Mary Renfro Lifetime Achievement Award

Each year, beginning in 2012, United Voices for Children will select one individual to receive the Mary Renfro Lifetime Achievement Award for her/his work as a Child Advocate. A Child Advocate is a person who speaks for children who cannot or may not speak for themselves.

Mary Renfro devoted her 37-year career to early childhood education, teaching Kindergarten in Washington, D.C., and in Lebanon, Illinois. She also served as an instructor in the education department at McKendree College and in the early childhood education department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Mary founded a preschool and daycare center in 1979 in Lebanon and served on its board for many years. After her retirement from public education in 1983, Mary provided music activities for children at three preschools and six kindergarten classes on a monthly basis. Outside of her career, Mary provided leadership in United Methodist Women, United Voices for Children, the Bishop’s Initiative on Children and Poverty, and Annual Conference. She is a lifelong servant-leader with a heart for children.

Selection Criteria

The award recipient shall be an individual who:

  • Is a member of The United Methodist Church;
  • Actively advocates on behalf of children;
  • Serves as a role model for others who care for the well-being of children; and
  • Has been involved with child advocacy for 20 or more years.

Nomination and Selection Process

To nominate a person for the award, download the Nomination Packet and return it to: Anita Ashcroft at 2887 Woodson Road, Franklin, IL 62638. Or e-mail it to Anita The deadline for submitting nominations is March 31.

The Selection Committee will review all nominations that meet the criteria listed above and select one nominee to receive the award. The Mary Renfro Child Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be notified by May 1. The award will also be announced at the United Voices for Children breakfast during Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. United Voices for Children will provide the award recipient with a personalized recognition plaque and send a monetary gift to the honoree’s designated charity.