On Thursday, April 29, at our Once Upon a Time…With Love from Chicago Virtual Gala, two relentless advocates for children – award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker Alex Kotlowitz and Maria Woltjen – will be Children’s Place Association’s keynote speakers.

For over 40 years, Kotlowitz has been telling stories from the heart of America, deeply intimate tales of struggle and perseverance. Woltjen is the Founder and Executive Director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. The Young Center pioneered the implementation of the “best interests of the child” standard for children caught up in the immigration system.

“As we launch our new Child Thrive Initiative to help make West Humboldt Park a great place to be a kid, we knew that Alex and Maria would capture both the urgency and opportunity of this moment.  As tireless advocates for marginalized children and families, they know well the barriers facing children and the determination of parents and the community to make childhood a time of hope in spite of everything.  Child Thrive, a community-led initiative, will partner with community members and other stakeholders to secure a brighter future for their children,” says Cathy Krieger President and CEO.


This year’s event is especially significant because it marks the 30th anniversary of Children’s Place Association. The money raised through our Once Upon a Time Gala effort will allow us to continue our mission of hope and transformation supporting Chicago’s most vulnerable children who are even more at risk now due to the devastating and disproportionate impacts this group is experiencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your donations will help fund our Child Thrive Initiative featuring a new community resource center in West Humboldt Park that will provide trauma-focused mental health therapy, primary care services, evidence-based youth mentoring and community-sponsored activities to bolster a response to neighborhood violence and social determinants of health. The project will also address economic development and neighborhood safety by promoting the renovation of vacant and derelict business properties on West Chicago Avenue.

We invite you to save the date and join us in celebrating 30 years of service at this exciting event where you can be a champion for Chicago’s most vulnerable children!

Interested in sponsoring the event? Please contact Shantal at salonso@childrens-place.org.