Scholastic Parent & Child magazine announced the winners of its third annual Family of the Year contest. The Burgesses were chosen from hundreds of entries for their compassion and commitment to rescuing and fostering canines in need. As first-prize winners, the Burgess family will receive $20,000 in college savings bonds and be featured on the cover of Scholastic Parent & Child’s June/July 2012 issue, released on Monday, May 21. The Family of the Year contest celebrates families across the country who are giving back and paying it forward within their communities.
The inspiring efforts of Vice-Mayor Jon Burgess and his family to give back to their community and, more specifically, the canine community made them the perfect choice to be named this year’s Family of the Year, said a press release distributed by the magazine. Leading the pack is mom Charelle Burgess, a pet adoption and rescue activist who co-heads This is the Dog!, a local nonprofit organization devoted to finding homes for abandoned and stray animals. Since she joined the organization twelve years ago, more than 2,000 animals have been placed in safe homes throughout Miami-Dade County. To date, the Burgesses have fostered approximately 25 dogs and have three dogs of their own. Charelle logs 40+ hours a week volunteering and organizing monthly fundraisers, including local stand outs like “Yappy Hour,” the “Strut Your Mutt” dog parade and an annual “Grrrrage” Sale. Dad Jon, City of Homestead Vice-Mayor and a private boat captain—socializes the aggressive strays on pack hikes with a designated trainer. And even the youngest of the pack, six-year-old J.R., is making his mark. On his 4th birthday, J.R. asked his party guests to bring donations instead of gifts; $100 went directly to the mutts. With pet overpopulation at an all-time high in their South Florida zip code, the Burgesses stress the critical importance of spaying and neutering and actively promote adoption from shelters rather than high-end breeders.
“We are thrilled to recognize the Burgess family as our 2012 Family of the Year,” says Nick Friedman, editor-in-chief, Scholastic Parent & Child. “They’re active role models for their community when it comes to good pet ownership while also working to find solutions to improve the quality of lives for the thousands of homeless, sheltered, and endangered animals. They give a voice to those who have none and for that we honor them.”
Vice-Mayor Jon Burgess’ wife Charelle Burgess says “We’re helping animals who are truly innocent bystanders. They didn’t ask to be abandoned. Our mission is to connect a dog that needs to be loved with a family that wants to love a dog. That’s what’s so special for me.”
Scholastic Parent & Child is one of today’s leading parenting magazines, reaching more than 7.5 million parents. Parent & Child was created for families with children ages birth to 12, and one hundred percent of the editorial content is dedicated to informing parents on topics that serve the entire family, including child development, well being, health, activities, travel, fashion, and food. To visit the magazine’s online site, log on to www.scholastic.com/parents.