Those honored with Donley Award help local children
A dentist who has volunteered her time to provide free dental screenings to more than 600 Lehigh Valley women and children in need, was one of the honorees at the 23rd annual Donley Awards, held April 13 at DeSales University Center in Center Valley.
Dr. Deborah Campbell received one of the awards presented by Community Services for Children for public service that benefits children.
“I am so honored,” she said. “When I started dental screenings for Head Start, I didn’t have any idea the impact it would have on both the children and me. These kids touch my heart.”
Campbell, who works at Lehigh Valley Health Network, has been giving exams to pregnant women and children up to age 5 at the CSC’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs since 2013. Campbell also visits Lehigh Valley classrooms six times a year to provide dental care and oral hygiene education to students.
Through a Lehigh Valley Health Network Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children dental grant, Campbell also trained more than 200 Head Start and Early Head Start staff to improve their skills in oral health education.
Also receiving an award were philanthropists Dave and Kathy Leber.
The couple chaired a capital campaign called SafeStart, raising $2.7 million for CSC’s specialized Early Head Start program that provides a classroom setting for infants and toddlers impacted by drugs and alcohol.
“We strongly believe in education,” Kathy Leber said. “And we love what CSC is doing to help the little ones in need.”
Kathy Leber is active in the Cabinet for Women United, a United Way group dedicated to improving the lives of local women and children. In 2013, the group honored her as Philanthropist of the Year.
The Lebers also support and volunteer at the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, where they have established the Safety Net Effort, an emergency relief fund that helps struggling families with car or household repairs.
The couple raise funds for the Krysta Hankee Memorial Fund, which promotes organ and tissue donation and provides education grants and gas cards for medical travel, and support Community Bike Works Earn-a-Bike program.
The third award went to the Junior League of the Lehigh Valley, an organization focused on improving health and reducing the education gap among children in low-income communities.
“What an honor and a privilege,” said Alison Zavatone, league president, as she accepted the award.
She said the group is anchored by 60 active women who are passionate about educational disparity among children.
The league’s Kids in the Kitchen program teaches students about healthy diet and exercise and is held monthly at Calypso Elementary School, Bethlehem, and Ritter Elementary School, Allentown. The success of the program inspired Kids in the Garden, which will be launched at area schools over the next three years. Through creating school gardens, children will learn how to grow their own food and include fresh ingredients in their meals.
The league also partners with elementary schools and the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley reading programs at South Bethlehem elementary schools, STEAM summer enrichment programs and the Hi 5! kindergarten registration program.
Community Services for Children provides early learning and child care support services to young children and their parents/guardians, low-income families and child care providers.
Among the services the center provides are Child Care Information Services of Lehigh County, Head Start and Early Head Start of the Lehigh Valley and a science camp for preschoolers with the Da Vinci Science Center.
The Donley Awards are named in honor of the late Inez and Edward Donley, who helped to build KidsPeace and supported children’s causes, including endowing the first full-time chair of pediatrics at Lehigh Valley Hospital and aiding in the creation of the Early Head Start/Safe Start Center for abused infants and toddlers, now called the Donley Family Infant Center.