Diane Gubatayao of Ketchikan is one of four recipients of The Champions for Kids award by Alaska Children's Trust for 2022.
A ceremony was held on Sept. 14 in Anchorage to officially give the award to the four winners; the other three recipients were Linda Fraini of Fairbanks, and Abbe Hensley and Likka McCauley of Anchorage. A celebratory reception for Gubatayao is scheduled for Sept. 29 in the Ted Ferry Civic Center at 6 p.m.
Gubatayao spoke to the Daily News this week about her feelings on the award.
"I thought 'Wow ... what did I do to deserve such an honor?' Because I know there are people ... in our community all over the state that do amazing things for kids," Gubatayao said. "So, I'm just kind of blown away to be honest.
"I don't deserve this alone. This is a community thing ... it's nothing you can do by yourself," Gubatayao also said. "Let's put it that way. It's all about building relationships with the people that can make a difference."
WISH Community Services Director Arika Paquette nominated Gubatayao for the award in May, stating in her nomination form that Gubatayao, "Advocates for intervention and prevention of child abuse and neglect in Ketchikan through involvement in projects across the scope of the socio-ecological model."
Paquette told members of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District Board of Education and others that she would be nominating Gubatayao for the award and informed these groups that they could do the same.
ACT Communications Director Kaila Pfister discussed why ACT chose Gubatayao to be one of the winners in a phone call with the Daily News.
"Everyone in (Diane's) community that we've reached out to has spoken so highly of her," Pfister said. "... it was pretty clear that Diane was really what we were looking for when it comes to a champion for kids."
Gubatayao also was given $1,000 which she will be dividing evenly between Ketchikan Youth for Change and Ketchikan High School student Lily Gosnell to create a "zen den" for students at the high school.
Around 25 individuals throughout Alaska were nominated for the award that is given out yearly, according to Pfister.
The award "recognizes individuals that have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working to prevent child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive, and nurturing communities," Pfister said.