The 2020 Chiles Award Winner will be Announced on Monday, January 27, 2020 at the Children’s Week Awards Dinner & Reception
The Chiles Advocacy Award, in honor of Lawton and Rhea Chiles’ dedication to Florida’s children and families, is presented annually to a Floridian who has dedicated his or her life to improving the lives of children and families, and who has successfully engaged others to promote policies and programs that benefit those children and families. The recipient of the annual Chiles Advocacy Award exemplifies the integrity, dedication, and commitment to improving the lives of Florida’s children and families for which we all strive.
Lawton and Rhea Chiles embody the spirit of what public service is intended to be. The wisdom and experience they gleaned during Lawton Chiles’ decades of public service taught them that society’s most precious natural resource – its children and their families – deserve the special attention of society and its representatives in governmental office. Together, they elevated understanding and awareness of the critical importance in the lives of children to new levels and helped craft state and national policy that will benefit children and their families for generations to come.
2019 Chiles Advocacy Award Winner:
Throughout her more than 40 years of public service, Barbara Mainster’s work in children’s advocacy has been a stand out performance for others to follow. Mainster joined Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), an early-childcare development organization for low-income children, in 1972. In 1988, Mainster was named Executive Director of RCMA, where she has since been an influential advocate for migrant and low-income farm families throughout Florida. Mainster is known for her frequent testimonials before both congressional and legislative committees, including those of Washington and Tallahassee. In 2005, Mainster testified before a U.S. House Subcommittee where she emphasized the need for Migrant Head Start funding.
Mainster is a former President of the Florida Children’s Forum. She served as vice chair of Governor’s Advisory Council on Farmworker Affairs from 1996 to 1998. In 2000, she was appointed to the Florida Farmworker Housing Coalition by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. Mainster has served on Florida’s Reading and Literacy Partnership Committee as well as with Socially Accountable Farm Employers (SAFE), where she was a charter board member. Mainster’s expertise is frequently sought by childcare and farmworker oversight groups.