Celebrating Children Gala Showcases Solutions to Homelessness for Young Adults

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Events, News | 1 comment

The poplar Autry Museum of the American West was the site for Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services’ 2016 Celebrating Children Gala on Saturday, Sept. 17. tilp-group-photo-for-website

Over 200 people attended the sold out event. The fundraiser raised over $190,000 that will help fund the therapeutic and other crucial support services that Hathaway-Sycamores – one of Los Angeles County’s largest mental health and welfare agencies – provides each year to thousands of children, youth, young adults, and families facing serious life challenges.

Those on hand had the chance to experience the rich cultural tapestry of the American West as they explored the museum after hours before enjoying a delicious sit-down dinner catered by the Autry’s in-house caterer Crossroads West. Guests also had the opportunity to meet some of the young adults from Hathaway-Sycamores’ Transitional Independent Living Program (TILP) at the event. The program is dedicated to helping former foster youth who have turned 18 years old to transition into successful productive adults by providing housing, mental health and other support services including job training and job placement.

Hathaway-Sycamores Celebrating Children 2016

The heart of the Celebrating Children event was the presentation of the Hathaway-Sycamores’ Celebrating Children Award, which honors an individual or family that exemplifies the values of integrity, leadership and commitment to the well-being of children, adults, families, and communities. This year’s award recipient was philanthropist and longtime La Cañada resident Renée LaBran. Commenting on the Celebrating Children Award recipient, Hathaway-Sycamores’ President and CEO Debra Manners said, “Her leadership and commitment to helping children, families and young adults to overcome obstacles and to lend productive lives is inspirational to us all.”

Renée LaBran Receives Hathaway-Sycamores' 2016 Celebrating Children Award

Malcom Boyd, Renée LaBran, Debbie Manners, and Ken Goldstein.

Renée has been a supporter of Hathaway-Sycamores for over a decade. She is an active member of the Hathaway-Sycamores Board. She served as Board Chair from 2001-2013 and is a current Advisory Board Member.  Renée explained her commitment to supporting Hathaway-Sycamores, “I was first drawn to Hathaway-Sycamores because I was struck by the huge disparity between my own boys’ experiences and those of the boys at El Nido [Hathaway-Sycamores’ residential campus].” Renée is a big supporter of the TILP program in particular because, as she says, “Someone needs to be there for the young adults who don’t have parents to call for money, to take them to Ikea to furnish their apartment, or even to help them find an apartment when they have no credit. Hathaway-Sycamores is that someone.”

Two graduates of the program, Armine Gasparyan and Marcos Gutierrez were on hand to share their personal stories. According to Marcos, “I didn’t think people or places like this existed anywhere. They pretty much helped me put myself back together. They restored joy in my life. They helped me believe in myself. Hathaway didn’t change my life, it saved my life!” Today, Marcos attends Cerritos College working towards his AA in Administration of Criminal Justice. His goal is to help other kids in foster care.

The original video 3 Paths to Adulthood made its debut at the event and can be viewed here. Date and place for the 9th annual Celebrating Children will be announced soon at www.CelebratingChildrenEvent.com.

Ken Goldstein

Ken Goldstein

This year’s Celebrating Children Gala was chaired for the fourth consecutive year by Hathaway-Sycamores’ Board member Ken Goldstein. Special thanks also are extended to this year’s Celebrating Children major corporate sponsors, including: Kaiser Permanente; KCB; Lucas Horsfall; Morrison & Foerster Foundation; Wells Fargo; Bob Smith Toyota; SYNOPTEK; Western Asset; The Goodmen Project; The Story Plant; Avery Dennison; CBE; Green Hasson Janks; and The George & Mary Ann Leal Foundation. Deep gratitude additionally is expressed to individual major sponsors, including: Lisa and Brad Freer; Gayle and Michael Galper; Shelley and Ken Goldstein; Susan and Jim Huser; Penny Kirby; Renée LaBran and Malcom Boyd; Debbie Manners; Diana and Steve Strandberg; Annsley and George Strong; Jan Hotchkin Tinoco and Mark Tinoco; Paulette and Henry Matson; Deborah and Brenton Weirick; Steve Madison; Pat and Gary Blake; Teri and Peter Lauenstein; Bessie Ramirez Ruiz and Luis Ruiz; and Nancy and Gino Thomas.

Hathaway-Sycamores Celebrating Children 2016
To see more photos from the event on Shutterfly, click here.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings at Hathaway-Sycamores click here to sign up for eHappenings, our electronic newsletter.


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  1. Rob Myers

    Another great night for Hathaway-Sycamores……congrats to Renee LaBran and rest of the team at H-S!!!!

    Rob Myers

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