Professor honored for work with foster youth
Wendy Smith Meyer, associate dean of faculty development and clinical associate professor at the USC School of Social Work, received the Nancy M. Daly Founder’s Award from United Friends of the Children (UFC) at the organization’s 10th Annual Brass Ring Awards Dinner on May 29 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Named in honor of UFC’s late founder, the award recognizes outstanding individuals who have made transformational changes in the community. The organization is dedicated to supporting Los Angeles-area foster children in their journey toward a successful and independent adulthood by providing critical services to help them graduate from high school, attend and graduate from college, find stable housing and gain employment.
Smith Meyer has been a strong supporter of UFC for more than a decade, having served on its board of directors since 2002 and as chairwoman for three years. She was instrumental in launching UFC’s Pathways Transitional Living Program, which provides housing and supportive services to emancipated foster youth. She is also the author of Youth Leaving Foster Care: A Developmental, Relationship-based Approach to Practice, which integrates research from multiple disciplines into practice to provide a new foundation for those who work to improve the lives of youth who have been in the foster care system.
“For the past 13 years, since Nancy Daly recruited me to help create a transitional living program for youth aging out of the foster care system, it has been my privilege to be a part of the important work of United Friends of the Children,” Smith Meyer said. “Foster youth need the support and encouragement of all of us in order to move into successful adult lives, and UFC provides this through its relationship-centered educational and housing programs.”
Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, received UFC’s Brass Ring Award, which honors individuals whose humanitarianism and commitment have put opportunity within the reach of children.
“UFC is there for foster youth when no one else is, and for the long haul,” said Polly Williams, UFC president. “We are fortunate that both Rob and Wendy are as steadfast in their support, friendship and expertise to our organization as we aim to be with the youths who develop within our programs.”
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