Every year, the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan recognizes advocates who make outstanding contributions to school-based health centers. This year, we received over a dozen nominations from some of the most dedicated supporters of school-based health. They ranged from volunteers and funders, to practitioners and CEOs.
Apple Winner Co-Winners: Mark and Christine Fazakerley; and Linda Juarez
Mark and Christine Fazakerley are loyal advocates for the health and wellness of the community they call home. A few years ago, they noted a critical need for health care in Oakridge Public Schools where their children had graduated and their grandchildren now attend. They worked with the schools, helped to assess the needs, and provided private funding for a community health worker. This initial philanthropic investment spurred a movement to develop a school-based health center which opened in December 2015. The Fazakerley family was a key supporter as well as a catalyst for generating community funding for the construction of the clinic. The compassion, vision, advocacy, and philanthropy of the Fazakerley family was key to the launch of this health center that now serves hundreds of students with medical, dental, and behavioral health care.
Linda Juarez is a champion for school-based health care. She leads a team of 180 employees at Hackley Community Care which operates two school-based health centers, serves four satellite schools, and supports additional behavioral health centers. When Oakridge Public Schools Superintendent Tom Livezey was looking to bring health services to his students, Linda and her team joined the effort, brought expertise to the project, and helped to rally community support. Before long the two were celebrating the opening of the Oakridge Teen Health Center at Oakridge Middle and High School campus. The area had been a healthcare desert, with not one medical or dental practice in the school district and no public transportation to travel to care. These factors left students without access to care. The clinic now provides medical, dental, and behavioral health services to students in a safe and welcoming environment. Linda’s strong leadership and care for the students has really made a difference in this community.
“Each time someone stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others… he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” – Robert Kennedy