Attorneys, charity workers and organizations joined for the 6th Annual Children’s Advocacy Awards Luncheon in favor of the non-profit organization Legal Services for Children (LSC). The luncheon was graced with the presence of H.R.H. Princess Madeleine of Sweden, involved through the partnering organization Childhood and one of the keynote speakers of the day.
"I have seen things like this on TV, but I never thought I would actually be at an event like this," said a former LSC-client upon entering the majestic hall at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Hotel in central San Francisco on May 6.
Princess Madeleine was recognized with the 2011 Leadership in Children’s Advocacy Award as the first non-attorney to join the prestigious circle of honorees. She won this award for her deep commitment to humanitarian work for children around the world. Princess Madeleine has worked with the philanthropic organization World Childhood in Stockholm and New York since 2006. The organization was founded by her mother, Her Majesty Queen Silvia. The Honorable Donna J. Hitchens, presiding judge from the San Francisco Unified Family Court, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her diverse devotion that has changed thousands of lives.
The luncheon was also an opportunity to salute the contributions of the attorneys and social workers that donate long hours of service, take on cases and employ innovative legal strategies. Their work helps the 500 to 600 vulnerable youths that LSC represents in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of these youth attended the luncheon. They are former clients of the organization, having received help from the non-profit attorneys in matters involving foster care, guardianship, school expulsion or immigration.
Gladis, a former LSC-client, spoke and captivated the audience with her gripping life story, which, thanks to LSC, has a happy ending. As one of 14 children in a struggling family with a deceased mother and a hard working father who never made ends meet, she fled to the U.S. together with her older brother. Upon arrival he left her for a life in Las Vegas and Gladis was all alone—until LSC came into her life. Neither she, nor members of the audience, managed to keep tears at bay, as she kept on repeating how thankful she is to her new loving family, her chance for a solid education, her first full-time job, and to LSC for all of their help and support.

By: Katarina Bennich
SACC-San Francisco/Silicon Valley

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