Lynn alumna is up for CNN's Hero of the Year award

Siskowski, a 2004 Lynn graduate, has dedicated her career to caregiving and caregivers.
Lynn alumna is up for CNN's Hero of the Year award

Published Nov. 14, 2012

Lynn University alumna Connie Siskowski (Ph.D. ’04), already one of CNN’s Top 10 2012 Heroes of the Year, is one of 10 people from across the globe, and only one of five from the United States, in the running for CNN’s Hero of the Year for 2012 award to be announced live on “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” on Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. (Eastern Time). It will be aired across CNN’s global networks and hosted by Anderson Cooper.

Siskowski is the creator of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY). The Boca Raton-based nonprofit organization is the only organization of its kind in the United States for addressing the issues surrounding the silent, vulnerable and hidden population, conservatively estimated to exceed 1.4 million children, who provide care for family members who are unable to manage life independently.

The award will be determined by the number of votes each candidate gets on CNN’s official website for the award, heroes.cnn.com.  Individuals can vote up to 10 times a day, every day. Votes can be cast now through Nov. 28. “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” will highlight the top 10 heroes, who each receive a $50,000 grant for their work to improve the lives of others. At the end of the show, Cooper will announce the Hero of the Year, as voted by the public, and the honoree will receive an additional $250,000 to continue his/her work.

Her doctoral studies at Lynn helped Siskowski discover the magnitude of this otherwise overlooked population of children caregivers and the impact that their role at home has on their ability to learn. She was already familiar with this reality because as an 11-year-old, she cared for her grandfather when he developed heart problems and needed medication round the clock—she would sleep in the living room to be near him. 

Read more about Siskowski in the 2010 Lynn Magazine feature, "The Littlest Caregivers."

More on Siskowski

Connie_ SiskowskiConnie Siskowski, a 2004 Ph.D. graduate from Lynn University, has dedicated her career to caregiving and caregivers. She received her nursing degree from Johns Hopkins and went on to become a cardiac nurse. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from New York University and worked in hospital administration, long-term care and hospice (when she moved to Florida), consulted and even ran her own medical company.

She focused her decades of experience in this area on helping children who provide caregiving to adults when she founded the American Association for Caregiving Youth (AACY). Its mission is to increase awareness about the effects on children who provide care for family members who are ill, injured, elderly and/or disabled while fostering the replication of the Caregiving Youth Project model within Florida and the US; to provide direct and indirect support services for caregiving youth and their families; and, to establish the Institute on Youth Caregiving.

As the founder of the AACY and advocate for caregivers, Siskowski can discuss the issues related to the personal and financial stresses caregivers deal with and how others can support them in their efforts to care for others. She can also speak to the growth in family caregivers and what this means for society as a whole.