The Children's Defense Fund–California will host its 27th Annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony on December 7, 2017, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

The celebration will honor five Los Angeles high school “stars” in recognition of their excellence in academic achievement, despite overcoming tremendous obstacles.

This momentous occasion will be hosted by Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, along with support from co-chairs Jurnee Smollett-Bell & Josiah Bell, Carol & Frank Biondi, Ruth-Ann Huvane, Kevin Huvane, Katie Sharer & Mark Mullen, and Liza & Conan O'Brien, and CDF-CA Executive Director Shimica Gaskins. O’Brien will serve as the night’s emcee, and will be joined by additional special guests to be announced at a later date.

For over 40 years, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) has championed policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, as they transition into adulthood. CDF began the Beat the Odds® scholarship program in 1990 to celebrate the positive potential of young people. Rarely recognized are the many youth who succeed despite facing extraordinary challenges such as poverty, racism, violence, homelessness, family breakup or abuse that present barriers to even the smallest achievements.

Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is proud to celebrate another outstanding group of high school students who have overcome adversity to excel in school and as leaders in their communities. To help ensure their success, CDF-CA provides each student with critical academic support services starting in 10th grade that include: ongoing mentoring, leadership and life skills development, one-on-one college counseling, SAT prep, and an opportunity to meet with a range of public and private colleges and universities in California. Additionally, upon enrolling in a college/career program, each student receives a $10,000 scholarship as well as continued support from CDF-CA. Supporting this event is also an investment in CDF-CA’s work to change the odds for children. These efforts include continuing research, advocating policies and building empowering partnerships with youth, parents and families through CDF’s signature programs and issue based campaigns.

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