News & Perspectives

News & Perspectives

The Children's Trust Gala


On Thursday, September 22, more than 300 people from across Massachusetts came together to celebrate children and families impacted by the Children's Trust.  

Guests heard powerful testimonies from program participants, Andrée Gonzalez and Luke DeRoy, and helped honor retired Executive Director, Suzin Bartley, and the 400,000 families served under her leadership.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, the event raised more than $550,000 to support vital programs of the Children’s Trust. 

Luke DeRoy performing.

Moments of Gratitude

Children’s Trust Nurturing Father’s program participant, singer-songwriter, and father, Luke DeRoy, performed a song he wrote about his 3-year-old son, Roland. Luke shared how the Nurturing Father’s program gave him the tools and resources he needed to be a present, loving father.

“Love is a skill that takes practice, consistency, and effort. The Nurturing Father’s Program has given me consistently healthy examples that I use in my life when my compass is wobbly. And it has been stable so that I can be that for my son, even when so much of my life isn’t. “

Andrée Gonzalez reflected on how the Children’s Trust Healthy Families program helped her and her partner, Lucas, become the parents they are today. She expressed her gratitude for the support and guidance of her family's home visitor, and how being a Healthy Families program participant has helped her in her current role as a home visitor.

Suzin Bartley addressing the crowd.

Moments of Reflection

Suzin Bartley, retired Children’s Trust Executive Director, took the stage and reflected on what it takes to prevent child abuse and build strong, healthy families. From policy and legislative work to community building, and parent support resources – Suzin reminded the audience that everyone plays a role in keeping kids safe.

Moments of Celebration

Governor Baker honoring Suzin Bartley and standing ovation from guests.

Special guest Governor Charlie Baker celebrated and thanked Suzin Bartley for her 30 years of commitment and dedication to the Children’s Trust. Governor Baker described Suzin as a “Warrior” and applauded her fierce advocacy for children and families. 

Jennifer Valenzuela and George Atanasov.

George Atanasov, Chair of the Children's Trust Board of Directors, shared the exciting news that Jennifer Valenzuela has been appointed the new executive director of the Children's Trust. 

“Jenn’s experience has shaped her views to understand the deep impact the social determinants of health have on children and families,” said Atanasov.

Thank You

Thank you to our sponsors, supporters, and volunteers who helped make The Children’s Trust Gala a success. A special thanks to this year’s auctioneer, Sherry Truhlar, emcee, Karen Anderson of WCBV-5, and Spike Events for providing a photo booth. Together, we can end child abuse in Massachusetts.