Yesterday, we finished shooting the video presentation we’ll be showing at this year’s Children’s Rights benefit. It was an emotional occasion — a visit with three of the former foster care children in New Jersey whose case madenational headlines after they were found starving at their adoptive parents’ home near Camden, New Jersey, in 2003.
Underlining one of the themes of this year’s benefit — our third, to be held at New York City’s Gotham Hall on October 14 — this year’s film will focus on the results of Children’s Rights’ efforts to reform failing child welfare systems and improve the lives of the abused and neglected children who depend on them. It’s hard to think of a more striking embodiment of the difference that proper care and protection makes in children’s lives than these three boys. When they were removed from their adoptive parents’ home, they were far too small for their ages, skeletal in their appearance, disoriented in their demeanor. Now, all three are football players. Their eyes are bright. They look well. They seem happy.
This is the difference Children’s Rights seeks to make for many more abused and neglected children, and that’s what this year’s benefit will focus on. We are now gearing up to expand our reform efforts dramatically — to take on more failing child welfare systems and bring about not only better results for more children, but also a decisive shift in child welfare practice and policy nationwide. This event is an important opportunity to rally people behind the cause — and to build momentum and raise critical funds in support of our efforts.
We’ll be joined by a colorful and very distinguished group for the occasion. The event will be hosted by Hannah Storm, anchor of ESPN SportsCenter and founder of the Hannah Storm Foundation. We will honor Richard D. Emery — partner in Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, a lifelong champion of civil rights issues, and a steadfast supporter of Children’s Rights — with the Children’s Rights Champion Award. The award will be presented by the famed, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin.
And, of course, we’ll introduce some of the children whose lives have been touched by Children’s Rights work — and some of the everyday heroes who work day in and day out on behalf of our nation’s most vulnerable kids.
It’s going to be quite a night. We hope you’ll be able to join us.