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Steele receives Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award for 2021

Urban Mission Ministries recognized for service to community’s children

PRESENTATION — Representatives from A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center presented the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries of Steubenville, with the Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award for 2021. On hand for the presentation were, from left, Georgia Paulic, Caring Place board member; Ann Dulany, Caring Place president; the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of the Urban Mission; Marisa Bortz, Caring Place director; Shantal Hurst-Huff, Caring Place secretary; and Eric Timmons, Caring Place treasurer and Steubenville’s 3rd Ward councilman. -- Andrew Grimm

STEUBENVILLE — Each year since 2011, A Caring Place has presented the Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award to a local individual or organization that has exemplified excellence in serving children in the community.

Wednesday, the organization presented the award to the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries of Steubenville for the organization’s work.

“They really do a lot for the community,” Marissa Bortz, director of the Caring Place, said of the Urban Mission.

Bortz pointed out that the Urban Mission increased its work load during the COVID-19 pandemic as the needs became greater, helping many, including children, during their time of need.

“Through the pandemic, they really stepped up their services a lot,” Bortz said. “They really saw the needs of kids and families in the communities and never stopped giving away food. They really rose to the occasion and we wanted to honor that.”

Carrocci award is named after A Caring Place’s late co-founder and first board president, Helen Carrocci, who was a longtime advocate for children.

Members of the community nominate individuals each year they feel are deserving of the award and Carrocci’s family assists the organization in choosing the recipient.

Steele said receiving the award, which was presented to her by Bortz and other members of the organization outside the Urban Mission’s location on North Sixth Street, is an at honor and motivation to keep working.

“It’s a great honor, but it’s also a charge to keep up the work and continue our efforts here,” she said. “It’s a reminder that people see the impact of this work. I think people are motivated by the work and this (award) is breath of fresh life to be able to keep going.”

Steele said its extra special because she considers A Caring Place to be a partner of the Urban Mission.

“It’s always an honor for another agency, especially A Caring Place, to think of us this way and entrust us with an award like this for caring for the community’s children,” she said. “That’s an honor in itself, and we consider them a partner in this work.

“Being able to receive something like this is a reminder of how powerful it is to be a partner with other community agencies.”

A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center is located in Wintersville and was founded in 2002. Its website, acaringplacecac.org, says the organization’s goal is to “be a leading advocate in the healing and prevention of child abuse.”

It provides a safe, comfortable, private, child-friendly environment for child abuse victims and their families.

The center is accredited.

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