STUART — Communities Connected for Kids congratulates the year’s first Topaz Award recipients – Martin County caregivers Jacqueline and Brian “Aaron” Johnson.
The Johnsons are only the third to receive the Topaz Award, a recent expansion of the Going the Extra Mile – or GEM – award, which highlights extraordinary contributions of CCKids staff, case management and foster parents.
They are foster parents to twin 2-year-old boys who were having a difficult time reconnecting with their mother, said Martin County Case Manager Supervisor Mary Altiery, who nominated the couple for the award.
“On Thanksgiving, the foster family opened their home to the mother and invited her to come to dinner so she could spend the holiday with her boys,” Altiery said.
Then, just before Christmas, Altiery said she received a request from the couple.
“They wanted permission to have the mother spend the night on Christmas Eve so she could be there in the morning when the boys woke up,” she said.
Altiery, herself a past recipient of a GEM Award, got permission from the courts for the visit to take place, and the family spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together.
The Johnsons continue to support the mother and her children and leads through the example of co-parenting, a biological/foster parent partnership that is now the model in the state of Florida, Altiery said.
“Jackie and Aaron represent the values and mission of Communities Connected for Kids as well as what it truly means to be foster parents,” she said.