Phyllis Glink, left, and Dr. Colleen Cicchetti, right, were honored at the Annual UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Awards Luncheon on Oct. 7. The keynote speaker was Sherrie Rollins Westin, center. Photo by Tim Hiatt for UNICEF USA

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 The UNICEF USA Midwest Regional office USA hosted its Eighth Annual UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Awards Luncheon on Oct. 7, honoring two Chicagoans who are contributing locally and internationally to the improvement of children’s lives:

Dr. Colleen Cicchetti, Executive Director of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Phyllis Glink, Executive Director of the Irving Harris Foundation.

This year’s luncheon, which hosted more than 400 guests, focused on early childhood development under the theme #EatPlayLove.

Sherrie Rollins Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy for Sesame Workshop and UNICEF USA National Board Member, addressed the importance of reaching children in the early years.

“UNICEF has arguably saved more children’s lives than any other organization in the world. I believe in order to contribute the most to society as a whole, investing in young children is where we can have the greatest return on investment,” Ms. Westin said.

Dr. Cicchetti, said, “I am extremely humbled and grateful to stand here today and accept this award from UNICEF. To me, UNICEF represents the belief that adults have a collective responsibility to ensure all kids have their basic needs met in our world, our country and in our own city.”

Dr. Cicchetti, who lives in Evanston, and Ms. Glink were honored for their work in ensuring that children have access to proper nutrition, mental health programming, protective environments and opportunities to play.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF USA supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. They are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.