CR Raises Over $1 Million at Annual Benefit

A crowd of nearly 300 gathered on October 20 at Children’s Rights’ Tenth Annual Benefit to celebrate two individuals — CR Board Member Alan Myers and The Honorable Bryanne Hamill — both of whom have been instrumental in transforming the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable kids.

Alan Myers, Sandy Santana.

Alan Myers, Sandy Santana.

Myers, a committed and passionate champion for abused and neglected children, was honored with a Children’s Rights Champion Award, while The Honorable Bryanne Hamill was recognized for her exemplary work on behalf of children and families both as a family court judge and a member of New York City’s Board of Correction.

CR also commemorated its 20th anniversary at this year’s event, which raised more than $1 million to help CR continue to defend the rights of vulnerable young people in state care.

Notable attendees included co-chairs Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean, Alice Rosenwald and Peter Serating, host Michaela Pereira of CNN and speaker Julius Kissinger, a young man who ultimately found his forever home after surviving physical abuse at the hands of his first adoptive family.

“Few people understand just how truly common the phenomenon of broken adoptions is,” Pereira, who was adopted, told the audience before introducing Kissinger to the stage. “I can’t stress it enough — I got lucky to land with an excellent family. ”

Kissinger gave a moving account of enduring nearly 10 years of abuse with his first adoptive family, then bouncing between foster care placements for years before finding a loving home.

“I share my story because I want people to know that no matter how bad things are, there is always hope,” said Kissinger. “I was fortunate enough to be adopted into a wonderful family, but I also realize that there are hundreds of thousands of kids who are still in state care — kids who are being split from their siblings, moved from home to home and made to feel like they do not matter. That is why I am here today, standing with Children’s Rights, to fight for the kids who are still in foster care.”

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Read additional articles in Notes From the Field, the Children’s Rights Newsletter: