Heroes Without Capes Awards

Healing Award

This prestigious award is given to exceptional individuals, groups, or organizations whose unwavering dedication and tireless efforts are centered on the critical mission of helping children heal from the profound and often lasting trauma caused by abuse and neglect. It stands as a powerful testament to the compassionate hearts and selfless souls who commit themselves to the crucial work of supporting these vulnerable young lives on their path to recovery and resilience.

The recipients of this award are beacons of hope in our community, offering solace and guidance to children who have endured the unimaginable. They understand that healing is not just a process but a journey, and they accompany these young survivors every step of the way, providing them with the care, support, and resources needed to rebuild their lives.

Their commitment transcends the immediate needs, encompassing a holistic approach that recognizes the complex interplay of emotional, psychological, and physical scars that abuse and neglect can inflict. These compassionate individuals and organizations work tirelessly to create safe spaces, therapeutic interventions, and nurturing environments where children can begin to mend their broken trust, rebuild their shattered spirits, and rediscover their sense of self-worth.

In a world where the impact of abuse and neglect on children’s lives cannot be underestimated, this award serves as a symbol of recognition for those who stand as guardians of healing. It inspires others to join the cause, fostering a collective determination to ensure that every child, regardless of their past, has the opportunity to experience the profound transformation of healing and regain their rightful place in a world filled with hope, love, and possibility.

The recipients of this award remind us that it is within our power as a society to help mend the broken wings of these children, offering them the chance to soar once more. Their dedication and compassion embody the belief that with the right support, every child can not only survive but also thrive, proving that even in the darkest of times, the human spirit has the remarkable capacity to heal, grow, and flourish.

Supports children after the abuse.

Helps parents/caregivers support their child.

Provides healing services.

Lupita and Ernie Navarette became foster parents in March 1997, and have continued to serve the children of our community in this way. Being a foster parent for this long is an amazing act of dedication that started with 40 hours of in-person training, along with multiple inspections and an intensive interview process. In 2008, they became therapeutic foster parents, meeting even more stringent requirements and caring for children with the potential for truly problematic behaviors.

In the course of fostering, the Navarette’s have adopted nine children from foster care. Those children were suddenly and mercifully freed from wondering who would care for them or where they would live. In their many years as foster parents, the Navarette’s have poured love and support into each child who has entered their home. They are cheerleaders for these children, and encourage them, not only to heal through therapy and different interventions, but they also encourage them to reach for their dreams by cheering for them at sporting events, musical concerts, or theatrical performances. Their home is a safe haven for children, who have been abused, or neglected, or are dealing with many sorts of trauma.

Accountability Award

This distinguished award is given to exemplary individuals, groups, or organizations that demonstrate exceptional courage and unwavering dedication in their mission to investigate and prosecute those who perpetrate harm upon our youth. It stands as a tribute to their bravery, determination, and unwavering commitment to seeking justice for the innocent, ensuring that the perpetrators of heinous acts against our youth are held accountable for their actions.

The recipients of this award are modern-day heroes, often working in the shadows to unveil the truth and expose the dark realities that afflict our youth. They navigate complex legal landscapes, confront daunting challenges, and dedicate countless hours to unraveling the mysteries surrounding cases of abuse, exploitation, or any form of harm inflicted upon young lives. Their pursuit of justice is driven by an unyielding belief in the rights and safety of every child.

Their efforts extend beyond investigation, reaching into the courtroom where they fiercely advocate for the vulnerable, presenting evidence and building compelling cases against those who would prey upon our youth. They stand as a shield, providing a voice for those who have been silenced and ensuring that the wheels of justice turn relentlessly, sending a strong message that such offenses will not be tolerated in our society.

In a world where safeguarding the innocence and well-being of our youth is paramount, this award serves as a beacon of hope, encouraging others to join the fight against those who seek to harm the most vulnerable among us. It inspires a collective resolve to create a world where our children can grow and thrive without fear, with a steadfast belief that justice will prevail, and our youth will be protected from those who would cause them harm.

The recipients of this award exemplify the courage needed to confront evil, the strength to seek truth, and the determination to ensure that the rights and safety of our youth are upheld at all costs. Their actions echo the profound belief that through courage and justice, we can create a safer, more compassionate world for generations to come.

