This month, we honored two staff members with the 8th annual Irene Jordan Award. We give this award annually as a way of honoring staff members who exemplify the grace, compassion, and commitment to client service that Irene provided through her work over her twenty-one years of service.
The award was established when Irene retired in 2015 and is given on an annual basis. Sadly, Irene passed away in 2016. This award helps us keep her legacy and memory alive and embedded within the fabric of our organization.
This year we chose to have two recipients because both team members received so much compelling support from colleagues. Congratulations to Cynthia Rivers and Amy Simms. We are so grateful for you both and your commitment to supporting every child, every family, every step of the way.
- I nominate Cynthia Rivers, as she is a dedicated member of the team and it shows in everything she does. If I need something from her, she responds in a timely manner and does her best to fulfill my request. Not only is she efficient in her normal job, but she is also a dedicated member of the diversity committee. She provides insightful input in every meeting and is always willing to take the lead.
- In my brief time at Paths for Families thus far, I have found that Cynthia Rivers truly approaches and embodies her work with grace, compassion, and commitment. I have been in awe of her enthusiastic, yet gentle spirit and proactive nature, as I have been able to witness in the DEI committee and during trainings.
- Cynthia Rivers is always so willing to help with projects. Her attitude is upbeat, and her creativity is amazing. She adds substantive comments to our discussions about adoption and clinical issues, taking the time and courage to “step outside the box.” She has magical power-point formatting skills. Her contributions to equity work are invaluable and they come from both her heart and her head. She is wonderful to work with and I always know that I can count on her.
- I would like to nominate Amy Simms for the Irene Jordan award. Amy goes above and beyond to support our adoptive families through the really hard process of adopting, managing a lot of emotions of a lot of different people. Amy also is always willing and able to lend a hand to help out everyone on the DIP team when the need arises.
- Having known Irene personally, I feel I have a unique perspective when selecting someone for this award. If you knew Irene, a few words would come to mind…calm, ethical, genuine, gentle. These are also words that come to mind when I think of Amy. Amy is “spaceship command” within DIP…she is consistently calm and ready to take control of any situation that comes DIP’s way. She is always emphasizing the need for us to do what is right, even when it’s hard…such as upholding our race policies within the program to ensure expectant and birth parents have choice and mirrors for their children with families of color. Amy is authentic and real…what you see is what you get. And what you get is someone who will advocate and support waiting families during a difficult time, and someone who will celebrate and guide when it’s time for placement. And finally, she is gentle and compassionate when either calling with the news “you’ve been matched” or with the news “ the expectant mom chose to parent.” Amy Simms embodies Irene’s spirit and we are fortunate to have her at Paths for Families.
- I would like to nominate Amy Simms for the Irene Jordan Award. From the moment Amy has joined our team she has approached her work with both heart and mind. She consistently goes above and beyond, managing the emotional needs of nearly 100 hopeful adoptive parents, a challenge that has intensified by the current circumstance of fewer babies being placed for adoption. She meets with families during their despair and during their happiest moments of their lives, and she does so with sensitivity and thoughtfulness each and every time. Despite these challenges, Amy consistently places the well-being of the vulnerable individuals, often the children, at the forefront of her decision making. She truly has an unwavering commitment to ethics and doing what’s right, even when it demands additional effort on her part.
Perhaps most notably, Amy has added the title of “command center” among her team. This moniker is a testament to her exceptional organizational skills, foresight, and problem-solving abilities. Amy consistently holds the quickly changing information, orchestrates thae moving pieces with precision, thinks ahead, and resolves challenges. She is the engine driving our team, ensuring we function smoothly and cohesively. She is also a compassionate friend, a great referral for wine, a surprisingly good dancer, and an empathetic coworker to vent to at the end of a long week. I can’t think of anyone more deserving to win this award.