Maria Rosales-Lambert, VISIONS 2020 Honoree
by Linh Sasser, social media coordinator, OKCNP
Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) is celebrating 10 years of VISIONS on December 1, 2020, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
The Visions Awards honors those who act as agents of change in the community, providing leadership to enrich and enliven those whom they serve. These men and women are thoughtful, passionate, tenacious and creative in seeking out solutions to problems that affect change. They inspire others with their conviction and drive, give a voice to those without and act with the highest integrity to provide Oklahomans with resources otherwise not available. Visions recognizes these great men and women as passionate champions of service to Oklahoma.
Over the next few weeks leading up to the event, we will spotlight each of the honorees.
Maria Rosales-Lambert, bilingual forensic interview and program director, Oklahoma Interviewing Services, Inc. (OIS), is being honored with the Inasmuch Special Recognition Award.
This award goes to a nonprofit employee that has exhibited excellence throughout the past year. It could be any nonprofit practitioner who has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the everyday work of a charitable organization. This employee has demonstrated a dedication to mission above and beyond his or her call to duty, changed lives of those they serve and shown leadership to peers. Sometimes working with limited resources in difficult circumstances, the recipient of the Special Recognition Award is a selfless and tireless employee that exemplifies service to community and constituents. Wherever possible, this is a person that isn’t regularly recognized for their service, so that we may honor those everyday heroes that make Oklahoma and our citizens thrive.
Maria has worked tirelessly traveling to rural areas of Oklahoma to work with children whose families do not have the means to access child advocacy centers. Maria also understood this was a hardship on law enforcement agencies that have limited personnel. In 2016, Maria and OIS developed the mobile forensic interviewing unit.
The mobile forensic interviewing unit is child friendly, culturally sensitive and allows a fully functional forensic interviewing unit to be on site within 24 hours anywhere in the state of Oklahoma. The unit assists local law enforcement by providing a team of specially trained forensic interviewers and a family advocate while working with children. In addition, it allows the child to be interviewed in a place where they feel comfortable and safe, instead of having to enter the courthouse to testify.
Since the unit has been in operation, OIS has provided over 714 interviews and driven over 67,320 miles. OIS continues to build relationships across the state and hopes to add another mobile forensic unit to their team to meet the increasing demand.
In addition to her work with OIS, Maria has served as a faculty member with ChildFirst/Finding Words Oklahoma, DHS and Oklahoma Commission on Children & Youth. She has worked with C.A.R.T. House, served as a patrol officer with Fort Smith Police Department and as an immigration accredited representative. She has served on the boards for Rural American Ministries, Catholic Charities and Oklahoma CASA State Association.
Maria has trained for the National Children’s Advocacy Center, Oklahoma Child Abuse Training & Coordination, and the American Professional Society on Child Abuse. Her work has led her to not only work with children in Oklahoma, but also to train professionals in Canada and Guatemala to work with children who have been maltreated.
Past honorees who have received the Special Recognition Award include Pat McKinstry, A. Jaye Johnson, Nina Daylor, Sharon Gallagher, Shannon Luper, Anne Roberts and Paula Gates.
For more information about Visions 2020, visit: https://www.oklahomacenterfornonprofits.org/connect/visions/