A longtime ProKids board member, a founding Friends of Children Society member and an ongoing supporter of ProKids, Lawrence Hawkins was a true champion for children. We were saddened recently by the news of his death. Here is a reflection from Executive Director Tracy Cook:
Lawrence Hawkins respected and adored children. Most adults love children, but fewer respect them and what they are capable of. Mr. Hawkins communicated that respect in every interaction with the young students at his dojo, his karate studio. He was one of the most advanced practitioners of karate and always addressed even the youngest child he taught as Mr. or Ms. He was smitten with his wonderful grandchildren and regularly expressed deep admiration for their abilities, character and determination.
In his role as a ProKids board member and president, we had discussions about the essential nature of our work. We would return to the idea, time and again, that everything we do is about human potential – unleashing that of our staff and volunteers to advocate so that our children could ultimately realize their amazing gifts. He recognized that families and our community cherishing every child was key. Mr. Hawkins cared deeply about the opportunities for, and development of, every child.
He was an accomplished person who seemed to excel at everything he turned his attention to and realized so many of his own gifts. A business executive, who developed that career while earning his law degree. A founder of a karate school. A leader in the community and one of the proudest fathers you would ever meet.
Mr. Hawkins exhibited strength of mind, body, and soul. He encouraged those around him to keep moving forward and to optimize their efforts in whatever they were pursuing with humor and insight. Mr. Hawkins’ nature was to share what he had learned – to teach. My husband was a student of Mr. Hawkins at his dojo. After he reached a certain level, he had the opportunity to train directly with Mr. Hawkins for the first time. He described it as a lesson he would always remember because it was “like getting hit with very precise bags of rocks.”
Mr. Hawkins taught us at ProKids too. One of his lessons influences the organizational design of ProKids to this day and has been key to our growth to serve more waiting children. We are grateful that Mr. Hawkins’ life impacted ProKids and the lives of the children we serve.