Alumni Honors

World of Children® Announces 2016 Alumni Honorees

Dr. Banskota examining a child

Brooke Burke-Charvet Returns as Master of Ceremonies

2016 Alumni Honors to take place on April 12 at the Montage Beverly Hills

March 1, 2016 (Dublin, CA) – World of Children®, a global recognition and funding organization for people specifically and exclusively serving the needs of children, announced today the three extraordinary individuals that will be honored at World of Children 2016 Alumni Honors on Tuesday, April 12 at the Montage Beverly Hills. Brooke Burke-Charvet, TV Personality, Actress, and CEO of ModernMom, will return for the second year as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

World of Children identifies changemakers that create proven, sustainable programs for children, and awards grants to advance their work at an annual awards ceremony in New York City. For the second year, the organization will host an event in Beverly Hills commemorating past honorees who have continued their extraordinary efforts to change the lives of vulnerable children around the world. Each 2016 Alumni Honoree will receive a specially designed James Banks Design medal and a minimum cash grant of $20,000 to continue their outstanding work with children.

The 2016 Alumni Honorees include: Ryan Hreljac (2003 World of Children Youth Honoree), founder of Ryan’s Well Foundation, which brings clean water and sanitation to vulnerable youth and their families in the poorest regions of the worlds’ developing countries; Denisse Pichardo (2011 World of Children Humanitarian Honoree), director of Caminante Proyecto Educativo, which rescues and shelters youth victims of the sex tourism industry in the Dominican Republic; and Dr. Ashok Banskota (2011 World of Children Health Honoree), founding chairman of the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (HRDC) in Nepal, which focuses on treating underprivileged children with orthopedic disabilities.

“We are truly amazed and inspired by the work each of these three individuals has done for children,” said Harry Leibowitz, World of Children Co-Founder and Co-Chair. “We are so impressed by what each of them accomplished as a result of the World of Children recognition and funding that we are proud to recognize them once again and provide additional support for their programs to help even more children.”

The 2016 Alumni Honors event will include a cocktail reception, dinner, and special performances by the Yermin Orde Youth Choir from the Yermin Orde Youth Village in Israel and the Carlthorp School Chorus from Carlthorp School in Santa Monica, CA. The special evening will also feature the honorees sharing their courageous stories about their work with children, and the invaluable role World of Children has played in their lives. Additionally, the latest pieces from the “Unlock the Future” jewelry collection made exclusively for World of Children by Heidi Nahser Fink and Adam Shulman of James Banks Design will be available for purchase with 100% of proceeds going to the organization. For more information on the exclusive jewelry pieces or to purchase online, please visit

World of Children is led by Co-Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, retired senior executives from Procter & Gamble and Victoria’s Secret respectively. Since they founded the organization in 1998, with the goal of setting the gold standard in child advocacy award programs, World of Children has granted more than $7 million in cash grants and program support to more than 100 Honorees who are the driving force behind programs that have served tens of millions of children worldwide.

The Honorary Chairs for the 2016 Alumni Honors event include Lina and John Paul Beltran, Dawn and Jae Goodman, Veronica and Brian Grazer, and David E. Salzman. In addition, the Event Co-Chairs include Sandy Sholl, Adam Freede, Willow and Bertan Kalatchi, Adam Shulman, Sarah Conner, Craig Leibowitz, and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz and Harry Leibowitz. A media alert with further information and attendees will be announced in the coming weeks.

About the 2016 World of Children Alumni Honorees

Ryan Hreljac, Founder, Ryan’s Well Foundation, Sub Saharan and West Africa, Haiti (2003 Youth Award)

Ryan Hreljac is the founder of Ryan’s Well Foundation, which brings clean water and sanitation to vulnerable youth and their families in order to help them lead healthier lives. The foundation grew out of an idea he had when he was just six years old to help children have access to clean water. By providing communities and schools with access to potable water and sanitation, Ryan’s Well has successfully empowered a million people in 1,000 communities across 16 countries. Since Hreljac was first honored by World of Children in 2003, he has helped motivate youth to become more engaged in the world water crisis through public speaking events in more than 40 countries. Ryan’s Wells Foundation recently completed their 1000th well and has helped over 300,000 children live healthier lives since 2003.

Denisse Pichardo, Director, Caminante Proyecto Educativo, Dominican Republic (2011 Humanitarian Award)

Denisse Pichardo and her organization Caminante Proyecto Educativo provides care to the vulnerable children of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. This includes rescuing and sheltering youth victims of the sex tourism industry and preventative programs to ensure vulnerable youth are not forced into the industry. Since Pichardo was first honored by World of Children in 2011, Caminante has served over 17,000 children and adolescents. Over the past few years, she has seen more and more vulnerable children and teenagers coming to live on the streets and beaches of Boca Chica, where they often end up in the commercial sex trade. As this has become a larger threat to children, Caminante has focused more resources specifically on preventing this type of exploitation. Thanks in large part to her recognition as a World of Children Honoree, Pichardo and Caminante have received recognition and support from UNICEF and have also been able to expand their work with the Hoteliers Association of the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation in Tourism.

Dr. Ashok Banskota, Founding Chairman, HRDC, Nepal (2011 Health Award)

Dr. Ashok Banskota is the founding chairman for the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (HRDC) in Nepal, which focuses on treating underprivileged children with orthopedic disabilities. Each year, HRDC provides almost 20,000consultations and performs between 1,500 and 2,000 major surgical interventions. Since Dr. Banskota was first honored by World of Children in 2011, HRDC has conducted over 100,000 consultations and performed 5,000 surgeries. HRDC has secured a partnership with UNICEF to work in three remote districts of Nepal – bringing specialized medical care to some of the country’s most vulnerable children. Last spring, Dr. Banskota and HRDC’s response to the devastating earthquake was swift and decisive. HRDC began surveying damages and reaching out to victims to offer help within 24 hours of the devastating quake. In partnership with another local hospital, HRDC has helped hundreds of earthquake survivors in the last 9 months.


About World Of Children Award

For 18 years, World of Children has identified and vetted some of the world’s most promising heroes leading programs for children and granted funds to advance their efforts. The organization’s exhaustive research and vetting of individuals has been hailed by leading philanthropic organizations. Since its founding in 1998, World of Children has allocated millions of dollars in cash grants and program support to over 100 Honorees who are the driving force behind programs serving children worldwide. For more information, please visit or

Media Contact:

For additional information or to request credentials for this event, please contact Joanna Cichocki, Christina Canseco, or Hallie Sawyer at PMK∙BNC, 310-854-4800, [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]


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