Jan Rao wins the Jefferson Award
About Willows in the Wind: Founded in 2007, Willows is a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit that recognizes a need for a safe meeting place for parents whose children are in crisis or attending residential treatment programs. They developed a sustainable model, offering free parent support groups, education, transition and after-care support, and resources for making informed personal decisions addressing the needs of the family. For more information, visit .
About the Jefferson Awards: Founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards is America’s highest honor for public service, a “Nobel Prize for public service.” For over 41 years, they have recognized a “Who’s Who” of American change-makers and more than 50,000 unsung heroes in grassroots communities. They accomplish that through a network of more than 110 Media Partners reaching into 30 million households. For more information, visit jeffersonawards.org.
Name: Jan Rao, Willows in the Wind Founder, Executive Director, and President
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Bay Area Non-Profit Founder Jan Rao Wins Jefferson Award
Rao’s work with Willows in the Wind is recognized
San Francisco, CA – January 21, 2014 Jan Rao, who founded Bay Area non-profit Willows in the Wind, is a local winner of the prestigious Jefferson Award, which recognizes grassroots “Unsung Heroes” – ordinary individuals performing extraordinary deeds.
For the past six years, Willows has provided a free and safe place where parents in the Bay Area who have sent their children to wilderness programs, residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools or other recovery programs – as well as parents considering the option – can gather and discuss their concerns and express emotions freely and safely, as well as get access to resources to help them make this difficult and deeply personal decision. Rao and her staff are all volunteers, and spend countless hours supporting parents who often feel they have nowhere else to turn.
“Parenting teens and young adults who consistently engage in behavior that may hurt them or someone else can be incredibly scary and isolating,” says Rao. “It’s not easy to discuss what’s going on with friends and family, but these parents really need to talk to people who understand what they’re going through. Willows provides that safe haven.”