Starkdale Presbyterian receives Helen Carrocci Child Advocacy Award

Starkdale Presbyterian Church in Steubenville has been presented the Helen Carrocci Child Advocacy Award for 2013.

The award was established in 2011 to honor the memory of the late Helen Carrocci who was the first president of A Caring Place and was a driving force in establishing Jefferson County’s first child advocacy center.

In 1957, Carrocci embarked on her personal charge to serve local youth as she started a Girls Scout and Brownie troop at St. Anthony’s Church in downtown Steubenville. She later was hired as a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy in the 1980s, becoming the lead investigator in the county’s child abuse cases. “Although she was just over 5 feet tall, her small stature was a ‘misunderstanding’ when one was confronted by her towering tenacity in protecting the young of Jefferson County. She continued in this role for 10 years,” a press release notes.

After retirement as a deputy, Carrocci remained active in her mission to protect children. In 1994, she volunteered in helping form and chair the county’s first multidisciplinary team. The MDT is the working group of professional from the agencies that deal with child abuse.

From 2000-05, Carrocci also voluntarily served as the vice president and later as president of Jefferson County’s Children Services Board. She worked as president until the board’s responsibilities were later relinquished. “Though her bones and muscles may have grown somewhat brittle over those years, the heart of her mission only burned more brightly through her efforts. She recruited enough support and raised community awareness to be a key instrumental piece in establishing A Caring Place in 2002,” according to the news release.

Later on, as president of A Caring Place board, Carrocci oversaw the center’s movement to becoming its own, nonprofit agency. Furthermore, she worked hard to contact others within the community and gain their support during those first “toddler” years as a center. Her work was highly effective in raising funds for the center to continue its services, according to the release.

“Helen was Helen, and if it were up to her, she would not have wished for us to make such a fuss over her. For Helen, her reward was not earthly; her reward for all her suffering and sacrifices was that she had fully followed the burning mission of her heart to be an advocate for our children,” said Jean-Philippe Rigaud, president of the board of directors.

“It is our honor to present the 2013 award to the members of Starkdale Presbyterian Church. As Helen strove to be the kind hands and persistent feet of God in protecting our young people, we, as the board of ACP, are proud to recognize your church’s body as our brothers and sisters through your humble and generous efforts. We celebrate your continuing service to the youth of this community. In particular, we recognize your donation of time and resources to the Jefferson County Children’s Home, your yearly participation in the Pinwheels of Prevention and your individual member’s commitment to helping maintain youth programs such as Big Brothers/Sisters,” Rigaud said.

“We humbly accept this honor in memory of Helen Carrocci, and we look forward to working with agencies such as A Caring Place in the future,” said church member Cindy Sagrilla.