Well, we’re not surprised. We’ve been writing about Connie Siskowski and her pioneering work with care giving youth for years now—and she was just named a CNN Hero, a year-long initiative that “honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others.” CNN Heroes are selected from viewer nominations submitted at CNNHeroes.com and the number of nominations from all over the world can exceed 10,000.

I met Connie years ago through Soroptimist—she has always been always been quiet and unassuming except when it comes to her passion, which is helping support the “hidden” population of kids burdened with caring for an ill family member. Her organization offers school, out of school and at-home services, including skills building, social worker access to other programs, overnight camps for respite, in-home tutoring, and outside activities. 

A critical care RN, Siskowski moved to Boca Raton from New Jersey in 1990 and with help from other community leaders in the Boca Community Interfaith Coalition, launched the Boca Raton Interfaith in Action organization to provide volunteer support services to people who were homebound and family caregivers. That organization later became Volunteers for the Homebound and Family Caregivers and, in 2004, Siskowski earned a doctorate at Lynn University “to have a bigger voice for family caregivers.”

As president and founder of the American Association of Caregiving Youth—she has already been awarded a lifetime Ashoka Fellowship and a Purpose Prize for her efforts—Siskowski is leading a systemic change to offer support to kids who care for others.

Siskowski can’t tell you why she has followed a path of compassion and caring, just that she has to. 

“It’s something I just cannot not do,” she says. “Some people might call it a calling. I just know that if we as a community can come together and find ways to make life better for someone, should we not do that?”

Spoken like a real hometown hero. We are proud of you, Connie; you deserve this national recognition.