Project Bright Lights

The 2022 Project Bright Lights is closed for nominations .

Read the inspiring tributes below – a wide variety of professional and personal stories!

2022 Project Bright Lights Honor Roll

Thank you to everyone who made donations to
NYS-AIMH in honor of Project Bright Lights nominees

Project Bright Lights recognizes people who are bright lights in the lives of young children.

Nominations have closed for 2022. The amazing tributes below are posted for you to read, admire and be inspired!

Amazing Bright Lights and their amazing tributes.

Read the 2022 tributes below to see the bright lights – we know you will admire their focus, feel their warmth and support their shine.

Aman, Anowara

Mothers for Advocacy & Awareness (MAA)

Anowara Aman is a Mental Health Advocate and a Parent Educator. Her USA-based non-profit MAA, helps south Asian mothers overcome cultural and language barriers.

Apuzzie, Denzel

Child Care Aide/Safe Horizon's Emergency Domestic Violence Shelters

Denzel Apuzzie, a Child Care Aide at one of Safe Horizon’s emergency domestic violence shelters, is a Bright Light for children impacted by trauma.

Astuto, Antoinette

Visitation Specialist

Not only is Antoinette kind and compassionate in her work with children, she also supports her colleagues, in ways both practical and caring

Barna, Jessica

Parent Coach/ Power of Two 

Jessica has made a difference in the lives of all the families she has worked with, she has shown Caregivers how to be more nurturing, follow a child's lead and how to avoid frightening behaviors.

Bazinet, Christina

LPN at Bornhava - Specialized Pre-School

Christina is a very caring and kind professional, ready for any medical emergency, remaining calm and nurturing for each child. She advocates for all children, and trains staff about any medical needs

Beale-Gleason, Amy

LCSW-R

Amy has been a bright light in the lives of countless infants, young children and their families, as well as the people she has supervised and mentored over the years

Bender, Wendy

Executive Director

Wendy has led NYS-AIMH from a small part-time organization offering memberships and the Endorsement into becoming a professional organization that offers a variety of services to its members

Bourdon, Tracy

Tender Hearts Daycare

Tracy has been working with young children for the majority of her life. She teaches the kids so much at a young age.

Cash, Michelle

Infant Room Teacher / Agri-Business Child Development

When Michelle Cash walks into a room and smiles, everyone’s day is transformed. Michelle has been shining her brilliant light into the lives of the infants and toddlers of NYS farm working families

Cespedes, Adela

Learning Together with Love

We would like to acknowledge all the efforts Adela Cespedes has committed to providing quality learning experiences. Nos gustaría reconocer todos los esfuerzos a los que Adela Cespedes se ha comprome

Cohen-Johnson, AMichelle

Rochester Childfirst Network 

AMichelle is a Bright Light for every child, parent and staff member she encounters.

Conners, Melissa

Home Visitor Program Supervisor/Healthy Families/BHSN

Missy is a very special woman, she cares deeply for all children and new families, especially the ones living in her community .

Correa, Annmarie

Program Manager-Healthy Families

Annmarie continually produces excellent outcomes in her program including prenatal care and postpartum visit compliance, immunizations, lead screening and well child visits.

Cummings Kupka, Debbie

Visitation Specialist - SPCC

Debbie demonstrates caring and kindness for the families she works with. She strives to create a safe space during foster care visitation for young children.

Curioso-Vilchez, Gisella

Bilingual Spanish/English SLP

Gisella’s personal mission is to promote literature and encouraging reading activities in the Latino community, and to foster better parent-child interaction. Gisella continues working in Early Inte

DelGiudice, Rebecca

Infant Toddler Mental Health Consultant

Rebecca's light shines from within and brightens the world. Not only is she conscientious and caring but she is passionate about the work she does to help young children

DeVoe, Courtney

Education and Disabilities Specialist/Early Head Start

Courtney can brighten up anyone's day. Whether she is greeting them at the door, playing with them in the classroom or if you stop by her office, you will leave feeling better.

Edwards, Jasmine

Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator

Jasmine is so full of passion, compassion, and love for what she does. I have witnessed first hand her ability to connect with young children and be a vehicle toward healing.

Elliott, Leah

SPCC Family Trauma Intervention Program

Leah is a champion for children everywhere. She inspires everyone around her to slow down, be curious, and lead with empathy and compassion.

Escorbores, Yanery

Hope of the Future Daycare

We would like to acknowledge all the efforts that Yanery Escorbores has committed to providing quality learning experiences.

Fitzgibbons, Carol

Mom, Teacher, Mentor, Grandma

Carol Fitzgibbons has been a personal and professional bright light in young children's lives for many years!

Fitzgibbons, Sarah

SPCC

Sarah’s passion for infants and children isn’t just part of her job, but is so clearly her life’s work.

Gardner, Christina

Lead Teacher/ New Day Children's Center

Mrs. Gardner is one of the brightest lights I have had the pleasure of working with for over 32 years. Her classroom always allows endless opportunities for discovery and imaginations to take over.

Gillette, Stephanie

Program Supervisor, Healthy Families Jefferson County

Stephanie has been with our Healthy Families program since 2017, beginning as a home visitor and now as the program supervisor. Along with supervising five Family Specialists, she continues to support

Gismervik, Amy

Working Mom

Amy has continued to amaze me with her positive attitude with her newborn son Arlo ,now almost a year old.

Goetz, Andrea

Chief Administrative Officer, Child & Family Division, Beacon Health Options

Andrea is an exceptional human being who has an open heart and always makes time for those around her.

Goralczyk, Meeghan

Moriah Central School/School Psychologist

Meeghan is a literal 'bright light' in the lives of young ones in her school. She is easy to talk to, open-minded, kind, and sensitive to their needs.

