In 2002, the National Parents' Day Council honored three couples with National "Excellence in Parenting" Awards.
|National "Excellence in Parenting" Honorees:|
Two years ago Moises and Verlana Gutierrez were happy with four of their own children. But fortune smiled at them in a challenging way. Verlana’’s sister asked them to adopt her five children before her death from cancer. ““Yes,”” they answered with no hesitation.
Suddenly at nine children, they could only thank God for their blessings. But fortune was still smiling at them: they discovered Verlana was pregnant with twins. Now, fitting eleven children in the space of what used to hold four demanded a good deal of creative resolve, a reservoir of patience, and a lot of hard work.
happily took this challenge with a smile as bright as her sister’s
is in the picture on the mantle of her new home. When parents go
through challenges, their mettle is tested. These parents credit their
ability to take on this task to their faith, family, and friends.
The adopted children, likewise, went through the pain of losing their mother and having to ““redo”” family. The twins helped heal the process, as they belonged to ““all of them.”” One shining example of parenthood for which this couple was chosen was their decision to give from their material blessings to others less fortunate during the Christmas season, teaching their children the importance of giving love to others.
Both Moises and Verlana come from large families themselves, and both lost their fathers at an early age. Their faith in God strengthens them. Their work ethic and heart of love serve as an example for all of us.
|Ezekiel and Pauline Sanchez - Mesa, AZ|
Pauline Sanchez of Mesa, Arizona are the proud parents of seven
children. Ezekiel is the co-founder of Anasazi Foundation, a
nationally accredited non-profit organization serving at-risk youth
and their parents.
Ezekiel and Pauline believe that children respond best to those who care about them. This is exemplified in their work at Anasazi and at home, and is validated by the remarkable results of their efforts. Since its humble beginning in 1988, less then 5% of the 2,300 children who have participated at Anasazi for substance abuse and/or emotional and behavioral concerns have returned to in-patient treatment.
Four of the Sanchez children have worked at Anasazi and have been a powerful influence for good. All of their children have performed Native American songs and dances at numerous fundraising and community events. Ezekiel and Pauline have rallied the support of such personalities as Barbara Bush, Stephen Covey, and Steve Young to raise millions of dollars to help parents with little or no financial resources to find help for a son or daughter.
Ezekiel and Pauline's home in Mesa is
always filled with the smell of Navajo tacos and the laughter of
friends and family. Their home is a safe haven for parents,
staff, and youth from Anasazi and families from the Navajo Reservation
needing a bed or a meal during a visit to the Phoenix area. No
matter who you are, you will be treated as royalty in the Sanchez
home. Perhaps most importantly, the Sanchez family truly lives
what they teach. For these reasons, the National Parents' Day
Council is proud to honor Ezekiel and Pauline Sanchez with the
National Excellence in Parenting Award 2002.
|Carl and Marilyn Hardrick - Hartford, CT|
Carl Hardrick is the
Executive Director of the Hartford Youth Peace Initiative. Carl and
Marilyn Hardrick have not only been a parents for their own 2 children
but for 30 years have helped thousands of kids in his community of
|The Hartford Youth Peace Initiative (HYPI), founded by Carl Hardrick, brings healing and productivity to crime-ridden communities by channeling the talents and energy of former gang members in a positive direction. Hardrick's efforts to salvage the lives of inner-city youths began more than twenty years ago with outreach to the leader of a notorious gang. HYPI is now working with second- and third-generations within the city, developing former gang members and once-violent youths into ambassadors for peace and role models. Most recently, HYPI has established partnerships with city agencies and business leaders to provide educational and employment opportunities for young people who are striving to enter productive lifestyles and a pathway to a fulfilling future.||