Each year, Canopy Children’s Solutions recognizes four staff members with Value Awards who exemplify the organization’s Core Values. Individuals are nominated by their peers for the way they live out the values through their work and commitment to Canopy’s mission. These awards are based on the organization’s foundational values that define Canopy’s day-to-day actions and decision-making at every level in our organization.
The VOICE of Our Children and Families Always Comes First
The voice of our children and families is the starting place for everything we do. Our family-driven, youth-guided services build upon the unique strengths and culture of each family.
Our VOICE Award recipient this year is Daniel Dooley, Forensic Interviewer at Canopy’s South Mississippi Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Gulfport. Daniel has been a forensic interviewer for 11 years, including the past three years with Canopy working at the CAC. Daniel has been identified by our State CAC Chapter as one of the best forensic interviewers in Mississippi and is often asked to provide training to other forensic interviewers.
A forensic interviewer is the person who is designated to have a structured conversation, listening carefully to the voice of the child and their sharing of detailed information about possible crimes the child may have experienced or witnessed. At Canopy, Daniel specifically conducts forensic interviews with children and families who have experienced or witnessed physical and/or sexual abuse or witnessed violent crimes. Through these interviews, Daniel is able to obtain information that may be helpful in a criminal investigation and provide it to a multi-disciplinary team made up of the CAC, district attorney, law enforcement, Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, as well as medical and mental health professionals. This team ensures the child receives care and resources that fit their individual needs. By following all interview protocols, with the help of local law enforcement, local District Attorney’s offices are able to present cases and win.
Daniel has a huge heart and enjoys helping anyone in need. When asked why he works at Canopy, his response was: “I love what I do every day and love seeing the relief on a child’s face when they have the opportunity to tell their story.”
Daniel helps give a voice to children who often have been silenced; therefore, he is the model recipient for Canopy’s 2018 Voice Award.
Canopy understands the centrality of relationships in our work. We strive to form relationships throughout, within, and beyond the organization that will help us create change. From the boardroom to the classroom (and at all levels in between), relationships are the building blocks of not only our success, but the success of the kids and families we serve.
Our RELATIONSHIPS Award recipient this year is Kyla Williams, in-CIRCLE therapist in Natchez. Prior to joining in-CIRCLE, Kyla also worked with the Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock (MYPAC) which delivers intensive in-home psychiatric care. She has also served as Community Support Specialist and Primary Service Coordinator since becoming part of the Canopy team in 2013.
The in-CIRCLE program exists to help keep families together and reunite children with their families if situations required the child entering state custody. The families are referred by the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Service (CPS) to the in-CIRCLE program where they work with a therapist, wrap facilitator, case manager and often a community support specialist. In Kyla’s role, she provides child and family therapy that focuses on active parenting, life skills, coping skills, behavior management and trauma-informed care. She helps families rebuild safe and suitable environments in which children can grow and the family as a whole can thrive.
Kyla has been known to go above and beyond to help the clients she serves. There was a recent instance where clients didn’t have air conditioning for their home. Kyla went out of her way, on her personal time, to reach out and find an AC unit for the family. In the meantime, she sat in the same home with this family in sweltering heat and no furniture for hours at a time providing therapy and support. Not only has she provided exceptional solutions to this particular family, she has also been there for many other families in ways that surpass her everyday job responsibilities. Because of the strong bond she creates with her families, they still reach out to her to give updates on their success once they are no longer in the program. She also has an amazing working relationship with her co-workers, and is quick to lend a hand. Everyone in the office knows they can count on Kyla to get the job done.
Her sincere care and concern for the families she encounters is the perfect example of why Kyla is the 2018 Relationships Award recipient.
We Take Great JOY in Service to Others
The heartbeat of our mission is selflessly working for a cause greater than ourselves.
Our JOY Award recipient for 2018 is Cindy Gibson, Officer Manager at the Canopy Administrative Office in Jackson. Cindy has been with the organization since 1991 and served in many capacities that have allowed her to serve others within the organization so Canopy can serve the community.
Cindy provides joy in service in all aspects of her job and finds fulfillment in knowing she is needed. You can always depend on her to go the extra mile with any project she is working on. She is a joy to work around and is willing to help in any capacity. Cindy can often be found working behind the scenes taking care of the details, whether it is setting up meetings, providing lunches, decorating for holidays or special occasions, coordinating staff events or making sure the office runs without fail. When Cindy is involved, you will know there will something extra special because she never does anything half way. She takes pride in the presentation of the organization and if ever someone is setting up for a meeting or luncheon that isn’t looking up to Canopy standards, with a smile on her face Cindy will say, “You go on ahead, I’ve got this.”
While Cindy doesn’t often have the opportunity to work directly with the kids except for those she greets at the outpatient clinic, she makes sure that the programs don’t go without the supplies they need and the children in turn don’t go without.
She is solution-driven to ensure Canopy is a well-oiled machine, making sure everyone has what they need, and she always has a smile on her face (and possibly some glitter in her hair). For that reason, she embodies the spirit of joy and is this year’s JOY Award recipient.
Our Families and our Communities Deserve our VERY BEST
For over 100 years, we have endeavored to deliver care of the highest quality. Therefore, we have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of emerging best practices and state-of-the-art service delivery. As stewards of a century of progress, we work very hard at meeting the needs of the current generation of Mississippians. Nevertheless, we can and must get better – our families and communities deserve it.
Our VERY BEST Award recipient is Shaquita Mallett, Jackson Site Manager for the Central Region. Shaquita joined Canopy in 2008 as a Primary Service Coordinator. She has since continued to ascend into supervisory roles by pushing herself and her team to always do best by the families they serve.
Shaquita believes in doing the right thing and wants her team to succeed in everything they do. Her intentions are pure and guided by her strong values. She believes in the mission by being fair, caring, available, nimble, and very involved with her team. Shaquita is soft spoken, but she truly speaks up when it comes to the team and families we provide services to each day. She does what she thinks is best and models what she expects in return. Shaquita aligns herself with the mission and believes in doing everything the “Canopy way.” She doesn’t mind stepping outside of her leadership role to lend a hand with case management, therapy, or just advocating for the services needed for families. No matter how her job changes or what new project is thrown her way, Shaquita finds what needs to be done to make the project successful.
Her co-workers say she models hard work and dedication with no complaints and always with a heart toward doing her job better every day whether that be through her service or her leadership. They know her as a person who is not afraid to take on any role on the team and she proves this time and time again as she is the first to step into difficult situations or when a team member is out. Shaquita takes adversity and turns it into learning opportunities for herself and her team. Her passion is infectious and she makes everyone around her better.
Shaquita puts her best foot forward and strives to reach Canopy’s mission with every situation she steps into making her a deserving candidate to receive the 2018 Very Best Award.
Canopy brings together all of its staff spanning 19 locations, serving all 82 counties for two days each October for the Annual Staff Retreat. Each day, staff have the opportunity to share how Canopy’s mission is being achieved in their communities. Together, the staff focus on teamwork, building relationships and gain understanding of strategic goals and directions set in place by the Board of Directors. The Value Awards are the highest honors given to Canopy employees and are awarded during the staff retreat with recipients held as closely-guarded secrets until the awards are presented.
Congratulations to each of the 2018 recipients and thank you for all you do to serve our kids, families and local communities.