Builder

KIPP Infinity Elementary School

>Since it was founded in 2010, KIPP Infinity Elementary School (KIES) has prioritized social-emotional learning at the school, class, and individual levels. KIES has a dedicated staff of social workers, special educators, and support staff who go above and beyond to provide the healthiest, safest, warmest environment possible. Thanks to their hard work, KIES sets a great example, creating a proactive, mentally healthy environment for all of its students. For more information, visit the school’s website.

Honorable Mention - Community Builder

NAMI Queens/Nassau

NAMI Queens/Nassau is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that addresses the mental health needs of our community, replaces stigma with understanding, and helps thousands of families and individuals each year. For more information, visit the NAMI website.

About Our Sponsor

For six years, Hunter has been a strong and steadfast partner for the Child Mind Institute’s Speak Up for Kids campaign. Hunter’s support has helped catalyze a national dialogue — engaging media, celebrities, influencers, the federal government and countless parents. Together we give voice to millions of kids and their families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

Founded in 1856, Hunter is a progressive British heritage brand renowned for its iconic Original boot and holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The brand has a rich history of innovation and continues to forge designs that shield pioneers from the elements and bleakest of landscapes.

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