Passionate local change agents honored by The Children’s Trust

Miami's Community Newspapers

The Children’s Trust recently celebrated the unparalleled achievements of local trailblazers who are improving the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County during The Children’s Trust annual Champions for Children Awards Ceremony.

More than 900 people gathered in the Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom for the lavish tribute.

Framed onstage by a “living statue” of Lady Justice, retiring Juvenile Division Circuit Court Judge Cindy S. Lederman accepted the prestigious David Lawrence Jr. Champion for Children Award for lifetime achievement and dedication to children. Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez received the Excellence in Public Policy Award, and Earl Maulding, director of Theatre for Young Audiences at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, accepted the Excellence in Direct Service Award.

Champions for Children is a signature event among Miami-Dade’s robust network of child and family advocates that inspires others to follow in the footsteps of those who have affected immeasurable community impact. Honorees in the category of Program of the Year included Concerned African Women, Fit Kids of America, and Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School.

“It’s critical to hold up as shining examples the individuals and organizations we should all emulate in building a community and culture that puts its children first,” said James R. Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust. “We try to live by that every day at The Trust, but many others in the community are unaware of our award recipients’ extraordinary achievements, achievements that are routinely changing the lives of children and families who often struggle in very challenging environments.”

In recognition of the divisions and strife that continue to plague our neighborhoods and our world, this year’s featured presentation was a vocal and dance performance of Somewhere from West Side Story by Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. Featured vocalist, 15-year-old Isabella Stolarczyk, was a recent finalist in the annual, countywide Young Talent Big Dreams competition produced by Actors’ Playhouse in collaboration with The Children’s Trust.

The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County by making strategic investments in their future.

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