Posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – 11:35 AM
At last Friday’s annual Big Bash Gala in The Beverly Hilton, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. (BBBSLA) raised $535,000 and honored Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of Original Content, with its Sherry Lansing Award. The award recognizes an individual who provides an inspiring, positive role model to the area’s youth.
BBBSLA Board Chair Laura Lizer, along with her “Little Sister” Jenny, welcomed more than 400 guests before turning the stage over to the evening’s hosts, Big Brother Travis Van Winkle, star of TNT’s The Last Ship, and Big Sister Kelly Sullivan, star of TLC’s Too Close To Home.
In celebrating the work of BBBSLA, Kelly stressed the impact its programs had on the lives of underserved youth. She noted: “This year 100 percent of the girls in our Women in Entertainment program were admitted to a four-year university; 96 percent of the ‘Littles’ in all programs graduated high school while 94 percent of them were college bound.”
“Big Sister” Tracey Underwood, senior VP at ABC Signature Studios, and her “Little Sister” Amanda Cornish, currently a freshman at Pepperdine, movingly detailed their own experiences and the life-changing impact that being a part of the organization has made in each of their lives.
LAPD Sgt. Luq Watkins and Officer Ryan Caplette, both Big Brothers, detailed the year-old “Bigs in Blue” program which connects youth and police in one-on-one mentoring, with the goal of building strong, lasting relationships between law enforcement and the families they serve.
BBBSLA Director of Development Jovan Bowles introduced Orange Is the New Black co-star Kate Mulgrew who presented honoree Cindy Holland with her award. In her acceptance, Holland referred to her “Little Sister” Karen, “who has that essential fire within, the thing that cannot be bought, nor taught. We get to help stoke that fire and encourage these young adults to dream as big as their imaginations will allow. It reminds all of us to dream big too… for ourselves, for them and for futures together.”
Singer, song-writer Adam Lambert, currently the front man of the musical group Queen, made a surprise appearance.
Event sponsors included: Mazda, Netflix, Wedgewood and Roy P. Disney, great-nephew of BBBSLA co-founder, Walt Disney.
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Girlfriends of Linda Schlesinger cooked up a major surprise birthday party for her at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. One of the biggest surprises was when her husband, Peter, wheeled in a huge cake, decorated like a golf course with 13 flags depicting all the courses around the world where the couple has played.
Happy birthday, Linda, and many more.