Educator Fina ’11M is 2012 VOICE Award Winner

April 4, 2012

Michele Fina ’11M, who earned a Master of Education from Arcadia University, is the 2012 winner of the VOICE Award from the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children. Fine represents the Bucks County AEYC. The PennAEYC website commended Fina:

As an advocate for early childhood education and the community, Michelle [sic] enjoys speaking with and educating legislators on quality early care and education. Growing up in a family with many young children Michelle understands the need to advocate and become the voice for those who may need it. Believing in the importance of education as a lifetime process Michelle return to academia as a Masters student seeking certification in Elementary Education while caring for her young family at home.

Michelle has worked for many years with the Morrisville YMCA program in a variety of positions to advocate for quality programing and quality initiatives that support young children and their families. Michelle advocates for programs that impact children in many ways such as Keystone STARS, PA Pre K Counts and PA Positive Behavior Intervention Support to name just a few. Michelle’s involvement with the Bucks County Quality Child Care Coalition (LEARN) supported and enhanced her skills as an advocate as she speaks to legislators and involves Senators and State Representatives in local child care programs.

As an advocate Michelle is the voice for children in a variety of volunteer positions including the Bucks County Quality Child Care Coalition, PA Pre K Counts Public/Private Partnership, Ivin’s House/Morrisville Collaborative, Rotary Club and the Bucks County Advisory Consortium. Michelle has been recognized for her involvement in “Mobilizing Parents and Providers to become Children’s Champions” at Penn State. Michelle has testified on behalf of children and families before State and Federal Committee Hearing on Health Education Labor and Pensions for Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. at the “Partner to Prepare: Expanding Access to High Quality Early Childhood Education” event held in Bucks County.

Dr. Leif Gustavson, Chair of the Education Department at Arcadia University, commented on Fina's honor, saying, "Michele Fina is a strong and skillful advocate supporting efforts across the Commonwealth to improve and build on early childhood education programs. Her commitment to community service work as an avenue to enhance the lives of Pennsylvania's children make her a terrific example of the type of student for which Arcadia's Department of Education is known—dedicated, knowledgeable, and effective in the classroom and the broader public sphere."

"Michele is using the knowledge she gained both through her rich life experiences and in her Early Childhood Education program at Arcadia to effect change for young children, parents and educators," noted Dr. Cindy Reedy, Coordinator of Arcadia's Early Childhood Education program. "We are thrilled that her work and dedication to the field has been recognized with the VOICE award."