A long-awaited night: 2022 Benefit & Inspiration Awards

Photo: David Handschuh

For the first time in three years, hundreds of Children’s Rights most committed supporters and advocates for children gathered for our annual Benefit & Inspiration Awards at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. With the backdrop of the glittering Manhattan skyline, we celebrated the lasting impact our community has on the lives of young people across the country.

Boldy Standing Up for Kids

The event honored four people who shared their stories and commitment to improving the lives of children—so they can have the childhood they deserve.

Photo: David Handschuh

“When I think about why we are all here – it is to have the backs of children in this country.  Because of your support, instead of moving night to night kids grow with families that support them. Instead of struggling with depression or being over medicated, kids get the mental health care they need. Instead of being discriminated against kids are free to be their best selves. Children’s Rights changes the trajectory of their lives.”

Megan Shattuck

Head of Strategy,
US People Advisory, Teneo

Photo: David Handschuh

“My goals, aspirations, and dreams of systems change would not be possible without Children’s Rights. This organization is relentlessly and unapologetically bringing pressure to systems that have for far too long have been complacent.  They are bringing power back to the people who have felt powerless. They are sharing power to elevate and tackle the most pressing issues that our communities, families, and children face today.”

Bobbi Taylor

Lived Experience
Engagement Consultant

“Working with Children’s Rights has opened my eyes to the harms done to LGBTQ+ kids in government systems, where they are overrepresented. Children’s Rights is leading a movement to ensure explicit protections for LGBTQ+ foster youth and foster parents and I am proud to be a part of that movement.”

Greg Louganis

American Olympic Gold Medalist, LGBTQIA advocate, author, and actor

Photo: Robert Braunfeld

“Tonight, I decided to write a letter to my younger self.

Dear Alycia,

You will make it! You will get through the tumultuous childhood experiences, absentee parents, homelessness, abuse, and the lack of education. You will become disciplined, focused, determined, and successful. And just when you think life could not get any better, one day, you will be standing in front of 350+ people telling your story of triumph with a humbled heart expressing your gratitude and thanks to everyone who supported you and helped you get to this point.”

Alycia Michelle Guichard

Global Corporate Counsel for 
Verizon Business Group

Childhood Is Our First Right

The evening featured video tributes and remembrances from actor and activist Rosario Dawson; actor, choreographer, and dancer, Rosie Perez, who spent years in the foster care system; and Grammy award-winning producer and Children’s Rights board member Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean.

The night was a stunning reminder that every child has a right to a safe, loving childhood. Childhood should be a time of innocence, discovery, and joy. Children should be free to be who they are. And they should have the resources and services they need while in the love and care of their families and communities.

But every day, children in state care face discrimination, abuse, and neglect at the hands of child welfare, juvenile legal, education, and healthcare systems responsible for their care. For over 25 years, Children’s Rights has been holding governments accountable—and advocating for children to have the chance to simply be kids.

Children’s Rights never does this work alone. Thank you to everyone in our community for being part of the movement to reimagine better futures for children for generations to come.