July 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

County social workers to be honored with monetary awards from author Cornelia Funke

 

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Five county social workers are to be honored for outstanding work today. (Thinkstock)

Five county social workers are to be honored today for outstanding work, receiving prizes of $5,000 each from award-winning children’s author Cornelia Funke.

“I want to show my gratitude with this award to all the men and women in this city who walk into the darkness for us,” Funke said. “I want to show my respect to all the ones who fearlessly face the shadows of our society and reach out for the weakest — the children who learned about fear and pain far too early and live lives that would break most of us.”

The social workers include Anne Thomas, who has been with the Department of Children and Family Services for more than 20 years. Thomas saved three children from a dangerous home where children were exposed to sexual exploitation and narcotic abuse.

Agavni Nalbandyan, another winner, walked into a home to investigate abuse and found a family being held captive by a father. She secured a safe exit for the family.

Fawnda Sandoval has found adoptive homes for 25 teens and children, most of whom had been moved between multiple foster homes.

“They made it their job to heal the wounds others caused, to bring joy where there was just pain,” Funke said.

Funke — known for her books “Dragon Rider,” “The Thief Lord” and “Inkheart,” two of which were made into feature films — personally financed the awards.

A children’s social worker after college, Funke serves as a board member for the county’s Violence Intervention Program.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina is expected to join Funke for the awards reception in the courtyard of the Children’s Medical Village at LAC-USC Medical Center.

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