February 12, 2013

Student Linda James Receives Prestigious New York State African-American Public Service Award

GVC student, Linda C. JamesGVC-Rochester student Linda C. James has received the 2013 New York State African American Public Service Award.

James is the "epitome of public service," according to New York State Senator Joseph E. Robach. "She displays hard work, dedication, perseverance and a genuine compassion for all that she encounters."

A mother of two daughters, one of whom was brutally murdered in 1991, she became the caregiver of two of her five grandchildren, who have been in James' care since their release from the hospital when they were approximately five months of age. They are now 23 and 25 years of age.

She has devoted more than 15 years to the Family Resource Center. During this time, James has been more than creative with her programming as she has collaborated with the University of Rochester/Strong to develop an outcome-based training manual/handbook as well as facilitated a 15-week mentor training curriculum designed to train grandparents/kinship caregivers to mentor other grandparents/kinship caregivers in the community. This mentoring program is currently being utilized in the Rochester area. She has also been a dedicated advocate in support of grandparents' rights. James, along with the grandparents in her group, has been to Albany and Washington, D.C. on numerous occasions to rally for their cause.

James serves on a multitude of boards including the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights, which was established as a coalition of concerned grandparents, citizens, and agencies united to create one powerful voice for advocacy and to network with groups throughout the nation that share the same goals.

James has been the recipient of various awards throughout the years. These awards have been indicative of her commitment, leadership and vision that she has demonstrated throughout the years. James received a recognition award from former Governor Pataki in 1998 for her outstanding contributions to support grandparents and other relatives. In Washington, D.C. on Feb. 28, 2007 she was awarded the Kinship Advocacy Award by the Child Welfare League of America at their National Conference for demonstrating exemplary work in the area of Kinship Care. In November 2011 she received the HERO Award from the New York State Care giving and Respite Coalition.

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