Premera Blue Cross is partnering with the Seattle Seahawks to establish the Premera Community MVP Award for the 2018-2019 season. The award honors a staff member from a nonprofit organization in the Pacific Northwest who goes above and beyond their daily work.
Our inaugural Premera Community MVP Award goes to Theresa LaRonde. She's the early childhood education program director at Kent Youth and Family Services (KYFS) and has served the nonprofit for over 25 years. LaRonde is responsible for the development and continued success of the KYFS’ after-school youth development programs.
“Theresa is a passionate, tireless, creative consummate professional about the work of after-school youth development programming,” said Michael Heinisch, executive director at KYFS.
During the early 1990s, KYFS launched its outreach program after an invitation by the King County Housing Authority. The idea was to develop a youth after-school program in response to increased youth gang activity in three Kent communities: Springwood (later renamed Birch Creek), Valli Kee and Cascade.
Early in her tenure, LaRonde launched Head Start, preschool programs with two classrooms serving 50 preschoolers at the time. For the 2018-2019 school year, the program is serving nearly 500 high-risk/high-need preschoolers at seven classroom sites. The result: 95 percent of children who participate in the program successfully transition into kindergarten in the Kent School District.
Heinisch added, “Theresa exemplifies every aspect of the agency mission and vision and demonstrates a daily commitment to equity and cultural inclusion, accountability, partnering, advocacy and responsiveness to clients and community--KYFS’s Values.”
So how are we recognizing LaRonde?
The MVP and three guests will attend a Seahawks’ practice for a special experience at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) prior to a home game. Photos will be taken at practice, which will then be shared on social media. In addition, the MVP will be recognized pre-game on the LED boards, Seahawks.com and Gameday Magazine, available at each home game.
Bo Jungmayer is in Corporate Communications at Premera Blue Cross.