Christine Myers wins Evergreen Award

MARQUETTE COUNTY – Recognized for being a visionary for women and children to reach their potential, especially in Marquette County and numerous areas in the community, Christine Myers was honored as recipient of the 2012 Evergreen Award of Marquette County.

The award was announced at the 2012 Evergreen Award Luncheon held this afternoon.

The Evergreen Award is a regional award, and is organized by the Zonta Club of Marquette Area. The award is open to men and women of Marquette County who are inspirational in their roles as mentors of women and girls. The selection committee evaluated the nominees based on how they demonstrated excellence, creativity and initiative in their professions or as volunteers.

With over thirty years of leadership experience, Chris Myers has been a mentor and role model in assisting young girls, women and professionals to reach their potential through her knowledge, expertise and guidance.  Chris has reached across sectors to impact the lives of women and children through her work with children and families in need and through programs she has brought to life and through mentoring and helping young professionals reach their dreams and goals.  Chris exudes confidence and professionalism, never hesitating to help instill confidence in the women, professionals, students and children she has worked with and supported.

Chris began her journey as a social worker at the Lakes Area Group home in Newberry.  Chris then became a program consultant, supervising two group homes and helping develop a school program.  In 1989, Chris became the first school consultant.  She has had several different roles, including Families First Program Manager, Social Service Supervisor, and Chief Operations Officer.  Chris was also instrumental in the site development project that led to the certification of Catholic Charities of Honolulu as a TFA Certified Sponsor Site.

Chris had a dream to promote family ideals with the Father Flannigan’s Boys town model.  Chris was looking for a site to promote this idea in the UP, and she found the old prison honor camp site that was abandoned and in complete disrepair.  Despite overwhelming odds, she worked tirelessly with the Governor’s Office, as well as county and other local units of government to obtain the property.  It took 2 acts of Congress, but Chris’ determination could not be stopped.  Her vision and inspiration has given futures to hundreds of forgotten and abused children.  Today, Teaching Family Homes sits on a 40-acre campus complete with ball fields, a gazebo, administrative offices, 4 group homes, school house and library, maintenance building, a fitness trail and outdoor pavilion.

Hundreds of children have been provided not only with a place to stay, but a chance to learn the necessary skills to be productive members of society.  Chris has given so much to these children and to the community in so many ways.  She has served as Zonta Club President for two terms, is a member of the Marquette Breakfast Rotary, in addition to serving on numerous local committees and boards.  She has also served as a Site Evaluator for the National Teaching Family Association (TFA), and has served as the Chairperson of the Certification and Ethics Committee.

Jamie Dieterle, co-worker and co-nominator comments, “Having worked under the guidance of Chris Myers for nearly 10 years, I have gained so much from my time with her. Though I entered the agency on the ground floor, Chris took an interest in me early on, teaching me that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do.  Professionally and personally, Chris has always inspired me to do more, be more, achieve more, and never give up despite the obstacles in the way.  Chris has also taught me how to persevere in the face of adversity, providing support, encouragement and direction.  As a young business professional, Chris also introduced me to the Zonta Club of Marquette as my sponsor so that I could continue to not only grow and develop in my own right, but also to give back to other women and children in the community through mentoring and service.”

Kristina Balzarini adds, “She has always challenged me to take on more roles and responsibilities and is there for consultation whenever I need her.  I know she WILL NOT let me back away from a goal or growth opportunity.”

Beyond her professional life, Chris has served as an adjunct instructor in the NMU Social Work Department; as the vice-president of the UP Children’s Coalition; a member of the Marquette Breakfast Rotary Club where she has served in various leadership positions, including president; Chair of the NMU Social Work Department Professional Community Advisory Boards, multi-term President of the Zonta Club of Marquette where she has been a member for over 15 years; Member of the Board of Directors of the National Teaching Family Association; National Teaching Family Association Certification and Ethics Chairperson; served on the Marquette General Hospital Mental Health Advisory Boards advocating for mental health services for children, and Secretary for PEO, which helps to provide scholarships for local women.  Additionally, she has provided clinical supervision for social work students from Northern Michigan, Grand Valley and Michigan State Universities, helping other women to achieve their professional goals.  In 2005, Chris received the UPCC Outstanding Individual Award from the Upper Peninsula Children’s Coalition.  Chris volunteers her personal time and resources to support other organizations she is passionate about in the community.  Her service goal as she nears retirement is to help charter new Zonta Clubs across the Upper Peninsula, where she can continue to help other women realize their personal and professional goals and assist others in being a positive role model and support for young women and children.

The Evergreen Award program also includes a $1,000 scholarship to a local life-long learner pursuing an educational program. Jenny Sides was presented with the 2012 Evergreen Scholarship at the luncheon.  Scholarship applications are available by contacting the Marquette County Community Foundation.