The UNICEF Children’s Champion Award Dinner was the place to be on the evening of June 2nd. The Castle at the Park Plaza blazed the UNICEF Kid Power theme with Converse shoe flower vases at every table, napkins tied in colorful shoelaces, foam finger auction paddles, and hundreds of candles to illuminate the magical night.
Since its inception, the UNICEF Children’s Champion Award Dinner has raised a remarkable $5.5 million for UNICEF’s work to save and improve children’s lives around the world. The UNICEF Children’s Champion Award has been presented to notable philanthropists including Nelson Mandela, Queen Noor, Princess Caroline, David Ortiz, the Boston Celtics, Sting & Trudie Styler, Lauren Bush Lauren & David Lauren, Heidi Klum, and most recently, Red Sox legend, Pedro and wife Carolina Martinez.
Pedro and Carolina were honored for their outstanding impact on the lives of children in the Dominican Republic. Through their foundation they have built schools, provided healthcare, and are establishing The Pedro Academy to provide educational and enrichment activities to hundreds of the country’s most underserved children and their families.
The Helenka Pantaleoni Award was presented to Kaia Miller Goldstein, who has served as a member of the USF New England Board for the past 12 years, and as board chair for the past 6 years. During her tenure, she has been a tireless voice for the world’s children through her work globally and here in New England. Most recently, she has championed the UNICEF Kid Power program – a groundbreaking initiative that gives kids in the U.S. the power to save lives by getting active with the UNICEF Kid Power Band – as both advocate and as a member of Team UNICEF in the Boston Marathon.
In addition to awards, the event consisted of a live auction presented by well-reputed auctioneer, Kate Chertavian. The bidding went to occasions such as a gourmet meal from one of Boston’s best Chef’s, Paul Wahlberg, or perhaps a batting practice with David Ortiz, or maybe a dinner with Pedro Martinez, or even a few days in the city to see New York’s hottest shows.
Guests were also given the opportunity to fund gifts to improve the lives of children. Such gifts included deep-well water pumps to supply an entire community with clean, safe, affordable drinking water; early childhood development kits packed with puzzles, art materials and toys to create a safe learning and play environment for children; tents to establish child-friendly spaces for children living in emergency situations to receive counseling, rest, and play; and an opportunity to fund 200 Boston Public School students to participate in UNICEF Kid Power school program to get active, save lives and unlock funding to provide therapeutic food packets (RUTF) for severely malnourished children around the world.
The event concluded with a musical performance by Boston Native Pop Star, Rachel Platten, followed by a lively after party hosted by UNICEF Next Generation.
Thanks to the attendees’ extraordinary generosity, the event raised $1 million. Children around the world will receive access to the clean water, nutrition, education and protection that they so greatly deserve. Thanks to all, this evening has made a memorable mark in the hearts and lives of many worldwide.
Written by Emmanuelle Plucker, Intern for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF