Every year, the Children’s Aid Benefit honors a leader whose impact on their community has been positive and profound. This year, we turned that spotlight onto an incredibly deserving group of leaders: our staff.
The 12th Annual Benefit, which took place at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan, was dedicated to the heroes who provide life-changing services to the nearly 50,000 children and families we serve across New York City. The event raised $1.9 million to fund our programs.
The décor in the room focused on the great adventure that our staff guide our clients on every day.
“When your compass is busted, you’ve been hiking for miles, and the clouds start to swell heavy with rain,” said President & CEO Phoebe C. Boyer, “we are the folks who show up to offer you a ride home.”
The Benefit kicked off with a welcome message from three staff members – Damian Eckstein, Alicea Arias, and Casper Lassiter – who were all once Children’s Aid kids.
“I now have the honor of continuing the legacy of providing life-changing experiences for children and families in the neighborhood I grew up in,” Casper said.
Per tradition, the evening’s hosts were Children’s Aid youth. Daren Manning, a senior at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, and Sockona Doucoure, a senior at the Harlem Village Academies, told stories of how they overcame bullying and other challenges to emerge as successful young adults. They both participate in our Hope Leadership Academy, a community center for teens, in Harlem.
“We’re here tonight to honor the staff of Children’s Aid, the people who welcome us, get to know us, teach us, support us, push us, and celebrate with us,” Daren said. “I wouldn’t be the same without them.”
The keynote address came from Tauryian Sparrow, one of our young people. She was introduced by Dr. Brenda Triplett, our director for educational achievement. Tauryian came to us at a time in her life when she was struggling with loss and in limbo with her education. Thanks to her resiliency, and to Brenda’s interventions, she’s now on track to pursue her dream career as a veterinary technician.
“Before Children’s Aid, I did what I needed to do to survive,” said Tauryian. “Now, I can focus on what I need to do to thrive.”
It’s these kinds of relationships that our staff develop every day with our clients – and that we honored on this very special night.
“Our staff are the heart and soul of Children’s Aid,” said President & CEO Phoebe C. Boyer. “They show up for our children and families every single day. As the past two and a half years have shown, they will not let any obstacle stand in the way of providing support for the people who need it most in New York City.”
We are incredibly grateful to our benefit committee and to our committee chairs for their hard work and leadership. The Benefit Committee was comprised of: Iris Abrons; Bayer; Leslie and Ashish Bhutani; Phoebe Boyer and Todd Snyder; Jill Johnson and Tom Reynolds; Beth and Ira Leventhal; Jill and Brian Olson; Eren Rosenfeld and Jack Dunne; Lauren Razook Roth and John Roth; Amy and Charlie Scharf; Reginald Van Lee and Corey L. McCathern; Suzanne Waltman and Martin Friedman; and Merryl Snow Zegar.
The 2022 Benefit was sponsored at the Ambassador level by the Children’s Aid Board of Trustees, Leslie and Ashish Bhutani, Coleman Family Ventures, and Judy and Jamie Dimon; at the Champion level by Beth and Ira Leventhal, Jill and Brian Olson, and Lauren Razook Roth and John Roth; and at the Hero level by the Melkus Family Foundation and Amy and Charlie Scharf.
Photographs from the 2022 Children’s Aid Benefit are available here.