2013 Covenant for Children Youth and Families Leadership Awards Banquet

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On the night of Thursday, October 24th 2013; the Community Planning & Advocacy Council- CPAC hosted its annual dinner event entitled the 2013 Covenant for Children Youth and Families Leadership Awards Banquet. The night’s special guest speaker was Senator Donald Norcross Bio .

CPAC honored four members of the community with special Awards .  The awardees included Deborah James Bio – The Father Edward J. Walsh Volunteer of the Year Award; Rosemary R. Jackson Bio – The Anna M. Sample Advocacy Award; George E. Norcross III Bio – Jerrothia Riggs Education Award; and Dr. Jeffrey Brenner Bio – Human Service Worker of the Year Award.

On hand to present the awards were Mayor Dana L. Redd, City of Camden; Dr. Deborah Bowles, CPAC Board of Trustee; The Clark Family  and Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez.

CPAC President & CEO; Catherine DeCheser also addressed the attendees who totaled nearly three hundred.  She said, “Tom Blatner informed me that the United Nations adopted a Bill of Rights for Children years ago.  There were only two countries in the world which didn’t adopt them—Somalia and the United States.  That shocked those of us working on the Covenant Bill of Rights in Camden County and it should also shock you.”  Mrs. DeCheser commended Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli and Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez for their leadership.   She also thanked Camden City Mayor Dana Redd for her co-chairing the Covenant Community Planning Bodies along with Freeholder Rodriguez.  “Wouldn’t it be wonderful for New Jersey to ask Senator Booker to spearhead a bill in the U.S. Senate to adopt the Bill of Rights nationally and adopt our own Bill of Rights for Children in Camden County?”

The night had many exciting moments shared by the community and over 30 represented agencies, but perhaps none more than the announcement that NJ State Senator Donald Norcross will be co-sponsoring a bill to adopt The Bill of Rights for all Children, Youth & Families with co-sponsorship from Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt.

“Finally, I call upon my social work colleagues not to retreat in the face of reactionary forces who are creating classism between the middle class and the poor.  There are mean spirited people who will try to divide us for their own self-interest.  We must not allow the actions of others to encourage divisiveness and pettiness among each other, while more kids enter poverty, more families become homeless and more youth die in the streets!”

Mrs. DeCheser closed with a quote from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools!”

About Jamie DiFrancesco MSW
Jamie is the Human Services Planner at CPAC -Community Planning & Advocacy Council in Pennsauken, NJ. He is a graduate of West Chester University where he achieved a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies with a Minor in Spanish & Latin American Studies; As well as the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work where he achieved a Master's in their C.O.S.A. (Community Organization & Social Administration) Program .

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