Sharon Pierce, The Villages of Indiana president and CEO, recently received the inaugural Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy (IARCA) Cathleen Graham Life Time of Service Award for 25 or more years of service to vulnerable children.

The award honors long-time IARCA Executive Director Cathleen Graham’s legacy and the meaningful work she accomplished for children and families. Pierce received the award at the IARCA Annual Conference in September.

“To receive an award with Cathy Graham’s name on it is so very humbling. Cathy and I have been privileged to work on behalf of Indiana’s most vulnerable children, together, for nearly 30 years,” Pierce said, “I feel blessed to be able to be immersed in a life work I love and that brings such deep meaning to each day. The children we are honored to serve and the dedicated staff and adults who invest in them are the true heroes of child welfare.”

With over 45 years of child welfare experience, Pierce is a steadfast advocate for children and families by championing the rights of vulnerable children. She began her career in child welfare after receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1970 and M.A. in counseling in 1972 from Ball State University.

Prior to joining to The Villages in 1992, Pierce worked as the regional director for Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois for six years and then as the director of child welfare for the State of Indiana. She is the current president of the IARCA Institute for Excellence Board, serving in the role for the past ten years. She also serves on both the Child Welfare League of America and Prevent Child Abuse America national board of directors.

“The Villages Board of Directors and staff congratulate Sharon on this honor and for her dedication, heart and tireless support of the vulnerable and deserving children and families she has graciously served,” Daniel Phair, board of directors chairman, said.

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