Kids' advocates collect
By Hakimeh Saghaye-Biria
Daily Cougar Staff
"United behind the fate of our children
in the wake of a national tragedy, we should continue our active advocacy
for improving children's lives,"
said Elizabeth Noyes, the keynote speaker
at Tuesday's "Accolades 2001" Luncheon in Houston.
Noyes is the associate executive director
of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Children at Risk program, a private,
non-profit children's advocacy organization founded in Houston in 1989,
organized the event.
Noyes, who was awarded the U.S. Surgeon
General's Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Contribution to the
Health and Welfare of
America's Children and Adolescents in
1999, said the Sept. 11 tragedy should not result in hopelessness and helplessness.
advocacy groups should continue to act
as a voice for children, she said.
"In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing
wrong with hope," Noyes said. "This is not the time to slow down, but to
Noyes said that although progress has been
made on issues such as the provision of health care, other issues (like
incarceration, gun control and television
violence) should be placed on the policy-making agenda.
She said the family is becoming an "endangered
species" and measures should be taken to strengthen American families.
At the luncheon, four "Voice for Children
2001 Awards" were presented to elected officials for advocacy of policies
regarding children's safety
Mayor Lee Brown was recognized for Houston's
After School Achievement Program, which aims to improve the safety and
children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Gov. Rick Perry, State Rep. Garnet Coleman
and County Judge Robert Eckels received awards for their leadership roles
in the passage of
Medicaid simplification in the Texas legislature.
Gov. Perry was unable to attend the event, so his communication director
accepted the award
on his behalf.
Two "Accolades 2001 Awards" were presented
to Dr. Ralph Feigin and his wife, Judith Feigin, for their lifelong commitment
to the health and
education of children.
Feigin, the president and chief executive
officer of the Baylor College of Medicine and the physician-in-chief of
the Texas Children's Hospital,
has published more than 400 books and
has trained more than 1,000 pediatricians.
"(The) 'Accolades 2001' luncheon was to
celebrate our solutions and results," said Barbara McCormick, the president
of the Children at Risk
program. "Even as we celebrate these victories,
challenges loom on the horizon. We've taken the hill; the mountain remains."
For information on the Children At Risk
organization, visit its Web site at www.childrenatrisk.org.