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Connie Siskowski- CNN Hero in Top Ten



Palm Beach County Resident Connie Siskowski selected as a

2012 CNN Heroes Top Ten!


Your Online Daily Votes for Connie Siskowski Are Votes for Caregiving Youth!


(Boca Raton, FL) – September 25, 2012. Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD the President and Founder of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) and its Palm Beach County Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) has been named one of CNN Heroes Top Ten for 2012 and will receive a $50,000 grant to further her work. Voting for the 2012 CNN Heroes Top Hero is now open online, and the Palm Beach County resident has the opportunity to be awarded $250,000 at the special CNN Heroes ceremony on December 2, 2012 where one hero will be named “CNN Hero of the Year”. Siskowski was among more than 10,000 nominations received this year by the CNN Heroes program.


Every online vote for me by email or Facebook makes us one step closer to reaching the goal for the children of AACY,” said Siskowski. The award would make it possible for AACY to receive the significant dollars needed to ensure that more child caregivers locally and nationally will be recognized, valued and supported.

The services provided by Siskowski and her team are for children who care for family members who are chronically-ill or disabled. It extends to both students and their families for all the secondary school years. AACY’s comprehensive, needs-driven support services assist children in-and-out of school and at home. Locally, the work is in partnership with The School District of Palm Beach County. “It takes the systems of healthcare, education and the community – body, mind and spirit – to form a strong foundation of services for youth and their families who are impacted by a myriad of health conditions” continued Siskowski.


Siskowski, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, New York and Lynn universities, cared for her own grandfather as a child. The work of her team will be deemed successful when no child in the United States has to drop out of school because of family caregiving responsibilities.


CNN Heroes recognizes that just one person can make a difference and today’s heroes are “everyday people changing the world.” Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year is open online (www.cnnheroes.com) until November 28, 2012, and voters can do so up to 10 times a day, every day. The only requirements to vote are a valid email address and internet access, and there are no age restrictions to vote. Follow AACY on Facebook & Twitter and follow CNN Heroes at Facebook.com/CNNHeroes & Twitter.com/CNNHeroes and use hashtag #CNNHeroes.



About American Association of Caregiving Youth

The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) is a Florida based 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that began serving the greater Boca Raton community in 1998. Today it is the only organization of its kind in the United States for addressing the issues surrounding the silent, vulnerable and hidden population, conservatively estimated to exceed 1.4 million children, who provide care for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. Its mission is to recognize, support, and promote the awareness of these youth that are both students and family caregivers.


AACY’s model program, the CYP, works in partnership with The School District of Palm Beach County and currently serves more than 500 caregiving youth and their families in 8 area middle schools and 17 high schools. CYP prioritizes students in greatest need of services and increases their ability to remain in school through counseling, education, activities and respite while strengthening families by linking them with community services. To donate to AACY, volunteer or for more information go to www.aacy.org, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Dr. Connie Siskowski at 561-391-7401.


About CNN

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.






Commissioner Burdick presided over Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Day in Palm Beach County


West Palm Beach, FL– On Wednesday, September 5th the subcommittee of the Palm Beach County Family Caregiver Coalition held a celebration luncheon honoring grandparents raising grandchildren. There are more than 15,000 grandparents managing these responsibilities in Palm Beach County. In recognition of National Grandparents Day, Commissioner Paulette Burdick presented a first of its kind Proclamation honoring the caregivers, and designated September 5, 2012 as “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Day” in Palm Beach County. Michelle McGovern was also in attendance on behalf of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.


Subcommittee members included: American Association of Caregiving Youth, Families First of Palm Beach County, Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Morse Life, and Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service/University of Florida. “It was great to have an event that recognizes grandparents and all they do for the grandchildren in their care,” said Denise Chin Program Director of Kin Support with Families First. “They are the unsung heroes who are an inspiration to us all!”


The luncheon was held at Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service and festivities included entertainment, door prizes, and soul line dancing. More than 90 participants including grandparents, children, and community service providers attended the celebration.


For additional information and resources for grandparents raising grandchildren, please call Families First - 561-318-4224, MorseLife 561-289-8578, or GRandS Program 561-233-1742. National Grandparents Day was September 9th and is the first Sunday after Labor Day.


Pictured: (l) Ronney Wiener (MorseLife); Lisa Cunningham (PBC Cooperative Extension/UF); Connie Siskowski (American Association of Caregiving Youth); Commissioner Paulette Burdick; Judith Migdal-Mack (Legal aid Society of PBC); Denise Chin (Families First of PBC); Sue Bartolomeo (PBC Cooperative Extension/UF)




Families First is helping families learn how to become productive and successful members of their community. We have established a 22 year history of ensuring families develop resiliency to crisis situations, learning how to increase and maintain social connections, and enhance the knowledge and implementation of parenting and child development skills. Our staff works with each of our 1,300 families in Palm Beach County teaching them how to create a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for their children. Families who seek to build a better quality of life for their children benefit from the agency's six diverse programs that provide a way to reduce barriers impacting family stability. Please visit our web site at www.FamiliesFirstPBC.org.



