MKaccepting the awardThe Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship Program recognized Storycatchers Founder and Artistic Director, Meade Palidofsky, with a 2016 Schweitzer Leadership Award. Each year, this award honors an individual who has done significant work to mitigate the social determinants of health in the community, and whose commitment to service has influenced and inspired others.

Colleen McLoughlin, HMPRG Schweitzer Fellows Program Coordinator, with the 2016 awardee to Meade Palidofsky.
Photo by Mike Kelly Photography

HMPRG and the Fellowship Program selected Palidofsky for her decades of unstinting service to court-involved and otherwise marginalized youth in Illinois. She received this honor for developing her uniquely effective model of trauma-informed creative youth development, which was recognized by the White House in 2013 with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Palidofsky received the Schweitzer award at a reception on April 29, 2016 at Loyola University. Participants in Storycatchers’ programs presented a brief performance demonstrating the efficacy of the work as part of Palidofsky’s acceptance speech. She reflected upon the many examples of how Storycatchers has made a difference in the lives of traumatized youth. “I have seen a lawyer be inspired to take the case of a young girl who danced in front of her at the Detention Center and get her a sentence of six months instead of 40 years,” Palidofsky remembered. “I have seen judges make a different decision because they came to a show and saw a young person as a teenager with potential rather than as a criminal who needs to be taken off the street. I have seen painful moments become universal truths when they are sung and become part of a new and more joyful memory.”

Longtime board member Art Kohrman, Professor of Pediatrics & Preventive Medicine Emeritus of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, presented the award to Palidofsky.

SFA Group 2