Bob Graham Center at UF to honor early childhood development activists as Citizen of the Year, Young Floridian

Published: April 24 2014

Category:Announcements, InsideUF, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two Floridians who have worked tirelessly to advance a grass-roots movement on behalf of Florida’s children have been named the Bob Graham Center Citizen of the Year and Young Floridian for 2014.

The Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida will honor David Lawrence Jr., its 2014 Citizen of the Year award winner, and Vance Aloupis, the 2014 Young Floridian award recipient, on June 3 at the Annual Graham Gathering at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. 

The awards were established to recognize Florida residents who have made a substantial contribution to enhancing the quality of life for state residents. Two external selection committees of leading citizens, drawn from various backgrounds in Florida, chose the 2014 award winners from among several nominees. Both recipients work for The Children’s Movement of Florida.

Citizen of the Year: David Lawrence Jr.
chairman, The Children’s Movement of Florida; president, The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation

David Lawrence Jr., a nationally known leader in journalism, retired in 1999 as publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and school readiness. The Herald won five Pulitzer Prizes under his stewardship. In 2002 he led the campaign for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. He’s a gubernatorial appointee to the Children’s Cabinet and has led two statewide panels on child protection.

Lawrence helped lead passage of a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4-year-old children. An endowed chair in early childhood studies has been established in his name at the University of Florida. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8

Public School opened in Miami-Dade in 2006.

He serves on the national boards of the Everglades Foundation and Americans for Immigrant Justice, and chairs the Foundation for Child Development in New York.

Young Floridian: Vance Aloupis
state director, The Children’s Movement of Florida

After practicing law in South Florida, Vance Aloupis joined The Children’s Movement in June 2010 and now serves as the organization’s state director. Working directly with Lawrence, Aloupis’ work focuses on building statewide awareness and support for early childhood education through organizational collaborations, regional strategies, fundraising and increasing public awareness.

A former student body president at the University of Miami, student trustee on the UM Board of Trustees, and a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, Aloupis was the Judge Peter Palermo Fellow in the University of Miami Center for Ethics and Public Service’s Street Law program. During his tenure, he created and taught curricula for juvenile detention centers in South Florida. Aloupis also worked as both a civil litigator and with the Legal Services of Greater Miami Homeless Project prior to joining The Children’s Movement.

In 2012, Aloupis was appointed in 2012 by Gov. Rick Scott to serve a two-year term as a commissioner for the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. He is a board member for the Miami Coalition for the Homeless and the Awesome Foundation Miami. Aloupis is also a graduate of the Miami Fellows program and Connect Florida.

As part of the selection process, both winners will be recognized at the Graham Gathering in Orlando and invited to say a few words about The Children’s Movement at the June 3 event. Dick Batchelor, former member of the Florida House of Representatives and president of Dick Batchelor Management Group Inc., will emcee the program. Batchelor has been featured numerous times as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Orlando.” Gov. Bob Graham will also offer brief remarks on the importance of leadership and civic engagement for our state.

Reception begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:15 p.m.  The cost is $200 per person or $2,000 per table of 10. A portion of ticket purchases is tax deductible. All proceeds support the mission of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

For more information, contact Sherry Feagle at 352-846-1575. The RSVP deadline is May 19.


Shelby Taylor

Category:Announcements, InsideUF, Top Stories