Investigates or prosecutes interpersonal violence.

Considers the needs of the victim over prosecution.

Ensures fairness to the accused.

Tracy Miller exemplifies what it takes to hold abusers accountable. As the Bureau Chief of the Special Victims Bureau, Tracy leads a team of prosecutors at the Pima County Attorney’s Office. She does this with grace and tenacity. Her calm demeanor and strong leadership skills are felt at the monthly meetings of the multidisciplinary team at the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Her drive and determination are also visible in the courtroom as she prosecutes offenders of abuse. She is knowledgeable and approachable while being committed to doing the right thing for victims of abuse.

Tracy works many hours to prepare for her cases and demonstrates knowledge and compassion in her pursuit of Justice, empowerment, and accountability. The most remarkable aspect of her approach is how she prepares children for courtroom testimony. She is always kind and supportive, ensuring the experience will be empowering for the child. One of these children demonstrated her strength by looking her abuser in the eye every time she described what he had done to her.

Her resilience filled the courtroom that day as she stood up for herself and made sure he knew that what he did was wrong.

Compassion Award

This esteemed award is presented to outstanding individuals, groups, or organizations that tirelessly champion the needs and concerns of caregivers and professionals who are dedicated to nurturing and supporting children. It stands as a symbol of recognition for those who selflessly devote themselves to ensuring that those on the frontline of childcare and development are empowered, supported, and heard.

The recipients of this award serve as advocates for caregivers and professionals who often labor behind the scenes, dedicating their time, expertise, and energy to provide the best possible care, education, and support for our children. These caregivers and professionals play a crucial role in shaping the future of our society by nurturing the potential of the next generation, and it is the mission of the awardees to ensure that they receive the recognition and resources they deserve.

Advocacy efforts include raising awareness about the challenges faced by caregivers and professionals, whether they are educators, childcare workers, social workers, or healthcare providers. It also involves working tirelessly to address systemic issues such as burnout, inadequate resources, and insufficient training, all of which can affect the quality of care and support provided to children.

In a world where the well-being and development of children depend greatly on the dedication of caregivers and professionals, this award serves as an inspiration for others to join the cause. It fosters a collective commitment to creating an environment where those who nurture and guide our children are equipped with the necessary tools, recognition, and support to excel in their vital roles.

The recipients of this award embody the belief that by advocating for the needs of caregivers and professionals, we not only improve the lives of those who dedicate themselves to children but also enhance the overall quality of care and education that our youth receive. Their work reminds us that supporting those who care for and shape our children is an investment in the future, ensuring that each child has the opportunity to reach their full potential in a nurturing and empowering environment.

Advocates for the needs of caregivers/professionals.

Addresses how personal experience colors this work.

Seeks balance between victim and caregiver needs.

Fadwa Elabulsi has dedicated her career to serving families and children, spending the past 10 years as a kinship support navigator. Her selfless compassion for kinship caregivers is readily apparent. These families suddenly find themselves raising children who have suffered neglect and/or abuse from birth parents, rearranging their lives and plans for the future as they work to address the special needs of these innocent children.

Fadwa listens closely and with compassion, and not only makes the families aware of community resources for immediate basic needs, but she helps them navigate the systems into which they are thrust … DCS, DES, mental and behavioral health services, schooling, housing, legal guardianship, and aid for undocumented caregivers. She supports families as they work within these systems to make decisions that will impact the long-term housing and well-being for the children. She tends to emotional and social needs by facilitating support groups and accompanying caregivers to DCS meetings and court hearings. She encourages trauma-informed parent education and attends classes with them. She is the recognized expert for kinship caregivers, and brings tremendous support for those who find themselves with their children at Children’s Advocacy Center.

Safety Award

In recognition of the paramount importance of safeguarding the well-being of our most vulnerable members of society, this prestigious award is given to those individuals, groups, or organizations that tirelessly dedicate themselves to protecting children from the horrors of abuse and neglect. This award serves as a beacon of hope, a symbol of unwavering dedication, and a testament to the enduring commitment of its recipients to create a safer and more nurturing environment for the next generation.

