Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Place Called Home Gala For The Children

More often than we may realize, some of Hollywood's wealthy elite actually leave their posh environments to experience L.A.'s other less-than-perfect surroundings. Gone are the tidy avenues of chic boutiques, trendy health conscious restaurants, professionally tanned, sculpted faces and bodies, and a comforting sense of safety. In their place, a step and repeat of dirty streets, liquor stores, greasy fast food joints, dilapidated gang-tagged buildings, unsmiling faces, and a nagging fear that at any moment a prized possession might be taken, including your life. Welcome to South Central L.A. Here is where these elite dare to go to share intangible gifts that all the money in the world can't buy.

Yet despite all that we know and hear about the negativity in the 'hood, there is a positive report coming from the streets. In the middle of the gang violence, drug addiction, poverty, and fear is a place a child or teen can go to just dream in peace. At A Place Called Home (APCH), a safe zone, not only are kids allowed to dream, but they are also given the tools and taught the skills needed to manifest all that they imagine. For just a couple of hours a day the burden of poverty and violence is lifted from their small shoulders and they are free to just be--be inquisitive, be creative, be studious, be themselves. Watch the video.

Wednesday night at the Beverly Regent Hotel in Beverly Hills, three of the Hollywood elite unafraid to share their wealth, their time, and their experience with the youth of South Central were honored at APCH's 2007 Winter Wonderland Gala For The Children. Award recipients were:
  • Dawn Taubin, President of Domestic Marketing, Warner Bros., Children's Inspiration Award
  • Sid Ganis, Founder, Out of the Blue Entertainment, Debrah Constance Humanitarian Award
  • Robert A. Davidow, Founding Board Member of APCH, the Sister Patricia Connor Angel of the Children Award

Approximately one million dollars was raised at the event through donations, pledges, tickets, and auctions. Here are some picks of my favorite silent auction items. Included: American Idol tickets and Chris Daughtry guitar; Boots signed by Avril Lavigne; artwork by APCH artists, LA Clippers floor seats and LA Kings suite; signed guitars by Hannah Montana & Jonas Brothers; Lenny Kravitz concert tickets.

And here are more pics from the event:

Sid Ganis, APCH Founder Debrah Constance, Dawn Taubin, and Robert Davidow

APCH Executive Director, Thyonne Gordon, Gala Honorees, and APCH children

Doug Atchinson, Chairperson, APCH Leadership Council and wife, Dahlia. Atchinson is also the writer and director of Akeelah and the Bee.

Orlando Jones and Shondrella Avery

Angela Basset introducing honoree, Sid Ganis co-producer of Akeelah and the Bee

Brian McKnight and sons performing

To learn more about APCH read my previous post by clicking here or visit the APCH website at

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