United Voices for Children contest winners honored at breakfast


UVC met the winners of the Karleen Dude Youth Essay Contest and the Mary Renfro Child Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award at Friday's breakfast during the 2012 Annual Conference.

Zachary Stroup from Prospect UMC in Dunlap, a soon to be seventh grader at Dunlap Valley Middle School and active young person in the local church, received the Karleen Dude Child Advocacy Youth Essay Contest. He highlighted Bonnie Mankle an active member of the church.  He wrote, “One person that is always focused on children is Bonnie Mankle.”   He listed the activities she had initiated and been a part of including teaching Sunday School, starting an After School program, initiating a Halloween Trunk and Treat party, holding a Bike Rodeo which focused on teaching bike safety, and taught young people to make baked goods and the products were then sold and the money raised supported Cunningham Children’s Home and Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House.
In closing Stroup states, “Bonnie is a role model, leader and a very helpful, hard worker. I have learned from Bonnie how to be a leader, helpful towards others, and a hard worker and that is why she is my advocate. Our church and children are blessed to have a special person like Bonnie Mankle.”
Casey Andrew, the winner of the Mary Renfro Child Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award was nominated by the Administrative Council at First United Methodist Church in Lebanon.
Andrew in the same style as Mary Renfro has given years of service to her church and community often on behalf of children. She has taught Sunday School since 1975 sharing her talents with children in preschool up to the sixth grade as well as being a youth group sponsor for several years.
Her interest in children was nurtured further though United Methodist Women where she gave leadership on the local, district and conference level and been a part of the boards of Cunningham Children’s Home serving as President and Lessie Bates Davis Home, chair of the Resource Development Committee. These institutions were initiated by the women’s organizations in the Methodist Church in the early 1900 and UMW supports their continued interest in children and families today.
In the community Casey is a tutor in an after school programs, been active in Girl Scouts giving significant leadership. As a member of Rotary she has been responsible for the Youth Exchange Program and the programs a with the Women’s Club.
Si Korte the Church Council chair states, “Lebanon First UMC is proud that Casey is a part of our fellowship, and we celebrate the many years that she has been involved with children and youth in our church and community.”
Because there are many who would qualify for the Mary Renfro Advocate Lifetime Achievement award the United Voices for Children board chose to honor two other women who have been active children advocates with Honorable Mention.   They are Lana Hoey an active member at First UMC in Decatur, nominated by Virginia McQuistion and Sue Beach an active member at Belleville Signal Hill UMC, nominated by Velma Thompson.
Both of these women have taken leadership role with Christian education for the children and young people in their congregation in their local churches and communities. Supporting After school programming in their local communities. Identifying young persons who are without a church home and seeking to support them and their families and bring them into the local church community.
Hoey started a Downtown Dinner program which is a meal on the 4th Saturday of the month for the homeless and less fortunate. The approximately 25 children who come each week in addition to the food and fellowship receive a Bible Study handout. In the fall backpacks are available for the children. Beach, serving as president of Rainbow Kids, an after school program for children, saw that funds were gathered to build a ‘State of the Art’ playground for the children. This gives the children a safe place to be.