The recipients of this award are champions of child welfare, tirelessly advocating for policies, programs, and initiatives that not only address immediate concerns but also strive to create lasting systemic changes. Their efforts encompass a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from providing direct support to children and families in crisis to shaping legislation and public awareness campaigns that raise the alarm on child abuse and neglect.

In a world where the protection of children’s rights is of paramount importance, this award acknowledges the profound impact of those who act as guardians of innocence and champions of resilience. It is a celebration of compassion, bravery, and a resolute belief in the potential of every child to thrive in a safe, nurturing, and loving environment.

The recipients of this award inspire us all to work together, transcending boundaries and differences, in the relentless pursuit of a world where no child has to endure the horrors of abuse or neglect. They remind us that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the rights and well-being of every child are safeguarded, nurtured, and protected, paving the way for a brighter, more compassionate future for generations to come.

Stands in the way of abuse.

Educates caregivers/adults.

Creates a safe space for children.

Helps others recognize/report abuse.

BACA was created by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who realized that after a child disclosed abuse, there were not services that directly addressed the safety and protection needs of the child. Despite court orders and removals of children from a perpetrator’s care, there are still gaps in safety. BACA fills these gaps by offering children 24-hour safety (as long as needed). As an organization, they stand firmly against all forms of child abuse.

Children who are seen at the Children’s Advocacy Center often share concerns about their safety. BACA helps by simply being there … outside their home, in their living room, at school, etc.

Judges even allow BACA to have a presence for children in the courthouse. They can accompany a child to court, providing strength and visible support during the court proceedings.

The child even gets their own personalized BACA biker vest embroidered with a new biker nickname.

Seeing a child feel empowered to face their perpetrator and feel less afraid is a beautiful display of bravery and courage facilitated by the BACA community. We are truly grateful for the support they provide for our community’s children and families.

Dan Gregory Memorial Award

This prestigious award, known as the ‘Dan Gregory Memorial Award,’ is established in loving memory of Dan Gregory and is bestowed upon an exceptional individual who exemplifies unwavering professionalism and an altruistic commitment to supporting child victims. (Ideally an individual who has worked at least 5 years in the field and goes above and beyond for child victims.)

Daniel Lee Gregory was an outstanding children’s advocate through his work with Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center and Casa de los Ninos. He was a volunteer for Tucson’s Victim Witness program and member of the Arizona Governor’s Commission on Service & Volunteerism for many years. He was also a member of the Pima Community College Social Services Program Advisory Committee and served on many local not-for-profit agency boards, emergency response teams and committees. Tragically he passed away in July of 2022.

This award is given in honor of his lasting impact and legacy in which he left on our community. It serves as a tribute to their tireless efforts, compassion, and selflessness in championing the rights and healing of vulnerable children in our community. Through their dedication, they not only provide crucial support and advocacy but also inspire positive change, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those they serve. This award stands as a testament to the power of empathy and the profound difference one person can make in the lives of young survivors.

Job must be clearly focused on victim services, investigation, or child welfare.

Ideally a minimum 5 years in the field and goes “above and beyond” for child victims.

Sam Dyer has the soul of a social worker and a longing and thirst for social justice. He has been working in child welfare for the past 35 years. His early career in Tucson, Arizona saw him working with Child Protective Services (now Department of Child Safety), where he investigated allegations of child abuse and neglect.

He moved to Casa de los Niños where he was the Social Work Supervisor for the Angel Nursery Crisis shelter and O’Reilly Residence for Older Children. There, Sam worked directly with victims of abuse and neglect by providing case management, visitation and training for families and staff. Sam created a Transition Planning Protocol for the children in the shelter so that when they were transitioned to another placement, it was done successfully; making sure kids were informed in advance and given the opportunity to meet with the new people who would be caring for them. He understands the importance of moving people respectfully. Sam brought this understanding to his next role when he accepted the opportunity to start a foster care program within the same agency and transitioned to Foster Care Supervisor.

Today, Sam continues his work in social work and child welfare as Executive Director at A Place To Call Home, an organization that provides family foster homes, child developmental homes, adult developmental homes, adoption services, kinship, Tribal and respite foster care placements.

Sam comes from a family of social workers, and he learned from the very best. Social work for Sam is not just a job, it is a vocation. He automatically sees the best in people-their potential instead of limitations. It is ingrained in Sam that life is best lived through the lens of social work.