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Anne Marie Ambrose / Handout

In Chicago, actress Delece Williams devotes almost all of her leisure time to working with at-risk youths on the city's south side; in Philadelphia, former public defender Anne Marie Ambrose is the dynamo behind the city's outreach to the hardest to reach young people; in Alexandria, Va., Allen Lomax, a retired federal employee, gives his time and leadership skills to help establish and coordinate a city program to stem the tide of substance abuse among teenagers; and in Sacramento, teacher and teacher's trainer Nora Gerber is bringing often disparate city and private agencies together to better serve kids in need.

These are just four of the 10 remarkable recipients of the 2014 Lewis Hine Awards for Service to Children and Youth, which will be presented Tuesday night by the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) in New York City. These are the men and women who make certain that young people in need are not forgotten or ignored, and who for the most part fly under the radar. They are what the 110 year-old NCLC calls the "unheralded laureates of our nation; those who quietly but with strength help us protect and raise the new generation and prepare them for adulthood."

In this season of awards, it seems only fitting that we recognize and give attention not only to the great performers, writers and actors among us, along with the outstanding singers and musicians, scientists, doctors, economists and researchers, but also to the people our communities depend on every day to help parents and teachers secure the well-being of young people.

Whether in the fields of health or education, athletics or social work, justice or recreation, the more than 280 Hine recipients honored by the committee since 1985 are a remarkable network of best practice professionals and volunteers who provide the nation with models to follow.

Nominated for consideration by hundreds of corporate, civic and non-profit leaders each year - then vetted by an expert panel of judges comprised of leaders from a broad sweep of fields of endeavor - Hine awardees are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the work done with and for children.

They come from near and far, from Alaska to the Virgin Islands, from Texas to Montana. They are almost always shocked they have been nominated and selected, because they do their work with a visceral commitment that would have it no other way, and with a devotion to the well-being of children that is built into their DNA.

"These are really the awards that mean the most to all of us," the late Xerox CEO David Kearns once said. "These are people we and our children depend on every day."

You won't see this warm and wonderful ceremony on national television Tuesday tonight with millions of viewers and millions of dollars in the mix, but you will know that at least in some small way men and women who give so much and expect so little are getting a brief moment of much-needed and much-deserved recognition.

Jeffrey Newman is the president/executive director of the private, non-profit National Child Labor Committee.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: This awards season, remember those who help USA's youth

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