CSEA/VOICE activist recognized as “Woman of Distinction”



ROCHESTER — CSEA/VOICE Local 100A Monroe Chapter Representative Armett Barnes was recently recognized as a “Woman of Distinction.”

The award is presented by the New York State Legislative Women’s Caucus to extraordinary women who make our communities stronger. One or more recipients are chosen from each Assembly district, with Assemblymembers leading the way in honoring the nominees. Barnes also received the award in 2021.

Barnes was nominated by Assemblymember Sarah Clark, who represents Barnes’ district.

“This form of recognition helps me to strive that much more,” said Barnes. “It definitely makes me see things from a different view, meaning that my community thought that much of me; that [Clark] thought that much of me to honor me as the Woman of Distinction.”

Barnes, a Group Family Child Care provider for 13 years, has had a fully attended program for the past several years. In addition to the 16 children she and her staff care for in her Irondequoit child care program, as a Voice of Organized Independent Childcare Educator (VOICE) Chapter Representative, she advocates on behalf of about 1,500 Monroe County child care providers.

Since becoming a VOICE member and using the education benefits offered through union membership, Barnes has received her Child Development Associate professional credentials, recertified her accreditation and received her associate’s degree in early childhood education, all with the support, both financially and morally, of CSEA.

Barnes emphasized how much of a hand CSEA/VOICE has in her success.

“It’s continued support and definitely the professional development courses and tuition assistance that were negotiated in our contract that has helped me,” said Barnes. “It helps enhance me as a person, which in turn helps my business.”

In addition to her work, Barnes cares for her own family and is active in her community.


Assemblymember Clark nominated Barnes after getting to know her through her activism and her work on behalf of our union and her community.

“I nominated Armett Barnes as a ‘Woman of Distinction’ recognized by the New York State Assembly because she is a successful entrepreneur and fierce child care champion, who goes above and beyond to provide exceptional care and support for children and families in our community,” said Assemblymember Clark. “When the pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside down in 2020, Armett was one of the limited providers who continued providing care for the children of frontline workers as they faced some of the most difficult months of their lives. Just recently, she expanded her hours into the evening to accommodate different work schedules.

With support of CSEA/VOICE, I have seen the ways she has adapted to meet safety requirements from the state while also removing systemic barriers, and financial burdens for families by providing diapers; wipes; clothing and PPE.

She is also a mentor to so many other providers, an advocate for the child care ecosystem as a whole, and a lifesaver to so many parents. We are fortunate to have Armett and her tireless commitment to caring for children in the Rochester area, and bringing awareness to the needs of families and providers in our state.”

While Barnes clearly has accomplished much already, she said her work doesn’t stop here. If anything, expectations are even higher.

“With that type of recognition, that expectation, the bar has been raised,” said Barnes. “I will strive to continue to meet the bar set.”

— Madison Ruffo and Jill Asencio


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