AWARD RECIPIENT: (From left) Robin Schutz, coordinator for Great Start Livingston, Gavin Johnson, principal of Brighton High School and recipient of the Champion for Children Award, and Holly Naylor, LACASA’s CAP Council coordinator.

LACASA’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council recently announced the 2019 Champion for Children Award recipient during the group’s “Plant a Pinwheel Celebration” at the Howell Carnegie Library.

Gavin Johnson was named the winner in appreciation for the encouragement, support and guidance he provides for the students and families at Brighton High School and in Livingston County.

The Champion for Children award is a joint effort between the CAP Council and the Great Start Collaborative of Livingston County to recognize outstanding individuals who devote significant time and energy to helping children in Livingston County.

Johnson is the principal at Brighton High School, and his nomination was accompanied by letters from the Brighton High School leadership class.

His nomination stood out to the selection committee due to the consistent message from all of the students. Letters conveyed that Johnson takes the time to get to know and listen to students, and has created an atmosphere where students see him as a consistent source of guidance and support, not as a rule enforcer or person to fear.

One student stated that Johnson “has always been the guy to turn to when the going gets tough. He is there for you when times are low and he is also there to keep you level when things are going good.”

Another student shared that “I’ve seen him sit with kids for hours in his office trying to get to the bottom of what is going wrong in their life and finding ways to make their life easier. He sees potential in every kid and makes sure to let them and their parents know he recognizes their success.”

Holly Naylor, LACASA’s CAP Council coordinator, said, “Our children and our young adults know when we are listening. They know when we really care and when we are just going through the motions. In those moments of interaction is when we truly see the Power of One—one individual, and one interaction repeated over and over, creates a life-changing influence. Gavin Johnson has this kind of influence. This is why we selected him as the 2019 Champion for Children.”

“Many of us think of child abuse prevention as being only direct intervention, or working with high-risk families, or donating time or money to organizations such as the CAP Council.” Naylor said. “But child abuse prevention can take many forms, including being the positive role model and consistent support person for a child or young adult.”

April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, is when CAP launches its annual Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign in Livingston County and hosts the Plant a Pinwheel Celebration.

For questions about CAP or any of its programs, contact Holly Naylor at or call 517-548-1350.