Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth announces 2019 Caring for Children Award winners

| February 25, 2019

Honorees will be recognized on April 18 at the 2019 Child Abuse Prevention Conference, which features keynote speaker Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute. The registration deadline is March 29.

Coconino County District 2 Supervisor Elizabeth “Liz” Archuleta has been named one of six individuals who will receive the 2019 Caring for Children award, to be presented April 18 at the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth’s 2019 Child Abuse Prevention Conference and Luncheon in Flagstaff. Courtesy photo.

FLAGSTAFF — They include a policy leader who has advocated for early and developmentally disabled childhood education programs throughout Coconino County; an individual who has served nearly three decades strengthening and keeping families together in Northern Arizona; a Flagstaff native and 24-year elementary school principal who has promoted a variety of programs that support the educational and well-being of local youth and their families; a long-serving shelter advocate who provides youth the life skills they need to become successful and productive adults; an elementary and high school soccer coach who has sought to instill leadership and teamwork skills in the players he has worked with; and a community leader whose efforts have provided a variety of afterschool, weekend and summer programs in Page.

The Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth (CCC&Y) congratulates the 2019 Caring for Children Award recipients, who will be honored during the 2019 Child Abuse Prevention Conference and Luncheon — “Healing Collective Trauma through Community Connections” — April 18 in Flagstaff.

The award winners, who have given exceptional support and care to children and youth, include:

  • Elizabeth “Liz” Archuleta, Coconino County District 2 Supervisor
  • Dani O’Connell, Department of Child Safety Unit Supervisor of the Child Welfare Training Project at Northern Arizona University
  • Joe Gutierrez, Principal of W.F. Killip Elementary School in Flagstaff
  • Shawni Parafiniuk, Youth Shelter Advocate at Northland Family Help Center in Flagstaff
  • Jose Soto, Coach / Mentor at the Flagstaff Soccer Club and Flagstaff High School
  • Debbie Winlock, Community Service Director, City of Page

The awards and conference, presented in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 18 at Little America Hotel, 2515 E. Butler Ave., Flagstaff.

 Keynote speaker Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, who is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure, will discuss caring for ourselves and our community as we respond to our own and others’ experience of trauma and the “trauma exposure response.”

Laura’s book, :The Age of Overwhelm: Strategies for the Long Haul” was released this summer. Source:

*View Laura’s TED Talk at

The conference will include multiple presentations including the Neurosequential Model in Caregiving, a training program to help better understand the unique, sometimes challenging needs of the children who have experienced the trauma of abuse and neglect; a look at the influence of poverty, culture and trauma on the behavior and health disparities of American Indian Youth; and an examination of the differences between new parent-stress and post-partum depression.

The luncheon, from noon to 2 p.m., includes brief presentations on Child Abuse Prevention by invited community leaders, the Caring for Children Awards presentation and a keynote discussion by Dr. Pearl Yellowman, executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Community Development. Yellowman has provided consultation, trainings and support across a wide array of audiences and geographic locations related to trauma, historical trauma, epi-genetics, and health disparities in addition to her academic career and behavioral health work.

Registration is required for both events prior to March 29, 2019. For registration, speaker biographies and the conference agenda, go to

*We do have a small selection of need-based scholarships available for foster parents and those responsible for preventing or responding to abuse in our communities.

Friend+ Event Level Sponsors for this event are Unisource Energy Services, the NARBHA Institute, APS, Findlay Toyota Flagstaff, Little America, the Molly and Joseph Herman Foundation and the Exchange Club of Flagstaff.

Ongoing Partners include Steward • Health Care Network, Health Choice Arizona, Coconino County, the City of Flagstaff, the Arizona Department of Child Safety and the Flagstaff Unified School District.

About the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth: The Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth exists to provide leadership in developing community-wide strategies that enhance the well-being of children and youth in Coconino County.

. For more than 40 years, CCC&Y has acted as the countywide communication link, bridging and supporting services for children and youth. Through advocacy, prevention, education and community partnership building, CCC&Y has built a strong, extensive network of families, providers, leaders and communities all striving to improve the lives of young people.

Proceeds from this year’s Annual Child Abuse Prevention Fundraiser and Caring for Children Awards will support CCC&Y’s prevention, community education and child advocacy efforts throughout the year.

Visit for more information and to register for this event.


About the award winners per nomination letters:

Elizabeth “Liz” Archuleta has served on a number of boards and commissions dealing with early childhood education and specifically developmentally disabled children. As a policy leader in this arena, she advocates and creates programming and policies that strive to make sure all children have access to and the support of successful programs. She is the founder of the Hungry Children Backpack Program and wrote the grant for the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association’s Weed and Seed program that addresses alternatives to youth gang activity.


Dani O’Connell has served in a variety of positions at the Arizona Department of Child Safety, from case manager to her current position of training the next generation of DCS workers at NAU. In her nearly three decades of work in Flagstaff, she has aided youth by appearing in court as an expert witness on the local and state level; has supported hundreds of children and families in need, including multi-generational members of those families; and served as the DCS court liaison statewide to ensure the judicial system provides parents and children with due process to keep children safe.


Joe Gutierrez, who was born and raised in Flagstaff, is a graduate of NAU. After gaining K-12 teaching and administrative experience in Mesa, he returned to Flagstaff to serve as principal at W.F. Killip Elementary School, making the school available for a number of programs that benefit children and families throughout the community. Those programs include the Saturday breakfast and youth sports. He has served on the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, helping to research, write and develop the Weed and Seed grant provided by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.


Shawni Parafiniuk is the longest-serving youth shelter advocate at Northland Family Help Center, where she helps youth form a positive daily routine, helps de-escalate crisis situations, and teaches youth such life skills as cooking, cleaning, communications and self-advocacy. She previously taught art at the Flagstaff Leadership Academy (FALA), and is known for directing art groups and programs with the youth shelter residents. She provides the youth at Northland Family Help Center’s Youth Shelter with a positive, caring presence with expectations that our youth treat themselves and others with respect and dignity. Our youth’s affinity for Shawni’s presence and structure is a testament to  her ability to reach youth and form positive connections while providing a safe and structured environment, a most critical process for youth that have experienced trauma.


Jose Soto, who has been coaching youth soccer for 21 years, currently coaches four different boys teams for the Flagstaff Soccer Club. He has gone beyond the typical duties of coaching to developing his players’ self-esteem, leadership, teamwork and organizational skills through his mentorship. He has made soccer a safe place for these players, working with the youths and their families to keep the players away from alcohol, drug and gang activity.


Debbie Winlock has sought to expand a variety of educational and recreational programs for youth in Page. While the city has become a tourist destination, there were very few activities for youth and children outside of the schools. Under her leadership, the Page Public Library has become a focal point of activities after school, on weekends and during the summer. Those efforts include storytime at both the library and on-site at stores, businesses and the local nursing home, and bringing early literacy and math talk workshops to the library. She has also served on the local First Things First regional council, introduced the Teen After Hours program at the library and started the Books for Families program that provides local businesses with reading material for the children of their clients.

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Category: Advocacy, Child Welfare

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