4C for Children will honor Steve Richey and Kathy Wade as Champions for Children at the annual 4C for Children Champions Gala on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at JACK Cincinnati Casino.
“Every year we scan our community for the hidden gems who are striving to unlock the potential of our youngest children and lift them up as our Champions,” says Vanessa Freytag, 4C for Children president and CEO. “We hope the stories of these early childhood advocates inspire others in our community to continue leadership in service to children and families.”
Co-chairs Adia Molloy and Jill Warman are leading the Champions Gala Committee, which also includes Chris Pratt, Veronica Sebald, Nicole Trimpe and Jessica Woodward.
Steve Richey is senior counsel at Thompson Hine LLP where he practices as a full-time mediator. The first 20 years of his career were spent as a preschool and elementary teacher. He was among a core group of five individuals who started Children’s Meeting House Montessori in the early 1970s. He taught there from 1974 until his graduation from law school in 1993.
Although his career path changed, his “heart remains in early childhood,” says Freytag. “Steve continues to advocate for early childhood education and for our community’s child care providers through his work and his volunteer time,” Freytag says.
For instance, he recently helped a community child care provider through a legal situation that, left unresolved, would have meant the provider could no longer work in the early childhood field. Through his pro bono efforts and expertise in the area of labor and employment the situation was resolved and she is now able to work in the field.
As a result of his efforts, systemic changes have been made in how local agencies support early childhood providers in our community.
He’s been a member of the 4C for Children Board of Trustees since 2013 and has helped further 4C’s work and advocate for quality early childhood education in “a million ways” over the years.
“He’s an invaluable member of our board and knows firsthand the critical link between children receiving quality education in their early years and having success for later in life. His commitment to furthering this opportunity for all children in our community is inspiring and one of the many reasons we are thrilled to honor him with this award.”
In addition to serving on 4C’s board, he also served on the BRIDGES for a Just Community, Board of Directors and currently serves as an adviser to the Children’s Meeting House Montessori School Board of Trustees. He holds a doctorate from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, a master’s in education from Xavier University and is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati USA Program.
Kathy Wade is an award-winning international jazz entertainer, producer, CEO, and community bridge-builder. She and her late husband, Dan Jenkins, co-founded Learning Through Art (LTA), Inc., a non-profit organization founded to increase art education in schools and the community by providing quality performing arts programs in support of arts education, literacy, community development, and engagement to build resilient communities and drive multicultural awareness.
Two of the programs that have grown out of LTA are the national award-winning and four-time Emmy-nominated performing arts literacy program Books Alive! For Kids® and Mosaic Entertainment programs. Books Alive! makes books come alive through sight, sound, and touch for children in preschool through third grade while Mosaic Entertainment programs bring art education programs to schools through lectures and performances.
“Kathy has a passion for using performing arts as a method of teaching children. That’s what led her to co-found Learning Through Art, a program that has impacted more than 1 million people over the past 28 years,” says Freytag.
“She saw the light of learning that can turn on in children’s eyes when they are exposed to and take part in reading, music and art and she continues to expand ways in which LTA can bring that experience to more children and adults.”
Kathy has also “given her time and expertise for many years as a presenter at the 4C for Children Leadership and Early Childhood conference, inspiring child care providers with ways to make literature come alive for children as well as been a speaker at 4C’s Developing Early Childhood Leaders (DECL) program.”
A graduate of Edgecliff College with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology, Kathy holds a master of arts degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.
For more information about the 4C for Children Champions Gala, visit www.4cforchildren.org/gala.