Who was Alvirita Little?
Alvirita Little contributed more than 50 years of professional and volunteer service in support of youth and families in Seattle. Her legacy of community involvement has been an inspiration to all of us at Therapeutic Health Services.
Alvirita’s Life & Career
The granddaughter of a slave, Alvirita grew up among German immigrant farmers in Spring, Texas. Her first experience in social work came in 1925, when she organized a Women’s League at her church to help families in need. In the 1950’s Alvirita moved to Seattle, where she instituted the area’s first community program for young girls: the Girls’ Club of Puget Sound, known today as Girls Inc. YWCA. Alvirita served as executive director of the Girls’ Club for 19 years, overseeing the club’s move into its own building on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Upon retiring, Alvirita continued her service to the community by hosting overseas students attending the University of Washington and volunteering for the American Red Cross and the VA Hospital. She was also an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts, who presented her with the William H. Spurgeon III award in 1980.
“Alvirita provided some great leadership here in this community without an enormous amount of notice. She just went ahead and did things.”Dan Evans, Former Washington State Governor
Alvirita Little Award Creation
In 1988, in honor of her selfless dedication and tireless commitment, the Board of Directors of Therapeutic Health Services created the Alvirita Little Award. The award honors an individual or organization that has contributed continuously and selflessly to help at-risk children, youth, adults and families — especially those affected by chemical dependency and mental illness.
Alvirita Little Award Recipients
The Alvirita Little Award has been awarded 16 times since its inception in 1988:
Recipients by Year
1989: Mother Hale of New York City for her work with drug-addicted babies.
1993: The Alcohol/Drug 24 Hour Helpline for its all-volunteer crisis, information and referral service to the residents of Western Washington.
1997: Senator George McGovern for his advocacy on behalf of individuals and families affected by chemical dependency.
1999: Tsuguo “Ike” Ikeda for his contribution of over 50 years of professional and volunteer service to under-represented communities in Western Washington State, including 33 years as the Executive Director for the Atlantic Street Center.
2001: Elizabeth Thomas, ARNP, for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of children and families and her work with children as a pediatric nurse practitioner with the Odessa Brown Clinic and Children’s Hospital.
2002: Steve Pool of KOMO 4 TV for his advocacy and fundraising work to ensure that all children in the community have access to medical care, regardless of their financial situation.
2005: Patrick Gogerty, former Executive Director of Childhaven, for his tireless and passionate advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children.
2006: Alan Sugiyama, founder and Executive Director of the Center for Career Alternatives, focusing on youth employment.
2007: Dr. Maxine Mimms, founder of the Maxine Mimms Academies, a leader in a “transformative model of education” designed for underperforming students.
2009: Patti Skelton-McGougan, Executive Director of Youth Eastside Services in Bellevue since 1997, for her work with at-risk, underserved youth.
2010: Phil Smart, Sr., for his many years of philanthropic and volunteer service in Puget Sound, including over 30 years of reading to young patients at Children’s Hospital.
2011: Dr. Constance Rice, a longtime civic volunteer and community advocate on behalf of youth in foster care and those with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
2012: Dr. Carol Simmons, for her 35 years of service within Seattle Public Schools and for her tireless dedication as a community activist for quality education for all students.
2013: Trish Millines-Dziko, realizing an unmet need within the public school system for rigorous, relevant technology training she founded Technology Access Foundation (TAF). TAF’s goal is to increase access to STEM education, especially among kids of color, girls and young women.
2014: Mona Bailey, worked throughout thirty-two year career in public education, to promote equity and excellence for all students especially for those most at risk for not achieving their academic potential.
2016: Justice Bobbe Bridge, Retired, is the Founding President/CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice, a nonprofit organization she created in 2006 to reform Washington State’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She served on the State Supreme Court from 2000 to 2008 and the King County Superior Court from 1990 to 2000, where she was Chief Juvenile Court Judge for three years.
2017: Edith Chavers Elion, Executive Director of Atlantic Street Center, which under Edith’s leadership created programs and services for children, youth and families in areas of education, homelessness, family support, adolescent development, violence prevention and mental health.
Alvirita Little Award Posts
Please join us as we celebrate the 17th year of the Alvirita Little Award This evening event will feature a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, a mini silent and live auction, and a spirited “fund-a-need.” Attendees will hear firsthand how Therapeutic Health Services has been able to change the trajectory of a young person’s life. This year’s evening event will be held on October 5 at The Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel. To purchase tickets or make a donation in honor of Alvirita more..