Susie’s Place Executive Director Named Youth Worker of the Year

Susie’s Place Executive Director Named Youth Worker of the Year 2“Emily Perry is truly a warrior for children”

A Marion County professional has been awarded the D. Susan Wisely Youth Worker of the Year Award by the Indiana Youth Institute. Emily Perry is the executive director for Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Centers. Susie’s Place opened its first center in Avon in 2009 before expanding to Bloomington in 2011 and to Terre Haute in May. Susie’s Place provides child-friendly centers that conduct forensic interviews as part of investigations into alleged child abuse and neglect.

“Serving kids inspires me so to be recognized for my service to kids, humbles me,” said Perry. “There are so many amazing youth workers in Indiana that deserve kudos, recognition, and rewards, and I am so lucky to work alongside many of the very best! I am honored to be selected as the Susan D. Wisely Award recipient for 2017.”

“Together, our teams work the most traumatic, horrific and tragic cases of abuse and neglect,” said Perry. “We do our jobs well because we are committed to serving kids. To me, there is nothing more important or more rewarding than making a difference in the life of a child.”

Jan Lutz, executive director for the Indiana Chapter of National Children’s Alliance, nominated Perry for the award. Perry serves as the board president for the organization. Lutz praised Perry’s ability to forge relationships, collaborate and build teams while prioritizing the needs of the children Susie’s Place serves.

“Emily is committed to serving all Indiana’s children because she believes so strongly that every child alleged to be a victim of abuse might benefit from a multidisciplinary team approach to investigations in a safe, child-focused setting,” said Lutz.

“Often times, Susie’s Place is the end of the bad for kids and the beginning of the good,” Perry said. “This is an amazing and motivating moment to share with a child.”

The D. Susan Wisely Youth Worker of the Year award honors one exceptional youth worker’s service and commitment to help improve the futures of Hoosier children. The award is named for the retired director of evaluation at Lilly Endowment Inc. who oversaw the development of numerous youth service-related programs such as the Lilly Fellows Program, which established many policies and organizations aimed at improving the quality of life for Hoosier children, including IYI.

“Emily Perry is one of those exceptional youth workers who demonstrates what great courage and humility it takes to work in this field,” says Tami Silverman, president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. “This award not only recognizes Emily’s selfless commitment, it also supports her continued growth and success. And while it is important that we stop and honor those who dedicate their professional lives to helping the children of our state, the award itself is just the beginning. IYI has a responsibility to support Emily and all of our state’s youth workers throughout the year as they serve Indiana’s children.”

As part of the award, Perry will receive a $2,500 cash prize to be used toward professional development. Additionally, Perry will be able to attend the 2017 Because KIDS COUNT Conference on November 28 and 29 in Indianapolis at no cost. Perry will receive her award at the conference luncheon on November 29.

Four other finalists were offered a scholarship to attend the conference. Those finalists include:
– Brittany Winebar, Prevail, Inc., Noblesville
– Erin Parker, LaPorte Community School Corporation, LaPorte
– Kory Lantz, Transformation Ministries, South Bend
– Mecca Andrews-Hill, America’s JobSource/WorkOne, Anderson

Online registration for the Because KIDS COUNT Conference is open through November 14 at for the two-day rate of $250 or the one-day rate of $150. After November 14, anyone wishing to attend must register and pay at the event at a cost of $300 for two days and $175 for one day.

Funding for this award comes from the D. Susan Wisely Leadership Legacy Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Those wishing to contribute to the fund may do so online at, by mail or in person at 614 North Alabama Street, Suite 119, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204.

The Indiana Youth Institute promotes the healthy development of Indiana children and youth by serving the people, institutions and communities that impact their well-being.

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