Congratulations Becky Lewis, AZ Daily Sun’s Citizen of the Year!

| January 3, 2015

Few people have done as much in their lives to help Flagstaff’s most vulnerable children as Becky Lewis.

Lewis’ passion for community service began when she was growing up in St. Louis, Mo. As a teenager, she volunteered at a nursing home and at a group called Youth Emergency Service. Her parents, she said, were always supportive of her efforts.

She was also a counselor with the YMCA in her hometown.

“You do a lot of training about the value in people,” Lewis said. “That was instilled in me anyway. I think it’s rooted in the strong belief that every person is valuable and life in general is valuable.”

She met her husband, now a Flagstaff doctor, while studying sociology at the University of Chicago and went on to get her law degree at Washington University in St. Louis in 1985. It did not take long for her to decide to be a stay-at-home mom. Her commitment to volunteer work continued as she and her husband raised four boys in Chicago.

Then, in 1995, the family moved to Flagstaff to be close to Lewis’ parents, who lived here part time. Her father was spearheading the campaign to get a YMCA in Flagstaff. When he became ill, Lewis stepped in to help. By 1998, they had raised enough to hire someone to run non-facility programs for local children. They had to raise millions more to build the current Flagstaff YMCA facility in 2010.

Her parents moved back to St. Louis in 2005, but Lewis is still on the YMCA board.

She is also a longtime member of the Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth. She was especially drawn to the child abuse prevention side of the organization.

“You can tell by the work that she’s done that she just truly cares for children,” said Julianne Hartzell, who works with Lewis at CCC&Y.

COURT-APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE

But perhaps her most impressive volunteer work has been as a court-appointed special advocate with the Coconino County Juvenile Court. She got involved as soon as she moved to Flagstaff.

“I’m a trained attorney so it’s kind of a natural fit,” Lewis said. “And I feel we have a duty to take care of those vulnerable children. It’s just in my heart to do that.”

As an advocate, her job is to represent to best interests of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. She attends hearings with them, advocates with the judge, and helps them get counseling or whatever other services they need.

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Category: Child Welfare, Events, Programs

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