2014 World of Children Award Honorees Are Announced

I am pleased and proud to announce the 2014 World of Children Award Honorees.

Seventeen years ago, in our inaugural year, we received a mere 60 nominations for our awards from only eight countries. This year, we received almost 1,000 nominations from more than 100 countries. In that first year we allocated just $60,000 in grants and very little additional support for honorees. This year, our grant budget is well in excess of $500,000 and we allocate a roughly equal amount to the education, promotion and support of our honorees in their work with vulnerable children.

The 2014 honorees include four exceptional new Honorees working with and for vulnerable children in the United States, Brazil, Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, Uganda, Paraguay, and Haiti. In addition, we are proud to bring back our very first World of Children Award Honoree, Chaim Peri of Israel, who, thanks in part to the World of Children Award's recognition, has been able to expand his work and inspire similar programs around the world.

The 2014 World of Children Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 6 at 583 Park Avenue in New York City.

Introducing the 2014 World of Children Award Honorees:

2014 World of Children Health Award: Kenro Izu, Laos, Cambodia
Founder, Friends Without A Border
Since its founding, Friends Without A Border (FWAB) has treated over 1.2 million children and provided advanced training to thousands of health workers. Today, construction is underway for a similar state-of-the-art pediatric teaching hospital in Laos, scheduled to open in early 2015. Funding from World of Children Award will help FWAB construct and equip this new hospital in Laos.

2014 World of Children Humanitarian Award: Gregory John Smith, Brazil
Founder, Rede Cultural Beija-Flor; Founder, Children At Risk Foundation
Rede Cultural Beija-Flor not only enables street children to take control of their own lives, but prevents children from ending up on the street in the first place by helping them find a positive way to survive and thrive in the community. Funding from World of Children Award will provide life-changing scholarships for young people.

2014 World of Children Youth Award: Jaylen Arnold, Age 14, United States
Founder and Creator, Jaylens Challenge Foundation
Jaylens Challenge Foundation has taught over 100,000 children how to recognize bullying and how to appreciate the differences in children. Using personal presentations and workshops, Jaylen and his supporters carry the "Bullying No Way!" message around the country. He plans to use funding from World of Children Award to expand his anti-bullying message to thousands more children across the United States.

2014 World of Children Youth Award: Mary Grace Henry, Age 17, United States
Founder, Reverse The Course
By selling over 11,000 hair accessories, Reverse The Course has funded the education of girls in Kenya, Uganda, Paraguay and Haiti who, without Mary Grace's support, would not have been able to attend school. Funding from World of Children Award will support Reverse The Course's mission to provide education for disenfranchised girls and to develop business training and mentoring programs for girls, empowering them to become positive agents of positive change in their societies.

2014 World of Children Alumni Award: Chaim Peri, Ed.D., Israel
Director Emeritus, Yemin Orde Youth Village; Founder and President, The Village Way Educational Initiatives
For more than 30 years, children who were uprooted or from dysfunctional homes, have been given a long-term home base at Yemin Orde, the Orde Wingate Youth Village in Israel, from which they will never "age out." Peri's village model has been replicated in 20 educational institutions around Israel, shared by all sectors of Israeli society - Jews and Arabs alike - and in other countries including Rwanda. In 1998, Chaim received one of the first World of Children Humanitarian Awards for his dedication to troubled youth at Yemin Orde.

2014 World of Children Lifetime Achievement Award: Marlo Thomas; New York City
National Outreach Director, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
As National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, actress, author and activist Marlo Thomas travels the country throughout the year, raising funds and awareness for the hospital. At the same time, she has remained a constant presence on television, in regional theatre and on Broadway, and through her website, MarloThomas.com, in partnership with AOL and The Huffington Post. In 2004, she created the hospital's annual Thanks and Giving program, an unprecedented collaborative campaign that brings together more than 60 of the nation's leading corporations that has so far raised $500 million dollars from holiday shoppers everywhere.

2014 World of Children Board of Governors' Award: Jim Gold, Dallas, Texas
President and Chief Merchandising Officer, Neiman Marcus; Vice Chair, World of Children Award
For over a century, Neiman Marcus has been known for its dedication to customer service, style and luxury. A commitment to civic involvement and philanthropy are long-held corporate values, and Jim Gold's generosity of spirit exemplifies this philosophy. He has been involved with World of Children Award since 2007 and has been a passionate advocate for the organization's mission of improving the lives of vulnerable children. In addition to World of Children Award, Jim Gold also serves on the board of the Dallas Museum of Art.