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Grow Your Vision


This annual award recognizes those who have demonstrated passionate advocacy for Lexington’s children & families. 

Jean Sabharwal award luncheon Honoring darlene thomas March 8, 2024・1130 a.m. ・The kentuck
Jean Sabharwal award luncheon Honoring darlene thomas March 8, 2024・1130 a.m. ・The kentuck

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Darlene Thomas
2024 Jean Sabharwal Awardee


About Darlene Thomas

Since December 2004, Darlene has served as founder/Executive Director for GreenHouse17.  GreenHouse17, serving 17 central Kentucky counties, is an advocacy agency committed to ending intimate partner abuse and its impact on families and the community.  In her 33-year career as an advocate for survivors of power based violence and their families she has been responsible for direct service, comprehensive program development, and community engagement for social change efforts. 


Ms. Thomas provides leadership for multiple community collaborations and committees; provides expert testimony on legal cases; facilitates professional development training for local, state, national and international forums, and provides consultation for organizations who are seeking strategies to reimagine their services. 


Under her leadership, GreenHouse17 programs and services have received statewide and national awards for Innovation including: Commerce Lexington Nonprofit Community Impact Award, National ‘Shelter of the Year’ Purple Ribbon Award, Theresa Mary Byron Foundation Celebrating Solutions Award, the Kentucky Non Profit Network Innovative Award, the Center for Non Profit Excellency Pyramid Award for Social Innovation and was a Partnership for Freedom/Reimagine Opportunity national finalist.  She currently serves as Past-President and Legislative Chair for the ZeroV,  Kentucky’s domestic violence coalition.

Ms. Thomas will be recognized at the 2024 Jean Sabharwal Award Luncheon on Friday, March 8, 2024 at The Kentucky Castle. Tickets will be available for purchase beginning January 3, 2024.

Past Recipients

The 2023 Jean Sabharwal Award Luncheon
Presented by Humana Healthy Horizons
Honoring Melanie Tyner-Wilson


For many years, Melanie Tyner-Wilson has focused on educational policy and legislation related to enhancing the quality of family life. She recently retired from her position as Family Support Specialist/Navigator for the University of Kentucky Developmental Pediatric Clinic, where she’d served since 2015. Ms. Tyner-Wilson has also served as Special Needs Outreach Coordinator for the Kentucky Injury Prevention Research Institute/Pediatric Injury Prevention Center/Safe Kids Kentucky and Injury Free Kids Coalition. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; in addition, she has taken coursework in Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky.


She is a current member of the Fayette County Human Rights Commission, a Board Member for the Arc of Central Kentucky & the Arc of Kentucky, and serves on the Kentucky Autism Commission. She is a past member of the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities. Melanie and her husband Steve served as parent liaisons for the Adoption Support of Kentucky for 11 years. She is a member of the Autism Society of the Bluegrass, and has served as an advisory board member of Kentucky Autism Training Center; Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children; and the National Early Childhood Transition Center.  She served as an educational mediator for 11 years for the Division of Exceptional Children Services with the Kentucky Department of Education.


In previous positions, Ms. Tyner-Wilson has collaborated with academic affairs to find ways to infuse opportunities for academic support programming in the residence halls, worked in Student Affairs at the University of Kentucky in leadership development, and enhanced health/wellness opportunities for students. She has worked for the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute University Center for Excellence as a project coordinator/family involvement specialist for the Kentucky Early Childhood Transition Project. Ms. Tyner-Wilson is a biological and adoptive parent of 2 young men: one of her sons has autism and her second son has ADHD. She has recently become a grandmother.

Ms. Tyner-Wilson was  recognized at the 2023 Jean Sabharwal Award Luncheon on Wednesday, March 15 at The Kentucky Castle. Click here to see more photos from the event.


Thank You to Our 2023 Sponsors!

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...and All About Kids!


The 2019 Jean Sabharwal Award Luncheon celebrating Dr. Thomas Young was a great success! See pictures from the event here.

Jean Sabharwal and Dr. Thomas Young

2019 Jean Sabharwal Award Recipient: Dr. Thomas Young




Throughout his career, Dr. Thomas Young has demonstrated a keen awareness of family issues which impact child health and school performance, such as poverty, housing, domestic violence, mental health, family literacy and access to health care. Always thinking about how to make a difference for children in the Bluegrass, Dr. Young founded Kentucky Child 2000 in 1998. This nonprofit group worked with medical providers, educators, government officials and business leaders to create awareness of the 40 Developmental Assets which contribute to the health and wellbeing of children, as well as their school success.


Dr. Young is currently a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky Department of Pediatrics, Member Section of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics and Division of General Academic Pediatrics, Medical Director of Baby Health Services, Consultant for ADHD at Health Kids Centers With Health First Bluegrass, Director of School Health and Child Advocacy Rotation, Director of Pediatric Global Health Track and Founder and Chair of UK Shoulder to Shoulder Global Council. His continued commitment to the betterment of Kentucky’s children and their families is evident in all aspects of his work.

History of the award.


The Jean Sabharwal Award was inaugurated in February of 2014 during an event held to honor the founding partners of the Family Care Center. The award was presented to Jean Sabharwal, founding director of the Family Care Center. Ms. Sabharwal is a remarkable pioneer whose many years of dedication and advocacy have resulted in brighter futures and better lives for families and young children.


The award was established by Bluegrass Families First to annually recognize an individual or group who has demonstrated passionate advocacy for Lexington’s children and families.


The spirit of this award is fittingly expressed through a beautiful stained glass piece by Lexington artist Dan Barnes.


Past Jean Sabharwal Award Recipients

2018 - Alice Nelson

2017 - Nancy Allen Lathram Rawlings

2016 - Dr. Kerby Neill

2015 - Dr. Otto Kaak

2014 - Jean Sabharwal

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