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Cribs for Kids holds Women of Achievement Awards

Women of Achievement Awards celebrates accomplishments
Women of Achievement Awards celebrates accomplishments 04:00

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Hundreds of local women are being celebrated for making an impact in their communities and the organization behind it is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

You have to reserve one of Pittsburgh's biggest ballrooms to accommodate the amount of momentum, the sheer quantity of ideas and insight among the attendees. The 16th annual Women of Achievement Awards celebrates accomplished females making important contributions and new organizations that support these non-profit efforts.

The honorees are recognized by the host organization, Cribs for Kids, marking its 25th anniversary.

Cribs for Kids CEO and founder Judy Bannon herself was an honoree 17 years ago, and when that group stopped the event, "I said, 'Can we do this as a fundraiser for Cribs for Kids?' So that's what we did."

"It's sort of a two-pronged thing," she added. "We honor them and we spread awareness about our mission."

Safe sleep and education are the cornerstones of Cribs for Kids.

"We started out in 1998 as Cribs for Kids in Allegheny County," Bannon said. 

They had the support of law enforcement and government officials and they all knew the number of babies dying every month was too high.

"Just off-handedly, we said, 'Can it be as simple as they can't afford a crib?" said Bannon.

The answer appeared to be yes, and by 2004, "Numbers of babies dying went from 18 to four. So people from all over the country said, 'we have to do your program.'"

They manufacture their own cribette with messaging in the design that's a constant reminder to any caregiver: "It says ABC. Alone on my back in a crib."

The first partner? The Health Department of New York City and now there are 1,800 partners, in every state in the nation and in Guam, and Isreal providing free products to families.

They also market toy kits that are more than just playthings for the little ones who may become parents someday.

"So we can start changing the culture in little girls, when they get that first baby doll, it should be alone on its back in a crib," said Bannon.

It's a simple plan to protect generations of babies.

"And we have grown into this nationwide organization touching lives all over the country," Bannon said.

She said the work has been rewarding, and said, "I'll never retire." 

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