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Heroes Ball Set – Voting Open on People’s Choice Awards

The City Sentinel, Staff Report 

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will conduct its annual Heroes Ball Friday, July 30. The event happens each summer to recognize those Oklahomans who have worked to improve the quality of life for the state’s youngest residents and to raise money for OICA’s ongoing mission of child advocacy.

After last year’s award-winning virtual Heroes Ball, this year’s event will have both in-person and virtual options. The event will be held at venues in Oklahoma City and Tulsa connected by a live feed, and across the Zoom platform for those who wish to enjoy the event from home.

The Oklahoma City venue will be at the historic Hilton Skirvin downtown, while the Tulsa venue will be the Greenwood Cultural Center.

Tickets for both locations, the virtual option, and sponsorship options are on sale now at

OICA’s CEO, Joe Dorman, said child advocates are excited to meet again in person. “Just about everyone is looking forward to seeing each other face-to-face,” he said. “For those who are still uncomfortable in crowds, we wanted to provide a virtual option like last year’s Heroes Ball.”

Dorman emphasized that the event is always special because of the honorees celebrated at the ball. Among the most prestigious of the awards presented are the Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards.

“The Anne Roberts People’s Choice Award is given annually to an Oklahoma individual and an organization that the public feels deserve special acknowledgment,” said Dorman. 

“We accept nominations from the public and finalists are narrowed down by a committee of OICA board members. Advocates get to vote on who receives this annual recognition.”

The awards, named for OICA’s longest serving executive director, wholly in the hands of the people. Nominations were made over the organization’s website. Finalists will submit videos and biographical information that will be available for interested individuals to view when they cast their votes.

The following are finalists for the 2021 Anne Roberts People’s Choice Award:


  • Melissa Ahlgrim – Oklahoma State Department of Education
  • Cheri Fuller – OK Messages Project
  • Christina Kasti – Bright Horizons
  • Julie Lackey – LeadLearnLive
  • Carolyn MacAllister – Resilient Payne County
  • Taylar Smith – foster child advocate


  • The Arc of Oklahoma
  • The Care Center
  • Licensed Child Care Association of Oklahoma
  •  Little Read Wagon 
  • Oklahoma Interviewing Services 
  • SoonerStart

Those wishing to help select the winners in each category should point their browser here and cast their vote. 

The finalists’ bio and video will be on the voting page. Voting will be open until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 30. The individual and organizational winners will be announced toward the conclusion of the 2021 Heroes Ball, which begins at 6 p.m. CDT that evening.

To learn more about how to purchase tickets, donate auction items, or secure a sponsorship, please visit or call (405) 236-5437.

About OICA: According to the OICA website, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. The group’s mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

Rep Joe Dorman
Melissa Ahlgrim is among the finalist for the 2021 Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards. Facebook photo
The Licensed Child Care Association of Oklahoma is among the organization finalist for the 2021 Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards. Facebook photo