Born in Portland, Maine, Victoria Rowell was raised in foster care for her entire childhood. Under the auspices of the Ford Foundation, she received a full scholarship to the Cambridge School of Ballet in Massachusetts at the age of eight. As a young dancer, she flourished there and became a member of the American Ballet Theater family. In addition, she participated in an exchange program with the Julliard School of Music & Dance program.
Ms. Rowell has starred in several featured films. She was a series regular on The Young and the Restless and Diagnosis Murder. She has written a book, The Women Who Raised Me, and developed a documentary, The Mentor, dedicated to the role models in her life.
Ms. Rowell has been honored with eleven NAACP Image Awards and is involved with numerous charities. In 1990, she founded The Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, an organization that gives direct services in the areas of: fine arts, higher education, healthcare, financial literacy, reunification programs, cultural enrichment and resource family support.
She received the United Nations Association Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Southern Maine, and an Honorary Degree from Wheelock College in Boston - in recognition of her work in foster care and adoption. She has been honored as a National Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. She has participated in CBS annual Home for the Holidays special which honors foster children.
Jonah Martin Edelman
Dr. Jonah Martin Edelman is among the most influential and inspiring leaders in his generation and one of the country's leading voices for children. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of Stand for Children http://www.stand.org, which is an innovative nonprofit membership organization that enables people who care about children to join together to advocate for good schools, early childhood education, and other programs that give children a fair chance in life.
In 1996, Dr. Edelman helped organize the Stand for Children rally in Washington, DC, attended by more than 300,000. This unprecedented event, the largest demonstration in support of children in US history, drew inspiration from past social movements and set out to create a politically influential grassroots constituency for children. Stand for Children exists because children don't vote, they don't lobby, and they don't make political campaign contributions.
Nearly a decade later, Stand for Children has become one of the nation's groundbreaking child advocacy organizations. Unique in its focus on harnessing citizen commitment to effect political decisions and elections in order to benefit children, Stand for Children now has 5,000 members and 20 local organizations in four states. Since 1999, Stand for Children members have won 80 victories that have impacted more than three million children.
Dr. Edelman graduated summa cum laude from Yale University and attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship where he earned a PhD in politics. He was awarded the 2005 Prime Mover Award by the Hunt Alternatives Fund.