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Healthy Beginnings honors ‘Champions for Children’


The 2014 Champions for Children Luncheon, presented by PacificSource Health Plans was held Wednesday at the Riverhouse Convention Center. Over 250 guests attended. The Master of Ceremonies were Renee Nelson and Bob Shaw from KTVZ NewsChannel 21.

Healthy Beginnings is a “21 Cares for Kids” partner.

The event is an annual fundraiser/friendmaker for Healthy Beginnings but it also provides a unique forum to celebrate local Champions for Children.

This year, eight worthy individuals were nominated.

Nominees included: Amanda Gow of Big Brothers Big Sisters; William (Bill) Reeley; President of Softball of the Little League Board; Bridget Wise, Bend La Pine School Librarian; Dara Pearson, Family Support Worker for Saving Grace; Diane (Dina) Boswell, Family Support Worker for Healthy Families of the High Desert; Linda Walker, Board Member and volunteer with Neighbor Impact and Head Start; Heather Randolph, 2 nd Grade Teacher at Juniper Elementary; and Vicki Ertle, recently retired Executive Director of Family Resource Center.

“Central Oregon is fortunate to have many Champions and today we want to acknowledge eight individuals nominated for our 2014 Champion for Children Award. Each one of these Champions is deserving in their own right – each one has touched the lives of countless children” explained Holly Remer during the program.

Vicki Ertle was selected as the recipient for this year’s Champion for Children. During her acceptance speech, Vicki shared with the audience the importance of this recognition, “as it comes from my peers,” and also expressed the value of a screening program like Healthy Beginnings and how important services for young children meant to the community.

This year’s Champions for Children Luncheon is expected to generate over $30,000 in sponsorship and donations, with the proceeds supporting children and families in the community who can attend any one of the eighteen community screening clinics Healthy Beginnings offers throughout Central Oregon at no cost to the family.

“This event is unique in that it allows us to really tell our story and share our program results with interested community members. Thanks to such great support from volunteers and the community, this event continues to grow and improve every year as it provides an avenue to showcase the importance of early childhood screenings and services,” shared Holly.

Healthy Beginnings, a unique program available only in Central Oregon, works to assure parents that their children are developing appropriately or if needed, the program makes referrals for in-depth evaluation and further treatment. Parenting information and community resources are provided free as well. Every family attending a Healthy Beginnings screening receives extensive information on the health and development of their child.

To learn more about Healthy Beginnings, visit our website at where you will find a full listing of screening dates and cities as well as detailed information about our program, volunteer, and donation opportunities. Community links to additional services can also be found on our website or call 541.383.6357 to donate or to volunteer.

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