On Wednesday, May 9, 2007, I was in New York City, to attend a reception to honor the Meredith Children's Champion Awards of 2007. Every year, Meredith Corporation, the publisher of popular children's magazines, honors several big name movers andshakers who have made a difference in children's' lives across the nation. This year, for the first time, they partnered with Johnson & Johnson to salute at the same time three Champions Among Us, celebrating the efforts of everyday people who spend their time, energy and talent to improve the lives of children in their community. When the Champions Among Us contest was announced, the Johnson & Johnson Ad executive told us that they were swamped with nominees. The entries were whittled down to 100 that were reviewed by the Meredith Corporation Child magazine editorial group. They, in turn, picked their top 10 choices and presented them to J&J, who then picked the three winners to honor. Amazingly, for a nationwide contest, two of the three winners were from Wisconsin. Of course, from my viewpoint, the most important winner is our very own, Dr. Violeta Singson! The prizes that came with the honor were relatively modest: transportation, accommodations, invitation to the Champions Award event (which I gather is pretty exclusive), and $1000 to the charity of her choice, the Free Medical Clinic, of course. However, recognition of Dr. Singson and publicity for the Clinic – priceless!
At the Tribeca Rooftop hall, the first thing that greets one's eyes is a wall with the portraits and bios of the three Champions Among Us. While Dr. Violeta Singson was being photographed and interviewed, Dr. Johnny Singson and I occupied ourselves with food, drinks, and gawking. Pretty soon, the celebrities started arriving - Bradley Whitford (very approachable, good looking and another Wisconsin native); Henry Winkler (the Fonz was very generous with his hugs and kisses; Volette and I were both recipients of this generosity); and the very beautiful Elisabeth Hasselbeck (one of the co-hosts of ABC's The View). After "formal" photo ops, they amiably posed and circulated among the guests. Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld were the last celebrities to arrive (with their 6-year-old daughter, Sascha) but did not pose for pictures with the public.
It was very gratifying to witness and listen to all the efforts expended on behalf of children, both on a national scale by the Children's Champion Honorees, and on a daily basis by everyday people like the Champions Among Us. It was also very eye opening to experience a "celebrity affair" – masses of exotic, beautiful flowers (even the hors d'oeuvres trays were decorated with fresh orchids); lots and lots of food and drink (thinking of all the excess food, my thrifty Filipino/Midwestern soul was wishing for Ziploc bags for "pauwi"); and the media attention and representatives of print media, cable TV, and Ad agencies, (supposedly even Access Hollywood).
Anyway, it was very definitely an event to remember, and to applaud the winners. We salute you – Dr. Violeta Singson, congratulations!