‘Lost a legend’: Beloved youth advocate remembered as passionate, kind

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Friends and community members in Westfield are remembering Christine Brown as a woman who was passionate, kind and positively impacted the lives of children around her through her work.

Brown, who was an early intervention advocate with the Westfield Youth Assistance Program for nearly 10 years, died Aug. 9 while on a family vacation with her husband Andy and their two sons, Ethan and Adam, after suffering a medical emergency two days prior. She was rushed to a local hospital and died with her family by her side.

Those who knew Brown are quick to recall her dedication and ongoing work with youth and their families in the area through the WYAP. The organization was formed in 2009 to serve as an early intervention advocate for youth ages 3-17 who are facing challenging life circumstances, according to its website.

Christine was one of the most genuine, kind and loving friends anyone could ask for,” said Tricia Akers, director of the Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program. “She changed so many children’s lives in Westfield with her tireless efforts to support her kiddos.”

Steve Latour, CEO of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and president of WYAP’s Westfield board of directors, said there are few people that care as passionately for children and families than Christine.

“Our program lost a legend,” Latour said. “The impact that Christine made on WYAP is immeasurable. We will give great consideration on how to continue her life’s work.”

Other past board members also reflected fondly on Brown’s contributions. Janelle Campbell, immediate past president with the WYAP’s board of directors, described Brown as a “real-life angel in superhero’s flesh.”

She changed the lives of so many people and children in our community, and we will forever hold a piece of her in our hearts. She was more than someone I volunteered with, she was a dear friend, and I will always love and miss her,” Campbell said.

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook worked alongside Brown for nearly 10 years to help support WYAP and said he joins her colleagues and the many families she helped in shared grief.

Christine is responsible for impacting the lives of hundreds of kids,” Cook said. “She was a true angel on earth, so she is well prepared for her destination.”

Brown’s work with children was also recognized by Westfield Washington Schools, which had a population of more than 8,800 students in 2022, according to data from the Indiana Dept. of Education.

“Christine Brown was a shining example of servant leadership. I can’t count the times I called Christine, many times after hours, to discuss supporting one of our families in the school district,” said Kyle Miller, coordinator of social and emotional learning for Westfield Washington Schools. “She would drop whatever she was doing, roll up her sleeves, and work finding the right resource for the right family at the right time. I mourn with all those who knew her, were impacted by her generous spirit, and she will be greatly missed in our community.”

But Brown’s impact on those around her and individuals that she encountered is clear.

“Christine loved people well. She was genuine, selfless and passionate about helping others,” said Mindy Garcia, a Realtor and broker associate with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Carmel. “I will always wonder how she knew when I needed a kind word or encouragement because she had a way of reaching out at just that moment. I think the best way to honor her memory is to treat others with respect and love.”

Visitation for Brown will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at Meeks Mortuary and Crematory, 7901 W. Isanogel Road, Muncie. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 26 at the same location.

Christine Brown, left, talks with an attendee at a local event. Brown died Aug. 9. (File photo)

About Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program

The Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program was developed in the fall of 2009 as a pilot program in Westfield. It expanded to Noblesville in 2012 and Fishers in 2014. Hamilton Heights followed Fishers in 2014 as Carmel and Sheridan opened offices the following year. Early intervention advocates in each community work under the appointment of Hamilton County Circuit Judge Paul Felix and Hamilton County Superior Court 1 Judge Michael Casati. Source: Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program website, youthassistance.org.

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