Judith Kunkel, Nominator
In a neighborhood where children are tempted by crime and gangs, Carolyn Lowery offers another path. For 17 years, she has provided a safe haven called Kids Place for low-income children. She and 15 volunteers teach the fundamentals for success: obedience, responsibility, cleanliness, education and work. Affectionately called the “matriarch of south Phoenix,” Carolyn is therapist, friend and teacher. On any given day, up to 60 children show up to learn, have fun, and feel good about themselves.
In 1997, she was one of seven individuals to receive the Parents Magazine As They Grow award that recognizes people who show a commitment to the lives of children. The same year, she was invited to the White House to lunch with the First Lady. In 2005, she won a national Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge award given to individuals and organizations for exceptional efforts to promote an understanding of responsible citizenship.
Since her retirement 21 years ago, Carolyn has volunteered full-time. For her, it is a personal mission. “These kids need a break and that’s what I intend to give them”, says Carolyn. “When there is a child in need, I get fired up and I just have to come to the rescue.”