Longtime Charlotte resident Dr. Stephen Mann was one of six inspiring individuals recognized at the KidSafe Collabora-tive 30th Annual Outstanding Service Awards luncheon April 4. Held during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the awards raise awareness and show appreciation to those on the front lines, and behind the scenes, who strength-en the community’s response to child abuse and neglect.
Mann was honored for his outstanding volunteer service to the Janet S. Munt Family Room, a parent child center lo-cated in the Old North End of Burlington. The Family Room supports connection for parents and families; provides ed-ucation; promotes physical, social, emotional, and linguistic development in children and nurtures a vibrant and di-verse community. Started in 1988 by the Visiting Nurse Association, the program is named after Janet S. Munt, a pio-neering social worker and Vermont senator who advocated tirelessly for the needs of low-income families, especially women and children.
Family Room Executive Director Josh Miller introduced Mann at the awards luncheon. Noting the invaluable resource Mann has been to the organization, Miller said, “He understands our population and guides us in ways we can work with families more effectively.”
Mann volunteers weekly during Family Play for very young children as well as other programs. He undertakes such tasks as making a hot lunch for up to 80 children and parents, teaching parents to garden, and working with fathers in parenting classes and prenatal dad workshops.
In addition, Mann introduced the idea of taking family portraits during the Family Room annual dinners. Not only meaningful for the families, the portraits have helped build awareness for the center. They are displayed at multiple locations including Burlington International Airport, All Souls Interfaith and Burlington City Hall.
Mann’s award was presented by KidSafe Executive Director Sally Borden for “spending countless hours supporting families with young children, serving as a mentor, gardener, cook, photographer and honoring their experiences, as well as advocating on behalf of Parent Child Centers.”
In accepting his award, Mann spoke of his connection to the Janet S. Munt Family Room, saying “I am privileged to be part of the community.”
In addition to his volunteer activities and photography, Mann writes and gardens at the home he shares with his wife Nell Ishee, who is a past recipient of a KidSafe Lifetime Achievement Award. Together, they have three children and five grandchildren.
Other 2019 award recipients include Dr. Joseph F. Hagan Jr., Shelly McSweeney, Julia Conner, Sr. Officer Nikki Moyer and Beth Wagner. For more information about the awardees, visit www.kidsafevt.org.