NBC4's Leon Harris (SCAN Honorary Board Member and emcee of the event); 2018 Ally in Prevention Award Winner Bootsie Humenansky from Fairfax; and Sonia Quiñónez, SCAN Executive Director.
Bootsie Humenansky has been named a 2018 Ally in Prevention by SCAN of Northern Virginia. SCAN stands for Stop Child Abuse Now.
Humenansky’s story begins as a volunteer. For 20 years, she made a difference for children in Fairfax County and beyond. She volunteered with the Washington Area Chapter of Childhelp USA as well as the Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia. Humenansky worked on everything from developing a program for student athletes who work with abused children to being a spokesperson for the center to mentoring youth at the residential center.
These accomplishments were all leading to 2012 when the Childhelp Children’s Center closed unexpectedly, leaving Fairfax County without a Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Humenansky refused to believe Fairfax County couldn’t sustain a CAC, and began to research requirements, recruit volunteers and gain IRS nonprofit status. By 2014, SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center of Fairfax was able to open its doors, ensuring that children who have been abused have a safe, child focused environment where they can receive support, guidance and treatment from a coordinated team of professionals and county agencies.
“When we had a vision of forming SafeSpot from scratch, we had no appreciation for the work required to pull together the number of moving parts and parties that had to be linked together at the federal and local government and community service organizations,” notes Humenansky. “We were fortunate that numerous friends, volunteers, and organizations were willing to pitch in and provide guidance and help to be part of our vision.”
“Bootsie is tireless in her efforts,” adds her nominator. “She has enormous energy and her enthusiasm is infectious…she inspires each person she meets to help build a better community.”
While serving on the board, recruiting volunteers and raising funds to keep SafeSpot growing (last year it had four employees and served 425 children), she never lost “her zeal for awareness-building and abuse prevention education.” Today she is an active participant in the Pinwheels for Prevention effort, inspiring pinwheel gardens from Great Falls to Mount Vernon. Bootsie also advocated for prevention education programs in FCPS elementary schools, and is now a volunteer instructor for the Speak Up Be Safe program.