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ҳ Gala Raises Nearly $400,000

Funds Raised Help Vulnerable Children, Young Adults, and Families Create a Better Life

ҳ hosted its highly anticipated Celebrating Children Spring Gala fundraiser on Saturday, March 16th, at the iconic Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. The lively event brought together members of the community in support of ҳ’ innovative behavioral health programs, benefiting vulnerable children, young adults, and families in Southern California. Guests enjoyed a sumptuous dinner amidst the elegant ambiance of the Jonathan Club, captivating auctions, and a very special live performance by Grammy Award Winning Motown Legend Thelma Houston. The program included inspiring stories, and with multi-Emmy-Award-winning journalist Peter Daut as the host, it was truly a magical night!

Thelma Houston performs at ҳ' Gala
Celebrating Children special guest, Grammy Award Winning Motown Legend Thelma Houston.

At the core of the Gala was the presentation of the prestigious ҳ Celebrating Children Award. This year, ҳ proudly recognized John Drinker and the esteemed Los Altos Auxiliary of ҳ for their exceptional dedication, leadership, and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of children, families, and adults across Southern California.

Debra Manners and John Drinker at ҳ Gala
ҳ President and CEO Debra Manners and 2024 Celebrating Children honoree John Drinker.

ҳ Board Chair Sonia Solin introduced and presented the award to John Drinker. As former ҳ Board Chair from July 2021 to June 2023, Mr. Drinker played a pivotal role in steering the organization through a period of growth and transformation. During his tenure, ҳ opened a new Family Resource Center in Palmdale and launched ҳ’ Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams in partnership with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and Los Angeles County. Mr. Drinker’s leadership was instrumental in facilitating these expansions and enhancing ҳ’ ability to serve the community.

Mary Van Amringe and Kelly Springer at ҳ Gala
Los Altos Auxiliary Co-Presidents Mary Van Amringe and Kelly Springer.

The Los Altos Auxiliary, renowned for their unwavering support and care, has been an integral part of ҳ’ El Nido Residential Therapeutic Program for many decades. In addition to funding large-scale capital improvements, through compassionate gestures members provide a personal touch of home, with on-campus and off-campus activities, as well as meaningful one-to-one interactions. Their involvement enriches campus life and enhances the work ҳ staff does with the youth. ҳ President and CEO Debra Manners presented the award to Los Altos Co-Presidents Kelly Springer and Mary Van Amringe. Ms. Manners expressed her pleasure in honoring John Drinker and the Los Altos Auxiliary with the Celebrating Children award, stating, “We are thrilled to recognize John Drinker and the members of Los Altos. Their leadership and support have been invaluable in transforming lives and fostering resilience in our communities. This recognition reflects their tireless efforts to help the vulnerable individuals and families we serve create better lives.”

The Gala was attended by 220 guests and raised nearly $400,000, with proceeds directly benefiting ҳ’ child welfare and behavioral health programs. These funds will have a profound impact on the lives of over 18,000 vulnerable children, youth, and families annually throughout Southern California.

Special thanks are extended to the 2024 Gala Committee: Co-chairs Laura Baker and Christina Bang, Auction Sub-Committee Chair Megan Browne, Lisa Durkin, Ronda Einbinder, Jan Emamian, Rita Henderson, Ashley Housman, Karen Palmersheim, Darlene Scott, and Tanuja Singeetham. Deep gratitude additionally is expressed to this year’s Celebrating Children major sponsors, including Brad & Lisa Freer; Capital Group; Duane Thierry & John Drinker; American Business Bank; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Michele & Todd Doney; Gallagher; Krissy & Mike Gitlin; Kaiser Permanente; Preferred Partners Insurance Agency; Roger W. Stephens; Alan Berro; CBE Office Solutions; Gayle & Michael Galper; Lucas Horsfall; The Morrison & Foerster Foundation; Nancy & Glenn Pittson; Russell Herder; Synoptek Inc.; Chorus; Cigna; Friedenthal, Heffernan & Brown; GHJ; J’s Maintenance; Renée LaBran & Malcolm Boyd; Pasadena Tournament of Roses; Linda & John Seiter; Sonia A. Solin & Christopher J. Aldrich; Vx Inc.; and media sponsors Outlook Newspapers and Pasadena Now.

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