St. Louis Children’s Hospital Announces 2012 Advocacy Award Winners
Senator Roy Blunt and Judge Jimmie Edwards honored for work to improve children’s lives
Whether as a means of providing hope to less fortunate children, or as a direct investment in the future of pediatric medicine, this year’s Advocacy Awards honor individuals who recognize the link between education and healthcare.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital presents its 2012 Advocacy Awards to United States Senator Roy Blunt and Judge Jimmie Edwards. Established in 1994, the awards recognize local and state leaders who leverage their positions, resources, and influence to do what’s right for kids.
|Pictured: St. Louis Children's Hospital President Lee Fetter, Senator Roy Blunt, Judge Jimmie Edwards, St. Louis Children's Hospital board chair Kelvin Westbrook|
United States Senator Roy Blunt: State Advocate of the Year
Senator Blunt’s history with St. Louis Children’s Hospital stretches back to his first days as a member of the House of Representatives. However, his dedication to issues involving children spans all 30 years of his political career.
“As a father of four and grandfather of six, I know young people are the future of this country. We must provide better access to good quality, affordable care for Americans of all ages.”
During his years in the House, Senator Blunt was on the Appropriations Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, both of which exercise jurisdiction over the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program. He co-sponsored the CHGME reauthorization legislation and has always supported full funding for the program. He also was the Co-Chair of the House Education Caucus, sponsored legislation to require healthcare plans to continue to include dependent children through age 25, and supported legislation establishing a nationwide AMBER alert system for missing children.
Since the citizens of Missouri elected Roy Blunt to the United States Senate in 2010, he has continued his commitment to healthcare and issues important to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Missouri’s Medicaid program. He co-sponsored the CHGME reauthorization legislation, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, prioritized funding for CHGME, helping to prevent further cuts. Senators Blunt and McCaskill also coordinated Missouri’s congressional delegation’s efforts to protect Missouri’s provider tax from proposed cuts and secured the signatures of the entire delegation in support of the program.
Judge Jimmie Edwards: Community Advocate of the Year
Judge Jimmie Edwards has served as juvenile court judge in St. Louis since 1992. For more than 18 years, Judge Edwards watched as a stream of “broken” children entered his courtroom. They were in limbo between adulthood and a structured school environment because they were considered “incorrigible”: they’d broken laws, disrupted classrooms or violated public school safety codes. Some serious infraction had removed these children from their public school and funneled them into a complex system where education was unlikely and graduation seemed completely out of reach. These were the children Judge Edwards heard from daily, and it was only a matter of time before they ended up back in Edwards’ courtroom on more serious charges, and with less hope.
In 2009, with the help of myriad community partners, Edwards created Innovative Concept Academy (ICA) in the abandoned Blewett Middle School on Cass Avenue as an alternative school for juvenile offenders. Innovative Concept Academy is the country's first school run by the court system, and Judge Edwards’s idea is working. While mandatory extra-curricular programs keep kids off the street and out of trouble, 45 community partners offer ICA students the option of a variety of enriching activities Including golf lessons, chess instruction, classical music, creative writing and ballroom dance.
"Most youth just need structure and someone to care about them," he said. "If you give young people a sense of worth and value than they will have the motivation to succeed because they feel like they belong in society."
The school enrolls up to 375 students and also provides resources such as medical and psychological care to juveniles between the ages of 10 and 18. Since opening, 18 students have earned a high school diploma or G.E.D, and two have gone to college. “Disadvantaged youth want to be successful as much as any other children," Edwards explains.
Judge Edwards has received national recognition for his work. As recently as December 21, The Today Show featured Innovative Concept Academy as part of a three day series called "Getting to the Heart of Christmas." Judge Edwards was also named a "Hero of the Year" by People Magazine.
About St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Founded in 1879, St. Louis Children's Hospital is one of the premier children's hospitals in the United States. It serves not just the children of St. Louis, but children across the world. The hospital provides a full range of pediatric services to the St. Louis metropolitan area and a primary service region covering six states. As the pediatric teaching hospital for Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Children's Hospital offers nationally recognized programs for physician training and research. For more information, visit www.StLouisChildrens.org, or visit us on Facebook and @STLChildrens on Twitter.