The Child Mind Institute celebrated a year of growth and announced a major expansion last night at the 9th annual Child Mind Institute Child Advocacy Award Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street.

At the gala dinner, hosted by Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos, Harold Koplewicz, MD, the Child Mind Institute’s president, saluted the organization’s progress on both clinical and research fronts, and outlined more to come.

“I’m proud to announce that to further our ambitious science program and to help more children and families in need, we are opening a new Research Center in Harlem this February and a new clinical center in the San Francisco Bay Area in September of 2019,” Dr. Koplewicz said.

The evening, which honored Ashok Varadhan, global co-head of the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs, for his support for children, raised $6.8 million.

In accepting the award, Varadhan said, “As a father of three, I’ve come to realize that every child deserves access to good mental health care. And the Child Mind Institute is such a great combination of not only state-of-the-art research but individual care. What they’re doing is making a difference for a constituency that needs it most.”

Harvard University professor Dr. John R. Weisz was recognized as the recipient of the 2019 Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health. Dr. Weisz’s research involves development and testing of interventions for child and adolescent mental health problems, as well as meta-analyses and systematic reviews of the science of youth mental health care.

In opening the evening, comedian and author Wentworth noted the challenges for young people. “This is an incredibly difficult world to be a kid in,” she said. “You have all the pressures of school, and what’s happening in our country, and you have social media, which is a teenage curse. There’s so much going on in our kids’ minds right now, and the Child Mind Institute is an amazing place to help everybody figure it out.”

She added: “Our family has reaped the rewards of the Child Mind Institute, but I think children in our country have as well.”

ABC’s Stephanopoulos noted that he was grateful to the Child Mind Institute clinicians for sharing their expertise with the Good Morning America audience. “I know that has made a difference in millions of lives,” he said. “And that’s really the story of the Child Mind Institute, helping so many people so many different ways—individuals, families, community programs, schools. Harold and his whole organization send so much wisdom out into the world, help so many people, it’s made such a difference.”

Lily, a 12-year-old from Arizona who came to the Child Mind Institute for intensive treatment, described the anxiety disorder, called selective mutism, that made her unable to speak outside her home.

Lily described the thrill of going back school after her treatment and talking to her friends — for the first time in the four years she’d known them. “Thank you to the Child Mind Institute and all the donors who made it possible for my family to travel to find the right treatment,” Lily concluded. “I have a voice because of all of you and having a voice feels awesome!”