Maria Marquez-Ramirez has spent nearly 20 years providing direct services to children and families in crisis with Uplift Family Services, formerly known as EMQ Families First in Campbell, CA. As a Learning Partner for the Foster Care and Adoptions Services Program, Maria supports the development and delivery of trainings to resource/foster parent as well as professional working with children and families.
Maria has worked in the field of parent education for the last 17 years, through Uplift family Services and other non-profit organizations, including the YWCA. Beyond being a passionate believer, facilitator and trainer of the Celebrating Families! Curriculum, Maria is also certified through Cornell University to deliver Therapeutic Crisis Intervention training for professionals (TCI), family caregivers (TCIF) and for schools (TCIS). In addition, Maria is a Family Wellness Facilitator, Positive Discipline Educator and delivers workshops on the Search Institute’s Essentials of Asset Building in order to promote the Developmental Asset framework to promote positive youth development for her organization and for the community.
In addition to her role as a Learning Partner, in 2008 Maria joined the Addiction prevention Services Program at Uplift Family Services as a Celebrating Families!TM Group Leader. Witnessing the impact the curriculum was having on families, Maria became increasingly motivated about the use of the curriculum for the Spanish speaking community. Eventually, Maria accepted the role of Lead Adaptation Consultant for ¡Celebrando Familias! and was instrumental in the translation and adaptation. She supported the project to its completion in 2012. In other words, Maria has made it possible for hundreds, possibly thousands, of Spanish-speaking children and families struggling with the impact of addiction to find understanding, support and recovery. For that we call Maria a Champion for Children.
Maria continues to lead Celebrating Families!TM groups at Uplift Family Services.
Iris E Smith, PHD, MPH
Iris Smith holds a doctorate in Community Psychology from Georgia State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Emory University. She is recently retired from her position as an Associate Professor in the Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Department at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health where she taught graduate courses in Program Evaluation, Substance Abuse, Social Determinants of Health, and Mental Health Capstone course. In addition to teaching Dr. Smith served until retirement as the Coordinator for the Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT) Southeast Resource Team for SAMHSA's Center for substance Abuse Prevention. Previously, as Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, she worked to improve mental health and substance abuse services for youth incarcerated in Georgia’s long term residential detention facilities and was a co-investigator on the first study to document the prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders among detained youth in Georgia.
From 1979-1992, Iris was Principal or Co-Investigator on a number of studies on prenatal drug exposure and substance abusing women and their children at Emory University’s School of Medicine. Her work included the design, implementation and evaluation of outreach, intervention and treatment programs for substance abusing women and their children. She is currently a member of the NACoA Advisory Board and has served on advisory boards for the Atlanta Association for Developmental Disabilities, Dekalb County Center for Torture and Trauma Survivors, Georgia NOFAS and the Marcus Institute. Throughout all of these professional positions, Dr. Smith was a powerful voice for children impacted by addiction in the family. She advocated for them unceasingly, taught about them and what they needed across systems and positions, and she helped all of us see the whole picture of the troubled child and the child in trouble. She understood resiliency and the importance of evaluation to light the way for bringing building resilient youth.
Since the 1980s Dr. Smith has been a Champion for Children.
In an effort to combat substance abuse BABESWORLD has been promoting BABES Communities: groups of people living, loving, and working together to create an environment in which all, especially children, feel healthy, loved, safe, and protected from ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs) abuse. It does this by: providing resilience-based programs that decrease the risk factors and increase the protective factors that result in healthy, drug free young people, particularly between the ages of 0-19; and providing transformational learning opportunities for individuals and systems brought about by education and activities which result in a deep and pervasive shift in the behavior of the individual and the surrounding community. BABESWORLD is the natural progression of BABES (Beginning Alcohol and Addictions Basic Education Studies), the primary prevention program founded in 1979, which by 1988 was reaching more than one million children in forty states and four foreign countries each year. BABESWORLD views substance abuse prevention efforts as a part of a broader, generic health promotion and disease preventing effort. babesworld.org