Vera Keener, supervisor of the Sunnycrest parenting program, is the current Betsy Forster Memorial Award winner. Sustained by one of YSI’s steadfast donors, who honors his wife’s memory through his annual gift, this award recognizes one of YSI’s stellar social workers each year.

Vera has worked closely with countless parents during her eleven years with the parenting program. Yet, she’s still inspired and energized by the changes families are capable of making when they have someone to guide them:

It’s amazing to watch people like Lisa that come into the program kicking and screaming, not understanding why they need to be here. They are cared for and nurtured here – they go through a transformation and come to see that we all need support.

Vera believes that supporting vulnerable families is a collective responsibility, and something that will benefit all of us:

If we develop stronger parents and families that can teach their children to be independent and resourceful, we’ll have less crime and stronger communities. There are lots of parents who really want to do the best they can by their children. At Sunnycrest we tell them that we all need help and support and that it’s okay to admit that and ask for it. You don’t have to be the perfect parent, because nobody is, you just have to try.