Drexel ’s Dr. Charles Willliams III, director of the University’s Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence and assistant clinical professor in the Goodwin College, will receive the National Adoption Center’s Allison Award for his commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable children. Williams was raised in the foster care system and has spent his adult years battling childhood abuse and neglect and championing adoption as a way to achieve permanence for children whose parents cannot care for them.
The award will be presented at the Center’s annual Celebration of Family Friday, April 8 at Citizens Bank Park. The award is named for one of the first children the Center placed for adoption after it opened its doors in 1972. The child, with Down syndrome, had been born to a couple who could not make a home for her, but believed that perhaps a family somewhere would want to adopt her. After myriad discouraging and frustrating contacts with adoption agencies, the Center found a social worker who was willing to take a chance that Alison was adoptable. Three-and-a-half years later, a family was found…and Alison became the symbol of the Center’s belief that “there are no unwanted children…just unfound families.” The Allison Award captures that spirit.
Past recipients include: Maury Povich and Connie Chung who, through the media, have championed adoption as a way to create families; Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, who was adopted and promoted adoption benefits in the workplace; Larry Kane and Vai Sikahema, both of whom anchor Wednesday’s Child features on Philadelphia radio and television, and Pat Croce who has made the well-being of young people a priority.
More than 115,000 children around the country—1600 in the Delaware Valley—are waiting to be adopted. They live in foster care, sometimes for years, while waiting for permanent families. They are not the children usually associated with adoption; they are older and frequently come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect. Often, they have emotional or physical challenges.
In the past 39 years, the Center, based in Philadelphia, has found families for more than 23,000 children.
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