By Timithie NORMAN
Camille Levee, the dynamic and joyful executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids for the last five and a half years, announced recently in a letter to the board of directors that she would be leaving the organization and has accepted a position as head of a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Payson, Ariz.
Glendale Healthy Kids (GHK), founded in 1993, helps provide low- or no-cost health care and health education for uninsured children in Glendale. With a network of partner dentists, physicians and educators, GHK refers children needing health services to those who can assist.
Levee came to GHK in 2006, a time when the organization was looking for structure, professionalism and growth in the community. During her tenure she has widely expanded the recognition of GHK throughout Glendale, created additional educational components for children and parents covering dental care, asthma, nutrition and more, and started and maintained several signature fundraisers for the organization.
“When I came to Glendale Healthy Kids, it was looking for stability, branding, infrastructure,” Levee said. “I think I did that and a little more.”
Levee, in addition to raising money and awareness for children’s health care, oversaw the start of GHK’s endowment, which is now three years old with approximately $90,000. The endowment is especially important because GHK is an organization that does not accept government funding, allowing its leaders to make decisions on how to best serve the community without state or federal string attached.
“We can take extenuating circumstances into account, like if a mom makes $5 more than the services cutoff,” Levee explained. “We deal with the family as it needs help. We just have to do a lot of friend-raising, fundraising, and making opportunities for the public to give.”
Though she will miss the organization and its work, Levee said it is the relationships she forged in Glendale that she is sad to leave behind.
“She made some really deep relationship here,” said friend and immediate past-president of GHK Elizabeth Manasserian. “We [the board] were there through thick and thin. We came through for her and she came through with us.”
Manasserian, like most who have worked with Levee, has fond memories of her upbeat personality.
“She is always smiling and happy, and regardless of what the day will bring, she decides it will be a great day,” Manasserian said. “Camille is a person who personifies a wonderful, positive attitude.”
Levee will bring her positive attitude to Time Out Inc., an emergency and transitional shelter for women and children victims of domestic abuse in Payson. A victim of childhood domestic violence herself, the cause has always been close to Levee’s heart.
“I know how people feel in that situation,” she said. “If I can give a little bit of hope as someone who has been there and done that, it really helps.”
In her time at GHK, Levee received multiple awards including the Chairman’s Award from the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Senator Bob Margett’s “Woman of the Year,” the Jewel of Glendale Women of Courage Award from Glendale’s Commission on the Status of Women, and the Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year from the state legislature’s Women in Business program, among others.