CCKids’ commitment to excellence reveals itself in GEM Awards

Posted 11/3/23

Communities Connected for Kids congratulates and Larry Olson and Lawanda Reason...

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CCKids’ commitment to excellence reveals itself in GEM Awards


ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Communities Connected for Kids congratulates and Larry Olson and Lawanda Reason for winning this quarter’s Going the Extra Mile – or GEM – Award.

Olson and Reason won the award, an honor given to staff and caregivers for excellence in service to children and families in Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast, for the period spanning July through September.

Reason, a case manager in St. Lucie County, received the award in the Emerald Division, which covers case-management staff. She was nominated by her colleague, Lacey Hamrick, for her generosity to one of the children on her caseload.

At the beginning of the school year, one of the children on Reason’s caseload had shoes with broken soles. When she asked him what type of shoes he wanted, he asked for a pair Jordans.

“Lawanda didn’t think twice about buying them for him,” Hamrick said. “She used her hard-earned money to provide this child with the shoes he wanted.

“She has a heart of gold.”

Olson, one of only two CCKids IT specialists, received his GEM award in the Ruby Division, which recognizes the work of administrative and program staff. He was nominated by multiple people, including the entire training department.

Olson has consistently been a source of support for the training department despite multiple moves, challenging situations, and changing equipment needs.

Most recently, a technical glitch threatened to prevent trainees from completing a very important test and delay their start in case management. Olson came in, solved all of the problems and ensured a smooth, calm, testing environment for trainees.

“Larry willingly took on the additional tasks involved with the move of our HQ office,” said Tammy Tappan, CCKids Information Systems Manager. “By doing this work, he clearly worked outside of his ‘normal’ job duties to ensure that the new HQ office was set up properly, while also saving CCKids the cost of hiring an outside contractor for much of the work.

Olson took on yet another additional task when CCKids discontinued its contract with the vendor who maintained the agency’s intranet and internal systems. He learned coding and special systems and is maintaining those systems until a more long-term solution is found, Tappan said.

CCKids’ Board of Directors will recognize Olson and Reason during its November Board meeting. Each employee will receive a $100 bonus and a plaque.

We are happy to take nominations from the community. If you know a CCKids employee who has gone above and beyond, let us know. Click the link to the nomination form.

CCKids, Communities Connected for Kids, children, foster, adopt