Ted and Trudy Mayeux, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and George Swift were all honored as recipients of the 2012 Pinnacle Light of Hope award for their outstanding work in advocating for the welfare and well-being of children and youth in Southwest Louisiana. The awards were presented during the Child Advocate Celebration breakfast held Dec. 4 at L'Auberge Lake Charles. Presented by Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation, the Child Advocate Celebration honors all individuals who serve as advocates for children in the community through Family & Youth's Children's Advocacy Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Children & Families Action Network (CFAN).

"Service above self" is a statement that encompasses the Mayeuxs work on behalf of abused and neglected children in Southwest Louisiana . They have been active on behalf of abused and neglected children since 2007 when they attended a Dinner at Mi CASA held in the home of Sam and Denise Hebert. They heard the message and supported the cause by buying tickets to the event for themselves and guests to each subsequent dinner, as well as donated auction items, including the ever-popular day on Ted's sailboat. However, Ted and Trudy recognized the need and their desire to do more. In 2009, the Mayeuxs offered to host Dinner at Mi CASA, and, to date, have hosted four dinners and counting in support of the CASA program. In addition to their active involvement with CASA, Ted is an active member of Family & Youth's Board of Directors.

Since the inception of the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) in 1996, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office has been a key player at all levels of the CAC, with representatives serving in many key positions. Through the investigation of cases of child sexual and severe physical abuse and their participation in the Multi Disciplinary Team, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office has impacted the lives of abused children. Since 1996, 4,831 children have been interviewed at the CAC. Of that number, 3,427, or 71 percent, were investigated by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office. For the employees who have been involved in these cases, it is clear that working with these children is not just a job; it is a passion. They truly care about the children they work with and getting the best possible outcomes for them. CPSO employees have also volunteered to participate in awareness and fund raising events such as the Shine Flournoy Golf Tournament at Mallard Cove, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and the annual Building for Bucks sandcastle building contest hosted by L'Auberge Casino Resort.

Swift is a strong supporter of area youth, and because of his initiatives with future workforce and leadership development, the Alliance/SWLA is the only business organization of its kind that involves high school age young people in the legislative agenda, allowing them to be exposed to the legislative process making them realize their importance and the significance of their opinions. Through his support, young people receive guidance, leadership development, career exploration, and civic engagement opportunities to facilitate their success and involvement in the community. He has facilitated opportunities for young people to receive hands-on experiences with possible career options, as well as opportunities to bring issues that are of concern to them to Baton Rouge. Swift is also a strong advocate in bringing leadership practices to young children as he promotes the Leader in Me program in the area. The program, based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, produces transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement among teachers and parents. Better yet, Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy. As President and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, which combines the Chamber Southwest, The Chamber Foundation, and the Southwest Louisiana Partnership, Swift has also been instrumental in bringing the voice of children and family service agencies into the business sector, allowing non-profit representation in The Chamber/SWLA's Board of Directors

For more information about Family & Youth and their programs, call 337-436-9533, visit www.fyca.org, or like Family & Youth on Facebook.