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Caregivers, parents honored for contributions

March 3, 2016

Article posted on Eagle-Tribune's website

See past event page on our website for photos and video!

Gov. Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Children’s Trust/Prevent Child Abuse New Hampshire presented 29 awards to parents and caregivers, to honor and recognize extraordinary individuals renowned for going above and beyond. Honorees and their families gathered in the New Hampshire State House in Concord for the 9th Annual Unsung Hero Parent Recognition Awards ceremony last week.

"Every kid needs to know that they’ve got a grown-up in their corner," Hassan said. "I’m looking out at a whole bunch of adults who are those grown-ups."

Local honorees include:

* Maryellen Costa, of Pelham, was nominated by her daughter Laurie Costa. According to the nomination, Maryellen has provided for five children, but fought especially hard for her daughter Amy, who died of Aicardi Syndrome, a rare disorder. Maryellen’s devotion to Amy, in addition to her resilience and compassion, has been an inspiration to her remaining children and to many parents in the Aicardi Syndrome community.

* Joe and Donna Goulet, of Salem, were nominated by Cindy Jury. According to the nomination, Joe and Donna have been foster parents for many years now. They eventually adopted four children, and when a step-sibling recently entered the foster care system, they took on the 4-year-old as well. Although finances and health can be challenging for Joe and Donna, they both continue to work and spend many hours volunteering.

* Dawn Holdsworth, of Pelham, was nominated by Daniela Duyck. Holdsworth is a foster parent and has children of her own. According to the nomination, she is currently fostering a 5-year-old who has had many adverse experiences which have led to behavioral challenges. Due to these challenges, it was very difficult for him to find a home. He has now been with Holdsworth for two years, and during this time Holdsworth has worked to make the child feel secure and loved.

* Dawn Nelson, of Derry, was nominated by Alisa Macone and Marsha Forand. According to the nomination, Nelson is currently helping raise her two nieces and a nephew. The children have had a very difficult past, and Nelson has provided them with a safe place. She has accessed many resources for the children. She is also a support to the children at Head Start, as she arranged for 52 children to receive new jackets from Walmart.