Children Uniting Nations Kicks Off National Conference With Brooke Anderson & Nikki Blonsky Sharing Tearful Bullying Stories
Congress Members: Bass, Sanchez, Schiff, Waters, Chu and Waxman were joined by Antonio Cue, Freddie Smith, Danielle Staub and Colby O’Donis To Raise Awareness for Children’s Legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles/Washington DC (7/20/2012) – Children Uniting Nations (CUN), one of the premier non-profit organizations working with at-risk and foster youth, kicked off its 7th Annual National Conference, “Keeping the Promise to Our Children,” in DC. Legislators, celebrities and industry experts came together to draw attention to three key pieces of legislation including Bullying, Keeping Sports Programs in Schools and Mentoring Foster Youth. Representative Nancy Pelosi co-chaired the conference along with Senator Mary Landrieu, and legislators in support included Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Congresswoman Judy Chu , Congressman Ed Markey, Congressman Xavier Becerra, Congressman Henry Waxman, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Brooke Anderson of CBS’s The Insider brought attendees to tears discussing how she was physically pushed to the ground by her peers for years in middle school and high school and how she overcame those challenges to get to where she is today. Nikki Blonsky, star of the motion picture Hairspray, discussed how she was physically and mentally bullied for her height and weight and described what it was like playing the role of someone who was “different” in Hairspray. An unlikely but moving speaker was Danielle Staub, from Real Housewives of New Jersey and Vh1, disclosed not only her experiences with bullying as a child and on the show, but also about how that show affected her own children who were bullied by their peers from her appearance on the show. Days of our Lives star Freddie Smith addressed bullying and the importance of keeping physical education programs in our schools. In addition to showing his support to all three initiatives, Colby O’Donis rocked the mic with his Grammy-winning songs and Nikki Blonsky sang her hit “Good Morning Baltimore” from the film.
This year’s Humanitarian Award winner, Antonio Cue, spoke about the need to provide physical education programs in the schools and how his soccer team, CHIVAS USA, is sponsoring schools in Los Angeles and soccer clinics to areas in need. CHIVAS USA and CUN with the organizations prospective leaders Antonio Cue and Daphna Ziman announced their joint partnership for a year-long commitment to create awareness for Physical Education in the schools and promote the importance Health and Wellness for our children.
Conference legislations included:
1. The “National State” of Physical Education in America’s Public Schools (FIT Kids Act H.R. 1057 and S. 576) Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act or FIT Kids Act – Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to require annual state and local educational agency report cards to include specified information on school health and physical education programs
2. Bullying in America (H.R. 1648): To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to address and take action to prevent bullying and harassment of students.
3. Foster Care Mentoring Act of 2011 (S. 420)
Children Uniting Nations Founder and National Conference Chairwoman Daphna Ziman remarked, “We are all wounded. Some of us are the wounded that wound others while others are the wounded that heal. We have all experienced bullying .”
“CHIVAS USA is proud to partner with Children Uniting Nations on creating awareness and programming that will enhance the lives of thousands of children and their families in Southern California” Antonio Cue, President and Co – Owner, CHIVAS USA.
The conference is hosted by Children Uniting Nations (CUN), a 501(C)(3) not for profit organization dedicated to the well-being of at-risk and foster youth, in collaboration with DLA Piper US LLP, Casey Family Programs, The Adoption Coalition and the California Endowment. The deans of social work and education from a number of America’s prominent research universities will attend and participate as panelists.
Notes: As a result of the work completed during their annual national conferences, Children Uniting Nations has seen significant legislative achievements in support of mentoring for at-risk children. An amendment to provide loan forgiveness to community college students who mentor at-risk youth in their communities was passed by the House as part of the College Opportunity and Affordability Act in 2008, and an amendment to support the mentoring of children in foster care was passed unanimously in the Senate as part of the recent Serve America Act (2009). CUN looks forward to building upon these successes in the coming legislative session. The National Conference is renowned for bringing top researchers, international experts, non-profit leaders, legislators and policy makers together to discuss the most urgent needs of our youth. They join advocates in the media, entertainment and business worlds to bring awareness to key legislative issues and begin nonpartisan dialog and discussion on new policy. The National Conference strives to inform federal legislators on compelling issues affecting our youth, synchronize efforts between legislators and community towards change and provide programs that offer solutions. Past celebrities supporters include: Terrance Howard, Russell Simmons, David Archuletta, Vivica Foxx, Quinton Aaron, Sean King and Gabriel Union.
Children Uniting Nations
CUN is a nonprofit, nonpartisan proactive organization created to bring attention to the plight of at-risk and foster youth. The goal is to reach as many children in out-of-home care by offering role-model support, guidance, a sense of community and promote the importance of an education. Inspired by the Day of the Child, CUN wanted mentoring to be more accessible to children living in foster care and therefore created a mentoring program to be administered in every city nationwide. Pioneered in Los Angeles, CUN’s central mentoring program known as the Mentoring Partnership for Los Angeles Youth (mPLAY) has become the model program for the rest of the country. Children Uniting Nations continues to support and make possible the efforts of mPLAY by providing advocacy, funding, producing large- scale recruitment events and serving as the fiscal agent to the partnership. mPLAY is dedicated to providing children in the foster care system with highly trained mentors that are compassionate, steadfast and have an unconditional desire to give of themselves in order to make a positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children. CUN was founded by philanthropist and activist, Daphna Ziman.
Antonio Cue: Antonio Cué Sánchez-Navarro is the Owner of Club Deportivo Chivas USA, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles-based club, the only Mexican-owned team in major professional sports in the United States. A visionary business venture of bicultural, binational and bilingual proportions, Chivas USA brings one of Mexico’s most powerful brands – and one of most beloved soccer brands worldwide – to the U.S. sports landscape.
The Los Angeles based Soccer Club, Chivas USA, is the only Mexican-owned team in major professional sports in the United States. Since its very beginnings seven years ago, Chivas USA was conceived not only as a business venture of bicultural and bilingual proportions, but also as a vehicle of philanthropy, which could provide opportunity and growth to underprivileged communities. Today, the non-profit Chivas USA Foundation gives back to the community more than ever, proudly running a number of initiatives that range from promoting the importance of reading amongst children, educating through sports in diverse school districts throughout Southern California, and raising awareness about the environment.