Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership in the UT Judith Herb College of Education, received the Northwest Ohio 2015 Champion for Children Award Dec. 1.
The award honors individuals who have dedicated time, resources and energy to protecting children in the community, and have demonstrated that protecting children is a top priority.“I was pretty floored when I was called and told that I was selected because I’m sure I was [nominated] amongst some pretty important people doing some really good things,” Pescara-Kovach said.
She received the award from the National Exchange Club, the oldest service organization in the United States that provides individuals with opportunities to use their time and talents to benefit their local communities and country.
“I was really surprised and honored by the fact that this group, that I really had no idea was monitoring these kinds of experiences and activities in the community, chose me for this award; I had no idea that I was even on their radar,” she said.
Pescara-Kovach teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of human development and graduate-level seminars on the causes, consequences and prevention of school violence. Additionally, she is the co-chair of UT’s Anti-Bullying Task Force.
She is working under a U.S. Department of Justice Education, Communication, Assessment, Intervention and Protection Plan grant that is geared toward providing colleges and universities with knowledge and resources to prevent and respond to emerging and chronic crime problems. Through this grant, she is a trainer for the Campus Violence Prevention and Protection and K-12 Behavioral Threat Assessment programs in the local community.
Additionally, she serves as the community bullying prevention liaison for Healthy Lucas County and the content expert and chair of the Fostering Healthy Communities’ Preventing Bullying = Creating Safety campaign, which has grown into the Bullying Resources and Anti-violence Education (BRAVE) initiative, a partnership between Mercy Hospital, ProMedica Health Systems and the UT Judith Herb College of Education.
Pescara-Kovach has presented on the topic of bullying-related suicides and homicides as well as causes and consequences of bullying at the regional, state, national and international levels, and is the author of School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.
She recently had an article accepted for publication by eHearsay Journal titled “Parenting: The Frontline in Bullying Prevention,” and her approach to targeted violence prevention, intervention, active response and postvention will be published in the International Bullying Prevention Association’s 2016 winter newsletter.
“There are many of us working hard to prevent further tragedies,” Pescara-Kovach said. “I do it because I have had so many conversations with parents who have lost children and I’ve promised these parents that I will continue to do this because they all want me to continue to let their child’s voice be heard, to make sure that their story is being told, and to provide a lesson or some sort of epiphany on how bad this can be.”