The Prism Award was established in 2013 to recognize an outstanding staff member who demonstrates excellence in many of Rainbows’ Guiding Principles; is an example in the role they fulfill for Rainbows; demonstrates leadership; makes children and families their highest priority; and represents Rainbows in a way that reflects positively on the entire organization.
The Prism Award was so named because of the uniqueness and many facets of a prism. A prism reflects light and turns it into a rainbow. It signifies creating masterpieces and enduring beauty. The artistry of the prism is visible through many colors. The Prism Award is given in recognition of a staff member who reflects quality and value in working with children, families, each other, and the community.
This year Rainbows honored Alice Boutz, a well-respected Mental Health Specialist known for her leadership and efforts to raise awareness of the importance of children’s social-emotional well-being. Her calming influence and expertise help to normalize help-seeking and early intervention for children’s mental health.
Since 2017, Alice has represented Rainbows in a way that reflects positively on the entire organization. She uses her knowledge and experience to train, coach, and mentor professionals across the state.
To see Alice responding to a child struggling with self-regulation is a lesson in how to acknowledge the child’s feelings first, with compassion, and then model for the child how to calm down to recover his composure and then complete a task.
A member of the Screen for Success team, Alice listens to parents without judging them and helps them get connected to all types of community resources. At Kids’ Point she steadily builds the capacity of teaching staff to support children’s social-emotional development; and as a trainer statewide, Alice is engaging, knowledgeable and effective as she trains, mentors and coaches professionals.
Rainbows is grateful to have Alice as a member of our staff and family. Alice’s own words from her acceptance and thank you speech are indicative of the person she is.
“Thank you for this honor of being this year’s Prism Award Recipient. Beyond all of these kind words written and spoken about me, I hold many titles like wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend, social worker, and my personal favorite, Momma.
My work ethic was instilled young. I graduated with both my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree after being a first generation college student.
As soon as I decided to go to grad school in Wichita, I started looking at agencies that I’d like to be a part of. I read all about Rainbows, and thought “When I grow up, that’s where I want to work”.
After graduation I took a job in child welfare. A few years later, I started working at Rainbows. Since then, I’ve had the honor of working on the mental health team with some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met. I didn’t know much about early childhood when I started, but the team jumped in and I learned and still learn every day from the amazing leaders and peers not only at Rainbows but also in the community.
When I reflect on this great honor and achievement, I know this award isn’t just for me. I feel that I can name several others who are just deserving as me.
“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”- Chuck Palahniuk
That combined effort comes from so many.
Not only all of the folks on the mental health team that I constantly learn from and lean on, but also teachers, kids, community partners, books, podcasts, and research articles.
I think of the leaders, like Audra Kenneson, that give chances for learning, guidance when needed, and encourage questioning and inquiry.
I think of the kids with the most challenging behaviors that remind us to celebrate the smallest achievements. I think of the parents that end up at Screen for Success in tears and desperate for help after not being able to find mental health services for their 2-year-old. I think of the kids that have been kicked out of daycares for behaviors out of their control. The parents that find rides to the office for services in the therapy room because they have nowhere else to receive our services with no permanent housing. The parents that are trying to break generational cycles and do the hard work that we ask them to do. I think of the conversations with teachers that might include tears and laughter.
I am made from all of these wonderful people and experiences.
Living Rainbows guiding principles comes naturally and easy for me, because many align with the social work values and my own personal values. When I focus energy into improving lives of children and families, I always remember that although the work we’re doing isn’t necessarily life or death, the work we do is vitally important to the communities we serve. Thank you.”
Alice, congratulations on your well-deserved honor as the 2023 Prism Award Winner.