Christi Sims has done a lot for helping foster children in Newton and McDonald counties for a number of years. And for her efforts, she was recently presented with the Sarah Jane Snow Award from the Friends of Newton and McDonald Counties Department of Social Services.

“Christi is a remarkable young woman with a servant heart and works tirelessly to make life better for children and teens,” said Sandra Hughes, president of the non-profit organization. “In many respects, she is the perfect volunteer. She is all about making a positive difference and to her credit, she defines the definition of imitative.”

Hughes explains who the award is about.

“Sarah Jane was a mother of two children who lost her life to cancer at the age of 46,” Hughes said. “She was previously a television reporter in Joplin. She moved to Florida to assist her mother who had been diagnosed with cancer. While Sarah was in Florida, she was diagnosed with cancer herself. And at that time, she was a fairy godmother at Disney World. So my logo on our stationary, on our brochures, is a fairy godmother and I have just tied the two in. Sarah was an individual, when she walked into the room, she just brighten the room, her focus was always on trying to help families and children.”

Sims has helped with parties for teenagers in foster care.

“For the last several years, Christi has headed up the Christmas parties for the teens, specifically,” said Hughes. “She also did the Angel Tree. But she just really reaches out to the teens. The teens have never been adopted. When they turn 18, they go out of the system. Without the foster families, they would not have safety net. She just really promotes helping our teens and I really admire her. We always had a party for a teen in some form, but she just escalated it, elaborated it, kicked it up, just made sure, secured thousands of dollars in donations to buy the teens gifts.”

For Sims, she was excited about receiving the award.

“I was really surprised, I was pleased and surprised at the same time,” said Sims. “In the past, I was a foster parent, then worked for the children’s division for a handful of years. When I left the children’s division, I wanted to stay involved with the children, specifically the teenagers that really spoke to my heart. So ever since then, I have been organizing the teen Christmas party.”

Sims said she plans on displaying the award in her home.

“I encourage other people to participate in causes that speak to their heart, to get involved and don’t wait to be invited to get involved,” she said. “Just pick up the phone and call and ask a lot of questions.”