Families First of PBC * 3333 Forest Hill Blvd * Second Floor * West Palm Beach, FL * 33406



Over 100 local dignitaries, elected officials, business, educational and religious leaders and community supporters shared their esteem and thanks to two outstanding local women who have made a difference in the lives of thousands of children throughout Palm Beach County.

At the Third Annual Back To School Breakfast held by the non-profit American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY), Karen Krumholz, Executive Director of the Spirit of Giving Network, and Stephanie Saraco, President of BASH, were honored for their commitment and continuing leadership roles in the annual county-wide Community Back to School Bash, which provides disadvantaged children with essential back to school supplies. This year’s BASH event served over 12,000 children throughout Palm Beach County and included distribution of clothing and shoes, as well as medical screenings.

Following welcoming remarks by Mark Hansen, Chairman of AACY Board of Directors, an interfaith prayer for school staff and all students as they begin the 2012-13 school year was led by Rev. Tom Tift, PhD and AACY Secretary, and Rabbi David Steinhardt of Temple B’nai Torah. Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel officially greeted the assembly and recounted her long-time affiliation with AACY and its Caregiving Youth Project, which was the beneficiary of the breakfast.

The event was highlighted by recognition of the dedication and commitment Stephanie Saraco and Karen Krumholtz have demonstrated over the year and historical background on BASH, from its initial inception over 21 years ago to today’s evolution into a community, county-wide program. Also highlighted were retrospectives from the honorees themselves, overviews of local organizations that have benefited from the BASH program, and a summary of the important message and results such community programs as the BASH initiative provide.

In making the official presentation of personally engraved crystal hearts to the recipients, Connie Siskowski, PhD, AACY president, congratulated them for their dedication and reiterated the engraving “Now the children have tools for school.”

The Caregiving Youth Project, which benefited from the proceeds of the breakfast, is an ACCY program that offers services to children who care for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. 550 CYP participants were assisted this year through the BASH program.

For more information, please contact (561) 391-7401 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Balancing Hip Hop and Caregiving- A Young Carer Raps His Story

We are very pleased to announce the launch of  The CareGiverProject YouTube channel featuring an amazing performance by critically acclaimed rap artist, Tricky P.   'Lucky' The Young Carer Rap video  highlights the important research conducted by the Vanier Institute of the Family on Young Carers. 

When we think of people providing care to adults and seniors, we tend to picture an older family  member.  Yet researchers have found that approximately 12% of young Canadians aged 12-17 are 'young carers'.  These children are caring for a family member who has an illness, a disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse.    Carers don't choose to become carers: it just happens and they have to get on with it; if they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?
Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. Children as young as six years of age are assisting parents, siblings and grandparents in ways that exceed what is typically expected.

The  research and video is intended
to bring awareness of young carers to other youth, organizations, companies and individuals alike who can acknowledge, appreciate and support their unrecognized contribution and challenges. By heightening public awareness, it is hoped that in addition to recognition, additional funding, support and resources will be made available to young carers from coast to coast.

This engaging and heartfelt
rap video is produced by Audrey Miller
Sid Lieberman and J. Frank.     Lyrics and performance by Tricky P.  and original music composed and produced by J. Frank.

Watch, share and tweet your support!

View our videos on YouTube

The CareGiverProject is a web-based public education initiative committed to increasing awareness of aging, family and caregiver issues that impact the lives of Canadians from coast to coast. The Project focus is on the development of social media tools and videos for YouTube that provide support and education to individuals, families, carers and their care recipients and to organizations doing work in this field.  To learn more about the Project or to partner in the production of a video, contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local Women to be Honored fo Leadership Roles




Karen Krumholz, Executive Director of the Spirit of Giving Network, and
Stephanie Saraco, President of BASH, to be honored at
AACY’s Third Annual Back to School Breakfast


Boca Raton, FL. More than 11,000 economically disadvantaged children in Palm Beach County will be receiving back to school supplies thanks to the leadership of two local women who will be honored at AACY’s Third Annual Back to School Breakfast on August 22. Karen Krumholz and Stephanie Saraco will receive recognition for their key leadership roles in organizing the annual Community Back to School Bash (BTSB), which for more than a decade has provided students throughout Palm Beach County with the school supplies they need.

This project would be impossible to do alone – it takes a community! Together they work with organizations, community businesses, donors and volunteers. The Community Back to School Bash now works with 70 non-profit agencies throughout the County providing the needed school supplies at distribution sites in Belle Glade, Delray Beach, Pahokee and West Palm Beach.

This year, 450 students of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) will be among those who receive supplies. According to AACY, these student-caregivers and their families are most appreciative of the school supplies they receive because it helps to “level the playing field” with their non-caregiving peers as they strive to achieve academically.

In addition to honoring Krumholz and Saraco, the AACY Back to School Breakfast program will include an interfaith prayer for school staff and all students, including caregiving youth and their families, as they begin the 2012-13 school year.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 22
                7:30 am – 9:00 am

WHERE: Lakeside Terrace
                7880 Glades Road
                Boca Raton, Florida 33434

WHY: Proceeds of the breakfast will benefit the
Caregiving Youth Project, a program of AACY
that offers services to children who care for ill, injured,
elderly or disabled family members

Breakfast tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Please contact (561) 391-7401, www.aacy.org or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to become a sponsor, purchase a ticket or for more information.


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