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Children's Rights
Annual Benefit
October 19, 2010
Plaza Hotel

Written by Wendy R. Williams
Photos Courtesy of
Children's Rights

Opposite Photo:
Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC and
Governor Jon S. Corzine

"I Am One"

Children's Rights hosted their annual benefit this year at New York City's historic Plaza Hotel. The evening's festivities began with a cocktail party in a beautiful grotto style hall and moved to dinner in one of The Plaza's banquet halls. Over three hundred supporters attended the event; it was a crowd filled with activists, both former and present day foster children and lawyers.

Children's Right's mission is to help some of our nation's most vulnerable citizens, the children who live in foster homes. Many times these foster children are victims of abuse in their original homes and then "come into the system" only to be abused in their new foster homes. Children's Rights helps foster children in a singularly effective way - they sue state governments in federal court and force the states to care for their children. The pen is mightier than the sword and a well filed lawsuit can pack a huge wallop. Each dollar given to Children's Rights has the potential to be multiplied ten fold - the cost of the lawsuit versus the increased aid States are then forced to give their foster children. Children's Rights mission is even more important in these times of economic austerity. When States are out of money, one of the first places they will look to "save money" is cutting back on programs for powerless constituencies like foster children.

The honoree for the 2010 benefit was former foster child, philanthropist and hip-hop icon Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC. One of the highlights of the evening was the premiere of a film titled I Am One which told the story of Children's Rights through McDaniels's beats.

Former New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine presented the 2010 Children's Rights Champion Award to McDaniels and also delivered the keynote speech. Corzine's own state was sued by Children's Rights and consented to a judgment that changed their entire system of caring for wards of the state. Children's Rights was already in the process of suing the State of New Jersey when a nineteen-year-old-but-forty-five-pound New Jersey foster child, Tre'Shawn P, was found rummaging through garbage cans for food. Tre'Shawn and his two brothers had been horribly abused by their foster parents (the former foster mother was sentenced to seven years in prison). Tre'Shawn and his brothers have now been adopted by loving parents and are thriving. See the Children's Rights website for Tre'Shawn's story and also see New York Cool's coverage of the 2009 Children's Rights Benefit.

Daryl McDaniels also spoke, telling the group how he found out he was adopted in a conversation with his mother when he was in his thirties. He later found out that before his adoption, he had spent a few years as a foster child. When McDaniels found out about his adoption, he was, in his own words, a "metaphysical wreck." McDaniels had achieved great goals as a performer, but was depressed, looking for answers in the Bible, the Koran, "the Buddhist thing" and Deepak Chopra. But McDaniels now has a purpose outside his own success; he fights for the right of other foster and adopted children. McDaniels poignantly said, "Success without significance is nothing" and that anyone of these foster children can be anything, stating that "I am them" and "I am one" (the mantra on the Children's Rights tee shirt).

Sotheby's auctioneer Hugh Hildesley then conducted an auction. The auction was not for gifts or prizes, but for the opportunity to give to Children's Rights. The gift-to-Children's Rights auction raised $74,000 on the spot.

Here is some information about the benefit from the Children's Rights press release (be sure to scroll down for party pix):

.... [attendees included] Jon Corzine and fiancé Sharon Elghanayan, Hugh Hildesley from Sotheby’s, Louise Hirschfeld, Marshall Watson (of Marshall Watson Interiors), philanthropist Lewis Cullman, casting director and Felix Organization co-founder Sheila Jaffe, Alex Kuczynski, Ruth Friendly, and Hon. Eve Preminger.

Co-Chairs for this special evening were Richard D. Emery, Lawrence J. Fox, and Jordan Seaman, members of the Children’s Rights Board of Directors. Young Leadership Committee Co-Chairs were Rachel Balaban, Rahil D. Briggs, Paul and Jessica Davis, Rebecca Kysar, Diane and Alejandro Longoria, and Sarah Rosenwald Varet.

Founded in 1995, CHILDREN’S RIGHTS is the leading nonprofit advocate for the welfare and rights of abused and neglected children in the United States. The organization has been instrumental in spurring the reform of more than a dozen failing child welfare systems nationwide, leading to dramatic improvements in the lives of tens of thousands of children and families. The organization selects an annual honoree who demonstrates, through public advocacy and action, a passionate commitment to our nation’s most vulnerable children.

Darryl McDaniels, who made music history as a founding member of the rap trio Run-DMC (named “Greatest Hip-Hop Group of All Time” by MTV), began advocating for adoptees and foster youth after learning late in life of his own adoption. McDaniels received the coveted CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Champion Award for his tireless work on behalf of foster children through his FELIX ORGANIZATION/Adoptees for Children, a nonprofit organization that operates Camp Felix in upstate New York and provides leadership training for teenage youth, as well as other year-round opportunities for children in foster care. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, McDaniels was also awarded an Emmy in 2006 for his VH1 documentary, DMC: My Adoption Journey.

To learn more, please visit"


Sotheby’s Senior Auctioneer Hugh Hildesley

Children's Rights Board Member Don Galpern with Darryl McDaniels and the
2010 Children's Rights Champion Award
(presented to McDaniels by Governor Jon Corzine at the event)

Darryl McDanielswith the Winner Family
(foster/adopted youth from New Jersey)

Jessica Davis Jonathan Marder and Cathy Hardwick
Alexandra and James Stanton Louise Hirschfeld and Lewis Cullman





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