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Needham Activist Honored at RFK Children's Action Corps Event

The local WCVB anchor was one of a group of advocates who received the Embracing the Legacy Award on Thursday, June 14.

This article was submitted by the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps

On June 14 at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, WCVB anchor Susan Wornick was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps’ Embracing the Legacy Award.

The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps’ Annual Embracing the Legacy Awards celebrates the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy and the work of the organization founded in his honor. The event raises money to support Massachusetts’ most vulnerable youth and families. The agency, which is celebrating 43 years of service, is a leader in children’s welfare, juvenile justice, education, advocacy and treatment in Massachusetts.

Wornick, a Needham resident, joined WCVB in 1981 and since 1989 has served as an anchor for WCVB’s midday newscast. Wornick is a member of the station’s investigative unit and consumer reporter. As a reporter, she has brought many issues affecting children to the forefront, covering issues of prostitution, the imprisonment of innocent women with drug and alcohol problems, and the need for proper treatment programs for youth in Massachusetts.

In the mid 1980s, Wornick did a series of reports through which she was able to meet teenage girls who were residents of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, an all-female secure treatment facility. She learned about their past lives, built relationships with them and ultimately formed a mentoring program where she and the girls talked about issues with their mental health, crime, poverty and isolation.

“There were girls who were victims of abuse and after speaking with them I felt desperately sad and I didn’t know how to help,” Wornick said. “I learned they needed someone they could connect with who would listen without retribution. Those girls will forever be in my heart.”

Wornick continued with the group sessions for several years. She continues to serve as a mentor to the girls at the secure treatment facility and serves as an emcee at agency events.

“It’s important for people to realize they can help even one child out of despair, one child at a time, and that’s what the staff at the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps does best,” Wornick said. 

In June 1985, Wornick gained national prominence by refusing to reveal a news source. She was held in contempt of court and narrowly averted a jail sentence.

Wornick volunteers with Rosie’s Place and also helps raise awareness for various non-profits that support breast cancer research.

“Susan sees what we see in our children: that every child deserves a chance and can thrive when provided with therapy, education, and support,” said Ed Kelley, president and CEO of Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Actions Corps. “Our children’s continued success depends on people like Susan.”

On Thursday, June 14 at the JFK Library, Joe Kennedy III, grandson of the late senator Robert F. Kennedy, helped honor his grandfather’s legacy and the lasting contributions he made toward protecting society’s most vulnerable children, during the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps’ Embracing the Legacy event.

Kennedy has been a Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps board member since 2009 and has been co-chairing the event since 2010.

Along with Wornick, the following advocates were honored with Embracing the Legacy Awards: Dr. William Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs; Paula Conrad and Stan Strickland, co-executive directors of Express Yourself; and Rick Loughlin, president emeritus of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage New England, and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares.

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