Westchester Children's Association Celebrates 110 Years of Advocacy


Allison Lake, Executive Director, Westchester Children’s Association

More than 170 people came out to celebrate the 110-year legacy of The Westchester Children's Association at its annual gala on June 5th. It was a night to remember as the organization not only recognized outstanding child advocates but also raised more money than at any other gala in its 110 years, a total of $200,000.

Executive Director Allison Lake, celebrating her 25th year with WCA, welcomed guests with the story of the pioneering women who had the foresight to identify the need for child social workers in Westchester in 1914. Their early campaign, which resulted in the hiring of four social workers, essentially created the field of social workers and guidance counselors who are in every school today.

“It is that early trailblazing spirit that has anchored me here all these years. That, and the opportunity to continue to learn as we tackle new issues. I am so proud, so honored, to be part of this transformative work. While WCA is not a direct service provider, our efforts pave the way for our partners in direct service to offer important programs for children and youth across Westchester. Advocacy is below the radar, the long-game, head-down strategic work. But advocacy is a powerful engine for moving the needle on issues and initiatives that matter most. WCA’s advocacy work gets laws passed and funding allocated so that all children can lead lives with dignity, access and equity,” Lake told the audience in her opening remarks.

“Today WCA has a seat on the Governor’s Task Force to Reduce Child Poverty statewide and has been instrumental in supporting numerous laws that support children, but despite the advances there is more work to do and we will be here to do it supporting WCA’s mission to ensure that every child is healthy, safe, and prepared for life's challenges, irrespective of race or zip code,” she added.

At the gala WCA honored White Plains Hospital with the Edith C. Macy Award for Distinguished Service for their youth focused outreach and programs. They also presented the Corporate Children’s Champion Award to Robin White, AT&T Director of External Affairs for Westchester and New York City for her commitment to bridging the digital divide in under resourced communities. The third honoree was Barbara J. Holland who received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Holland is a devoted humanitarian, child advocate, and former WCA Board Member.

“We share WCA’s mission to build a healthy, thriving and vibrant community and are so honored to accept the Edith C. Macy Award,” stated Dawn French, Senior Vice President, Community Relations & Marketing for White Plains Hospital.

“We are all united in the larger vision of providing innovative solutions to today’s problems affecting children and I am truly honored to receive this award,” stated Robin White, Director, NYC and Westchester External Affairs, AT&T.

Barbara J. Holland, devoted humanitarian child advocate, and former WCA Board Member said, "We must ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed. I dedicated my efforts to advocating for children's needs and I have been honored to sit on the board of the WCA and move their mission forward."

Since its founding in 1914, WCA has remained committed to educating, connecting, and acting on behalf of the community to ensure that the needs of children and youth are not only recognized but met with effective solutions. Proceeds from the event will support WCA's ongoing efforts to shape policies and programs that meet the needs of Westchester’s young people and keep their well-being at the forefront of the public agenda.

About Westchester Children’s Association

Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) is a multi-issue, child advocacy nonprofit that works to ensure that every child in Westchester is healthy, safe, and prepared for life’s challenges, regardless of race or zip code. Since 1914, WCA has been the leading independent voice for Westchester’s children by identifying their needs, making those needs known to the public, and ensuring those needs are met through advocacy and mobilization efforts. For more information about Westchester Children’s Association, visit their website at www.wca4kids.org.

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