The 2018 Chiles Award Winner will be Announced on Monday, January 22, 2018 at the Children’s Week Awards Dinner & Reception
The Chiles Advocacy Award, in honor of Lawton and Rhea Chiles’ dedication to Florida’s children and families, is presented annually to a Floridian who has dedicated his or her life to improving the lives of children and families, and who has successfully engaged others to promote policies and programs that benefit those children and families. The recipient of the annual Chiles Advocacy Award exemplifies the integrity, dedication, and commitment to improving the lives of Florida’s children and families for which we all strive.
Lawton and Rhea Chiles embody the spirit of what public service is intended to be. The wisdom and experience they gleaned during Lawton Chiles’ decades of public service taught them that society’s most precious natural resource – its children and their families – deserve the special attention of society and its representatives in governmental office. Together, they elevated understanding and awareness of the critical importance in the lives of children to new levels and helped craft state and national policy that will benefit children and their families for generations to come.
2018 Chiles Advocacy Award Winner:
Dr. Wil Blechman
Retired rheumatologist who became very interested in early childhood issues as a result of his activities in Kiwanis.
As President of Kiwanis International in 1990 introduced a well-research program for Kiwanis Clubs to consider and which supports programs focused on pre-natal to age five. The program is called Young Children: Priority One, and many Kiwanis Clubs continue to provide support to the families and children involved in this age group.
Blechman has continued with his interest which became even stronger as research in the 90’s showed the importance of the environment on human brain development in these early years. Blechman speaks to groups on this topic. He also is a Board Member of the Children’s Forum and the Lawton Chiles Foundation and serves as Chair of the Health Committee for the United Way Center for Excellence in Child Care in Miami-Dade. He previously served as Vice-Chair of The Children’s Trust in Miami-Dade.