Honoring Adults Who Inspire: Connect with Kids Champions

Published on January 31, 2017


  • Champion mentors selected by Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families

  • Building supportive relationships so young people can "create themselves"

  • More adults always needed to work with Arlington's young people


The Arlington County Board recognized the Fall 2016 Connect with Kids Champions at its Jan. 31 session, praising the work of some of the County's most accomplished adult mentors.

The Champions, selected by the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families (APCYF), have provided vital time and support to allow young people to discover skills and self-confidence so they can thrive.

Honored at the County Board Meeting were:

  • Allen Beland -- a Yorktown High School art teacher who helps young bicycle mechanics master repairs along with business and people skills at the acclaimed Phoenix Bikes cooperative on Four Mile Run Drive

  • Tara Magee

    [caption id="attachment_11009" align="alignright" width="300"]Kids Champions Allen Beland (left, blue shirt) and Tara Magee (red dress). Kids Champions Allen Beland (left, blue shirt) and Tara Magee (red dress).[/caption]

    — director of Arlington County Court Services' Girls Outreach, an after-school program that provides special structure and caring to the lives of court-involved teens


Earlier in the month, the School Board of Arlington Public Schools honored the two other Fall 2016 Connect with Kids Champions:

  • Kia Martin — director of Williamsburg Middle School's innovative Check In after-school program, which offers a sense of responsibility and accomplishment through creative activities with peers and younger children

  • Joe D'Emidio — a gymnastics coach for more than 40 years at the YMCA Woodmont Center and Washington-Lee High School, acclaimed for his supportive, encouraging style


ACPYF created the Connect with Kids Champions award in 2004 to stress the need for children and teen to have attentive adults in their lives beyond their parents. Since then, 108 individuals or groups have been honored.

To learn more about making positive connections with Arlington young people, or to find out how to nominate someone as a Connect With Kids Champion, contact Michael Swisher, assets liaison for APCYF at mswish@arlingtonva.us or 703-228-1671.