Greene, Karen

Family Specialist, Healthy Families Jefferson County

Karen’s belief in providing a strong, healthy, and nurturing foundation for children is evident by the reliable, consistent support she provides to the caregivers she partners with.

Hobbs, Brenden

Society for the Protection and Care of Children

In his work with children and families, Brenden brings compassion and empathy to the encounter. He supports strong parent child relationships.

Joy, Arlene

FSS HF Home Visitor

Arline embraces families first promoting happy and healthy families.  FAMILIES LOVE ARLINE!!!

Kliman, Sarah

Family Trauma Intervention Program/SPCC

Sarah provides reflective supervision that supports service providers. She also works with children and families who are dealing with deep and devastating trauma.

Lantigua, Altagracia

Little Treasures Daycare

We would like to acknowledge all the efforts Altagracia Lantigua has committed to providing quality learning experiences. Nos gustaría reconocer todos los esfuerzos a los que Altagracia Lantigua se h

Larisa, Ali

Family Specialist, Healthy Families Jefferson County

Ali’s eagerness to ensure children have a healthy foundation makes her a BRIGHT LIGHT to our program, the families and children we support, and our community!

Liquori, Laurisa

SPCC Therapeutic Visitation Program

Laurisa is a therapist working to support families working toward reunification with their children. She enables children to give voice to their thoughts

Lyckland, Lisa Marie

Artist

Lisa Marie uses her artistry to help support kids and parents whenever she can. At the onset of the pandemic, she showed up for her community through collecting donations made in exchange for upliftin

McDaniel, Bernadette

HealthySteps National Ambassador, HealthySteps Specialist, Project LAUNCH Coordinator at Ellis Medical Group

Bernadette supports countless moms through their pregnancies with her invaluable counsel and mentoring -- promoting physical health, mental health and environmental safety.

McGinnis, Megan

Speech Pathologist

Megan always goes out of her way to put children first, with a smile on her face, no matter how her day is going or what personal stress she is under.

McGonigle, RobinAnn

Mindful Parenting Matters LLC 

 RobinAnn McGonigle is a professor of psychology at Adelphi University who created a number of courses which will enhance the field of children and families, especially those experiencing trauma. Rob

Morgenstern, Michele

Family Specialist, Healthy Families Jefferson County

Michele has a passion for helping families and children, which is evident in the relationships she develops with them and her desire to learn more.

Morrison, Donna

Deputy Executive Director, TGCW

Donna has dedicated herself to the vision of inclusion, equity, social- emotional learning and emotionally responsive practice for the 15 years I have known her

Morrow, Lindsey

Family Specialist, Healthy Families Jefferson County

Lindsey’s calm, curious, and reflective demeanor will ensure her BRIGHT LIGHT continues to shine in our program, with the families and children we support, and throughout our community!

Murphy, Lolly

Social Worker/WIHD

Lolly has been with the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) for over 10 years in the child welfare program as a therapist. She is an exceptional clinician with incredible expertise in p

Naula, Sonia

Solesita Daycare

On behalf of all of us on the Grand Street Settlement EHS-CCP team, we would like to acknowledge all the efforts that Sonia Naula has committed to providing quality learning experiences.

Perez, Ida

Ibero Early Childhood Services

SPCC's Mary Ellen Institute trainers had the honor of working together with the early childhood center staff and leadership at Ibero exploring what matters most to the social emotional health of very

Ramirez, Yudelka

Family Peer Advocate/Child Center of New York

Yudelka has walked alongside countless families to provide peer support. She is a beacon of hope to families with a child who has a new diagnosis as she walks them through the EI/CPSE systems from fir

Rivera, Alexandra

Narcisa Luz Del Saber Group

We would like to acknowledge all the efforts that Alexandra Rivera has committed to providing quality learning experiences

Rubenstein EdD, Bonnie

 Department Chair, Warner School- University of Rochester

Dr. Rubenstein leads the Department of Counseling & Human Development. She is  devoted to teaching and preparing future school and mental health counselors -

Samples, Deandre

Parent Coach/Power of Two

Deandre is an Infant/Toddler Coach who currently works with foster and community families implementing the ABC Program (Attachment & Bio-Behavioral Catch Up), a program that helps Caregivers

Schwietert Collazo, Julie

Cofounder and Director/Immigrant Families Together

Julie saw the need a few years ago for a then grass roots movement to unite the young families who were separated at the US border.

Scott, Christy

Director of Cobleskill Campus Child Care Center

Ms. Scott is a bright light to the center each and every day, welcoming families, engaging with children, coordinating staff and supervising both practicum and interns.

Smith, Megan

Society for the Protection and Care of Children – Rochester NY

Megan Smith and the staff at SPCC work tirelessly on behalf of the children.

Snyder, Ashley

Society for the Protection and Care of Children

Ashley Snyder has worked for SPCC since 2018, and has been a bright light in the lives of so many children and families through her various roles

Staff, Rochester Childfirst Network

Childcare services - 6 weeks to 12 years old

The staff at RCN has been such a bright light for our family the last few years. They greet us with smiles, joy and patience and walk alongside us with calm curiosity.

Taylor, Martha

Wonderful World of Kids

Your love and incredible drive to provide children with nurturing, exciting learning environments is one of a kind.

Wolcott, Lana

Ibero American Action League. Inc

Lana has provided children, families and teachers coping strategies during some of the hardest and most challenging time in a child's life.

All nominees were made aware of their nomination and approved it to be featured on the NYS-AIMH website and other social media. There was no limit to how many people one person can nominate.

2021 “Everyday Magic”
Coloring Book

Featuring the 2021 Project: Bright Lights
Nominees and magical words from their tributes

Organizational NYS-AIMH Members

We welcome all organizations that share our mission of supporting the mental health of young children.

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