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‘ROAR’ Among Oklahoma 2022 Child Abuse Prevention Awards Honorees

Thursday, April 21, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) today honored six Oklahoma individuals and organizations for outstanding commitment, dedication and leadership in child abuse prevention at an annual awards ceremony held today at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“Child abuse prevention is critical for building healthier communities,” Interim Health Commissioner Keith Reed said. “Today we honored an outstanding group of people who are standing up for the health and safety of children in Oklahoma. Their hard work and dedication is inspiring and empowering, and important to the future of our state.”

The 2022 Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention Award winners are:

·         ROAR – Outstanding Child Abuse Prevention Program (The CARE Center, OKC)

·         Mona Wheeler – Outstanding Home Visitor Award (PAT-Great Plains, Hobart, Okla.)

·         Dana Taylor – Julie L. Bonner Nurse Award (Tulsa Health Department)

·         Michelle Coonfield – Julie L. Bonner Nurse Award (Tulsa Health Department)

·         Linda Whaley – Marion Jacewitz Award (Oklahoma Child Care Services, OKC)

·         Shawna Norman – Mary Ellen Wilson Award (Parent Promise, OKC)

ROAR is The CARE Center’s child-based education program that teaches children ages four through eight how to protect themselves from abuse. Created in 2016 by Stacy McNeiland, CEO of The CARE Center in Oklahoma City, the interactive and easy to implement lesson is designed to be taught in a classroom or group setting. Rex and his animal friends take children on a journey to find his ROAR, a simple and memorable acronym (Remember, Privates are Private; Okay to Say No; Always Talk About Secrets; Raise Your Voice and Tell Someone) that teaches children that their bodies are their own and empowers children to stand up against abuse. To date, ROAR has been taught to more than 40,000 children in Oklahoma, and is licensed in more than 17 other states. Click here to learn more about ROAR.

Mona Wheeler has worked with PAT-Great Plains – a home visitation program of Great Plains Youth & Family Services, Inc. – for the past three years as a parent educator in southwestern Oklahoma. She has been instrumental in promoting safe, stable and nurturing environments and relationships for the children and families she has reached through the evidence-based Parents as Teachers program, with expertise in considering a family’s culture, values and characteristics. Click here to learn more about PAT-Great Plains.

Dana Taylor, RN, BSN was hired by the Tulsa Health Department in 2005 as a Children First nurse for Spanish-speaking families. She is bilingual and has a long history of successfully working as a nurse and advocate with Hispanic populations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in California. She emulates respect, understanding, laughter and thoughtful guidance for the families she serves. Throughout her tenure, she has consistently completed more than 500 client visits each year, averaging 10-11 visits per week. Click here to learn more about the Children First program.

Michelle Coonfield, RN began her career in public health at the Tulsa Health Department as an immunization nurse in 2006 and transferred to the Children First program in 2007. She worked as an intake nurse for Children First in Tulsa for five years, successfully recruiting and enrolling families from Tulsa and Osage Counties. She was promoted to nurse supervisor in 2013. She is a consistently accountable, supportive, motivated and highly productive leader who utilizes data and technology to identify areas of success and challenges, and to improve program outcomes.

Linda Whaley has been a program manager with Oklahoma Child Care Services for many years. She has a passionate heart for children and their safety. Quality early care is always her goal. She participates in the Child Abuse Prevention Committee, and works to compile information and activities inclusive of all ages and abilities to promote National Child Abuse Prevention Month, focused on awareness and participation by caregivers, children and their families. She is tenacious, with a helpful spirit that is reflected through her stellar customer service.

Shawna Norman earned her master’s degree in family life education from the University of Central Oklahoma, and has spent most of her career working to improve the lives of families and children in the community. She came to Parent Promise seven years ago, beginning as a family support specialist with the Healthy Families America program and growing as a certified assessment worker, a parent educator and outreach coordinator. She has served Parent Promise as the program manager for the past four years. During that time, she has been instrumental in the growth of the Parents as Teachers, Healthy Families America, and Exchange Parent Aide programs, the three visiting programs provided by Parent Promise. Click here to learn more about Parent Promise.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at


Photo Caption: CARE Center Director of Education Shelby Lynch ROARs with students at Coolidge Elementary School in Oklahoma City.

Related Video: ROAR Child Abuse Prevention Education Program For Children

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Last Modified on Jun 03, 2022