Awards Ceremony

The Stars Align in L.A. to Celebrate These Four Heroes

world of children hero awards
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – APRIL 19: Jaxon Hibler, World of Children Ambassador Lily Aldridge Followill, 2017 Honorees Meghan Pasricha and Arwa J. Damon, World of Children Co-Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, and 2017 Honorees Dr. Jumana H. Odeh and Jorge Rojas-Zegers at the 2017 World Of Children Hero Awards. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for World of Children)

On Wednesday, we rolled out the red carpet at the Montage Beverly Hills, which quickly became a dazzling display of lights, cameras, glamorous celebrities, and a standing-room-only cocktail hour. But this was no ordinary evening in Los Angeles. This was the 2017 World of Children Hero Awards, an annual event when celebrities, child advocates, supporters and friends can come together for one courageous purpose: to unlock the future for children.

Together, we turned the spotlight toward four amazing heroes – Arwa Damon, Dr. Jumana Odeh, Meghan Pasricha and Dr. Jorge Rojas-Zegers – who wake up every day to change the life of a child. We left not only inspired by their work, but energized to do more. As our Co-Founder Harry Leibowitz said in his closing speech, “The truth is that Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk…They aren’t the only heroes children can see. They also see Arwa, Jumana, Jorge, and Meghan. And they see you.”

Thanks to our generous supporters, we raised $350,000 to support our Honorees’ high-impact programs, ensuring that each of them can be a hero for even more vulnerable children.

Meet Our Honorees

Arwa Damon
2017 World of Children Crisis Award | President and Co-Founder, INARA
arwa damon

INARA provides access to life-altering and life-saving medical assistance to children impacted by war. The organization currently focuses on children from Syria. Arwa, an award-winning senior international correspondent for CNN, founded the organization after reporting the story of Yousef, a young boy who was set on fire by a group of masked men. His story led to the generous outpouring of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, which funded Yousef’s medical treatment. We were honored to welcome Yousef to the 2017 World of Children Hero Awards so he could share his inspiring story with our audience.

Funding from World of Children will help children injured by war receive surgeries that can reverse or prevent severe disabilities.

Dr. Jumana Odeh
2017 Alumni Award and 2008 Health Award | Founder and General Director, Palestinian Happy Child Centre

jumana odeh
Dr. Jumana Odeh with Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF

The Palestinian Happy Child Centre (PHCC) treats children with neurological disorders and learning and developmental disabilities. Dr. Odeh, the organization’s founder, has been instrumental in providing treatment for children with special needs and breaking down cultural stigmas about disability. The PHCC promotes early screenings, specialized care and support for parents and caregivers.

“Behind every story, there are children – human beings with names, families, ambitions, dreams– who all still enjoy and cherish what life brings to them, especially when they are recognized, acknowledged and taken care of,” said Dr. Odeh after accepting her Award from Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Funding from World of Children will be used to build a new audiology and speech therapy unit for children with hearing impairments and special needs.

Meghan Pasricha
2017 Alumni Award and 2007 Youth Award | Co-Founder and President, Global Youth H.E.L.P., Inc.

meghan pasricha
Meghan Pasricha with Alyssa Milano, who presented her Award.

Global Youth H.E.L.P., Inc. trains youth leaders and runs programs to improve the health and education of children around the world. Meghan co-founded the organization with her sister, Sarina, to create a global network of youth leaders who want to make a difference. Today, the organization offers several high-impact programs, including anti-tobacco education, leadership training, health camps, computer literacy, and more.

“We believe that one drop of good in the world can create a ripple effect and over time, each ripple will create a tsunami of positive change,” said Meghan after accepting her Award from Alyssa Milano.

Funding from World of Children will help Global Youth H.E.L.P. expand programs they lead in their communities and launch a leadership summit for 7-12th grade girls.

Dr. Jorge Rojas-Zegers
2017 Alumni Award and 2006 Health Award | Founder and President, COANIQUEM

jorge rojas zegers
Dr. Jorge Rojas Zegers accepts the 2017 World of Children Alumni Award. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for World of Children)

COANIQUEM provides physical, emotional, and psychological support for young burn victims across Latin America. Dr. Rojas-Zegers, a plastic surgeon, founded the organization after discovering the scarcity of long-term treatment for burn victims in Chile. Today, the organization’s goal is to help each young patient recover their functionality and self-esteem to lead a normal life.

“After 38 years, more than 120,000 children have been treated in COANIQUEM, without any cost,” said Dr.
Rojas-Zegers after accepting his Award from Cade Hudson of CAA.

Funding from World of Children will provide training for healthcare professionals and treatment for young burn victims across South America and the Caribbean.

You Can Be A Hero, Too.

Our Co-Founder, Harry Leibowitz, ended the evening asking all of us to become a hero for children. Watch his full speech below:

Want to be a hero for children? Make a donation to help our Honorees reach even more children around the world.

  • Impact Delivered to Your Inbox

    Sign up to receive stories and updates from around the world.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.