MILWAUKEE, WI  – September 25, 2020 –  St. Francis Children’s Center announced their Annual Leading Lights Awards Night presented by Northwestern Mutual on Friday, October 16, 2020, at Johnson Controls Community Amphitheater in the Richard E. Maslowski Park in Glendale. The awards ceremony will begin at 6:00pm, with a movie in the park, “Moana”, starting at 6:30pm. Following the unprecedented events that have surrounded 2020, the nonprofit organization felt compelled to do something different and will honor four families as their “Unsung Heroes” in a casual, family-friendly event. All proceeds from this event will help to sustain and strengthen SFCC’s special education, therapy and support services for children with special needs or developmental delays in the community.

“Over the years, our Leading Lights event has been a large sit-down dinner that honors well-known community leaders,” explains Executive Director Mara Duckens. “In 2020, we’re making changes. We are holding an outdoor, socially distanced, family-friendly celebration that will honor four courageous, resilient children. These young people are at the heart of all we do at St. Francis Children’s Center. They truly are our heroes.”

St. Francis Children’s Center hopes this event will shed light on how the global pandemic has impacted families of children with special needs and the many ways that parents, caregivers and siblings have become their child’s biggest champions and advocates. SFCC selected four families, one from each of their core programs, to receive awards on October 16. This year’s honorees are:

  • Hazel Marshall, a happy 4-year-old diagnosed with Angelman syndrome, and her family will receive an award on behalf of our Early Childhood Education program.
  • Cody Zwicke, an active 6-year-old with Down syndrome, and his family have been selected to represent our Family Activity Center.
  • Marquise Butler, a 3-year-old with autism who loves to swing, and his family will accept an award for our Birth to Three/Early Intervention program.
  • And, Trevell Carter, a 10-year-old math whiz with autism, and his family will receive honors for our Children’s Long-Term Support program.

Tickets, sponsorship information and the most up-to-date information about how we are hosting a safe, socially-distanced, in-person Leading Lights Awards Night can be found at 

St. Francis Children’s Center’s mission is to serve and educate children with special needs in inclusive environments enabling them to reach their greatest potential. Since 1968, SFCC has served as a trusted and respected resource in the field of special education in southeastern Wisconsin, touching the lives of more than 33,000 children and their families throughout the Milwaukee area.

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