Kristin Fairholm: Strength, Vision, Commitment

Date: October 21st, 2016

Each year, when we put out the call for award nominations, we invite people to provide letters of support for the nominees. It’s always a pleasure to learn more about our awardees—and all nominees—through the different perspectives of the people with whom they have worked or encountered through the years.

This year’s Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award honors Kristin Fairhom, the Executive Director of EyesOpenIowa (EOI). Kristin, who became a mother at 17, was nominated by the EOI staff, who wrote, “We know that Kristin will probably be embarrassed that we are nominating her for this award. If she is the recipient, she will likely focus on the efforts of our EOI team in her acceptance. We want everyone to know, however, about Kristin’s own strength, vision, and commitment.”

Kristin Fairholm has been the Executive Director of EOI since 2011. She previously served as Director of EOI’s Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, assisting grantees and school districts across the state to implement teen pregnancy prevention programs. She has led the agency’s work under the Working to Institutionalize Sex Education (WISE), provided visionary direction in developing a cutting edge teen texting program for teen pregnancy prevention (, as well as many other teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. She helped develop the Certified Sexual Health Educator program—the first in Iowa—that trains and ensures that educators are given the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to properly and without bias educate young people with sex education and other sensitive topics.

In addition to what her staff shared about her in their nomination, other kind words were in no short supply when it came to people talking about Kristin. Themes of passion, humility, and commitment appeared throughout. While we will not be sharing the complete letters of support, we would like to highlight some quotes shared about Kristin, a shining example of an outstanding former teen parent and someone we are honored to call a colleague.

“We could not think of a former young parent more worthy of recognition and this award than Kristin Fairholm. She used her personal experience to motivate her passion towards helping others, and her impact has been profound.” – Deb Hauser and Nora Gelperin, Advocates for Youth

“[Kristin is not] someone who needs accolades or trophies to set on her desk, but rather a quiet leader who has built an incredible EyesOpenIowa TEAM over the last decade. Kristin sees the value in teamwork and collaboration and reaches out to other state organizations and departments to work collaboratively on projects for Iowan youth and families.” – Joni Spencer, Together For Youth Supervisor, Allen Women’s Health

“[Over the past 20 years], I have observed Kristin’s ongoing commitment to making a difference and offering services and projects that will impact individuals for the greater good. She believes in the importance of support and education and continuously works toward this goal for individuals and families.” – Suzanne Renfrow, Parenting Way

Healthy Teen Network and our members will celebrate Kristin’s achievement by presenting this award on Tuesday, November 15, during the Awards Luncheon at our annual national conference, Roles, Relationships, and Relevance in the Changing Landscape of Adolescent Health in Las Vegas.

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About the Author

Healthy Teen Network envisions a world where all adolescents and young adults lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Founded in 1979, we promote better outcomes for adolescents and young adults by advancing social change, cultivating innovation, and strengthening youth-supporting professionals and organizations. We serve as a leading national membership organization (501c3) for adolescent health professionals and organizations, promoting a unique and holistic perspective—we call it Youth 360°—to improve the health and well-being of young people.

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