2018 Benefit & Inspiration Awards: Our Top 5 Highlights

From all of us at Children’s Rights, THANK YOU for supporting the 2018 Children’s Rights Benefit & Inspiration Awards. We are thrilled to share that – with your help – we raised over $1.3 million, an all-time record for the organization. Your enthusiasm and support for our mission drive us forward, and we are grateful. Thank you.

We are also excited to share some of our favorite moments from the evening. Check out our top 5 highlights below:

This night was all about protecting kids, and to witness the courage of Sixto Cancel and Candice Chachkin as they shared their own experiences growing up in foster care impacted everyone in the room. Sixto talked about finding relatives on his biological father’s side when he was 26 years old. “No child should have to wait 26 years to know he has a family that loves him,” Sixto said. That’s one reason he founded his company Think of Us: to let youth transitioning out of foster care know they’re not alone.

Candice bravely opened up about the abuse she suffered while in foster care and the pain of being labeled “unadoptable” just because she spoke up. But today, she’s an inspiration. “I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey,” she said. “If any step had been different, I wouldn’t have met my mother.”

Left: Sixto Cancel; Right: Candice Chachkin

This year, we reached another new record: thanks to you, we sold 400 tickets! And while you were at it, all our friends looked fabulous on the red carpet. Check out our photo album from the evening here.

Plus, those who couldn’t be there in person supported us in the digital sphere. Thank you to Chelsea Clinton for the Twitter shout out and to everyone who followed along on social media! (Don’t miss our benefit Insta stories here.)

Left: Padma Lakshmi; Right: Leslie Odom Jr. and Jordan Roth.

On every seat, each guest received a gift: Standing Up for Childrena set of 4 books all about Children’s Rights. We hope you enjoy them and follow Jordan Roth’s advice: pass the books along to someone who needs to know about Children’s Rights’ work! Stay tuned for when we publish content from the books online.

Bonus: Don’t miss our new video here!

These individuals exemplify our mission: Protecting Kids, Providing Hope. Each in their own way, they have innovated broken systems so that children can live safer, healthier lives.

Sixto Cancel spoke about the importance of organizations like Children’s Rights that watch states, counties, and child welfare agencies to hold them accountable for protecting kids. Bryan Breckenridge, Executive Director of Box.org, pointed out that everyone in the room has the power to get behind important work and support causes that benefit children.

And Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said that it’s often the “small cruelties” that keep you up at night. Behind the news reports of thousands of children separated from their families, there are human stories—like the mother separated from her son who worried that without his glasses case, his glasses would break and he wouldn’t be able to see. As Padma Lakshmi said in her award presentation: “Lee, on behalf on every immigrant in this country, thank you. You are the driving force behind the lawsuit against family separation.”

Sixto Cancel, Lee Gelernt, and Bryan Breckenridge

Jordan Roth put it best: “Sometimes, don’t you just want to sue the government? Children’s Rights literally sues governments to force them to be better to our children.”

Every single person in that room showed up for Children’s Rights because you care about the well-being of children. For supporting Children’s Rights’ relentless advocacy and legal action on behalf of kids, thank you.

Executive Director Sandy Santana at the Children’s Rights 2018 Benefit & Inspiration Awards