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KRISTI HOUSE Wins Top Awards in State, Nation

For Immediate Release
December 1, 2006

Kristi House, Inc., Miami-Dade’s Child Advocacy Center serving child victims of sexual abuse, was awarded The Blue Foundation’s highest level of recognition, The Sapphire Award, for excellence in community health services. Kristi House was one of only three non-profit organizations in the state to win the $100,000 annual award given by The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, the philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.

“Recognition from The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida shows that we are breaking the silence on child sexual abuse and recognizing, as a society, that it is a public health issue many say is at epidemic proportions,” Kristi House Executive Director Trudy Novicki said. “Only when we all understand the scope of the problem and the facts surrounding it, will we be able to fulfill our vision of eradicating child sexual abuse in Miami-Dade.”

The Sapphire Award recognizes community health programs that have improved the health-related outcomes of Florida’s at-risk populations and communities. Programs are nominated by three persons familiar with the organization and are reviewed by an independent selection committee made up of medical, public health and health communication experts from across the country and Florida. The Acorn Clinic in Alachua County and The Bridge of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville were the other Sapphire awardees.

“The Sapphire Award recognizes Florida nonprofit organizations that have improved health care access and quality for at-risk populations,” said Susan Towler, executive director, The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida. “Kristi House has developed and sustained initiatives that build on community assets to foster systematic and positive changes in health care for South Florida. We are pleased to acknowledge Kristi House’s contributions to the health and well-being of the communities they serve.”

Also this past week, Kristi House was awarded a $50,000 grant for its expansion program from the National Children’s Alliance, one of only two awards made in the United States, which includes nearly 500 child advocacy centers. The award was made after a competitive selection process among agencies with expansion plans to improve access for the communities they serve.

“These awards are extremely gratifying testaments to the effectiveness of the work of staff, board and other volunteers that make Kristi House a healing environment for children suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse.” Ms. Novicki said. “Over the 10 years Kristi House has been in existence, we’ve built our program around best practices models and have helped thousands of children recover and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.”

The funds will support Kristi House’s expansion plans, which included the opening of a satellite office in south Miami-Dade this fall, and another satellite anticipated in the north part of our county in 2007, Ms. Novicki said. Expansion at the main facility site is also being examined.

National research has found that one out of three girls and one out of seven boys experience some form of sexual abuse by the time they reach age 18. Compounding the problem is that a large number of sexual abuse cases remain unreported as perpetrators are often beloved family members or trusted friends. Children remain silent because of confusion, guilt and the fear of family upheaval that comes with disclosure.

Kristi House is located on the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital campus at 1265 NW 12th Ave. Its south facility is located on U.S. 1 and 152nd. Founded in 1996, Kristi House has served more than 5,200 victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Thousands more are reached every year with education and prevention outreach programs. Services include case management, therapy, referral, transportation, advocacy and emergency assistance. Visit www.kristihouse.org for more details.

The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of BCBSF incorporated in the state of Florida. The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, and its parent, BCBSF, are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information on The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, please visit its web site.

Contact Us

For any questions or further details about the award, please contact Ms. Natalie Brown at Kristi House, (305) 547-6832 or nbrown@kristihouse.org.