Ahren's Playground Safety Advocate of the Year Award

Ahren's Playground Safety Advocate of the Year Award

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) declares National Playground Safety Week each April as a time to focus on children’s outdoor play environments.1 Appreciation for an individual who exemplifies the care and concern for children by helping to keep our nation’s playgrounds safe is given in the annual presentation of the Ahren’s Playground Safety Advocate of the Year Award. The award was first given in 2002.2

Recipients of the annual award are:

2002 - Dr. Frances Wallach; Founding member of the National Playground Safety Institute. Fran was instrumental in developing and guiding the National Playground Safety Institute and the National Program for Playground Safety as an active board member.3

2003 - Lester Chuck; Former Facilities Director for the Hawaii Public Schools. Lester was instrumental in convincing government officials to provide over 6 million dollars to increase the safety of all the playgrounds in the elementary schools in Hawaii.4

2004 - Lyn Kalinowski; Physical education teacher and worker with special needs students in the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District. Lyn has been involved in playground safety for years in numerous ways including supporting and contributing to the California law regarding playground safety.5

2005 - Darlene O”Keefe; School board president. Darlene spearheaded a committee to create safe playgrounds for over 10,000 children in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District.6

2006 - Earl Colella: Engineer for the Safety & Industrial Hygiene Environmental Health and Safety division of the Global Research and Development for Pfizer, Inc. Earl has advocated for playground safety throughout Connecticut and Michigan teaching playground safety classes.7

2007 - Jeanne Sanders; Training and Education Consultant in the Division of Child Care and Development at the Virginia Department of Social Services. Jeanne founded the Virginia SAFE Playground Committee raising awareness about playground safety throughout Virginia.8

2008 - Scott Burton. Scott is a contributor to ASTM International (ASTM) committee work and an expert witness for playground safety.9

2009 - Michelle Adams; Division Administrator for the Performance Management Unit of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Michelle has encouraged playground safety training and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines for outdoor play environments throughout the state of Texas.10

2010 - Patti Mehrens; Chief of the Child Development and Family Child Care Branch of the Air Force Services Agency and Family Member Programs Division. Patti was involved in playground safety training of childcare workers and playground safety inspections.11

2011 - Chiquita Nichols; Branch Director in the Division of Child Care Licensure with the Mississippi State Department of Health. She is responsible for the inspection of child care facilities and playgrounds and has encouraged the training of staff  to be certified by NPPS.12

2012 - Walter J. Henderson; President and Principal Consultant of Henderson Consulting Services, Inc. Walter has played an important role in standards development for play equipment and surfacing and has been involved with playground safety, playground equipment, and resilient surfacing since 1986.13

2013 - Captain Ron Zabrocki; recently retired from the U.S. Public Health Service. Ron was responsible for increasing the understanding of Indian tribes to the need for playground safety and maintenance.14

2014 -  George Sushinsky; worked for CPSC from 1984 to 2005. George serves on the ASTM surfacing task group that did a major revision of F1292 in 2004 that resulted in a greatly improved test. He serves on the Rockville, MD Recreation and Parks advisory board.15

2015 - Donna Thompson and Susan Hudson; recognized for their many contributions to playground safety.16

2016 - Amy Shannon; advocated for SAFE outdoor play areas. Amy is an Early Childhood Educational Advisor with the Family Resource Center Child Care Project in Carroll, Iowa.17

  • 1. “Playground Safety Week.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/index.htm > 4 Feb. 2011.
  • 2. “Playground Safety Awards.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/index.htm > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 3. “National Playground Safety Week-2002 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2002.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 4. “National Playground Safety Week-2003 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2003.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 5. “National Playground Safety Week-2004 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2004.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 6. “National Playground Safety Week-2005 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2005.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 7. “National Playground Safety Week-2006 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2006.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 8. “National Playground Safety Week-2007 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.uni.edu/playground/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2007.htm > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 9. “National Playground Safety Week-2008 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2008.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 10. “National Playground Safety Week-2009 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2009.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 11. “National Playground Safety Week-2010 Advocate of the Year.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2010.html > 9 Feb. 2011.
  • 12. "National Playground Safety Week-2011 AHRENS Advocate of the Year." National Playground Safety Week. < http://www.uni.edu/playground/safetyweek/awards/ahrens/2010.html> 16 Sep. 2011.
  • 13. "2012 - Walter Henderson." National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/awards/ahrens-advocate-year-award/2012/walter-henderson > 9 May 2012.
  • 14. "Awards." National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safety-week/awards > 14 May 2013.
  • 15. "Awards." National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safety-week/awards > 28 April 2014
  • 16. "2015 - Donna Thompson and Susan Hudson." National Program for Playground Safety. < http://playgroundsafety.org/awards/ahrens-advocate-year-award/2015/donna-thompson-and-susan-hudson > 29 Nov. 2016.
  • 17. "Congratulations to Amy Shannon on receiving the 2016 Ahrens Playground Advocate of the Year Award." National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/news/2016/congratulations-amy-shannon-receiving-2016-ahrens-playground-advocate-year-award > 29 Nov. 2016.