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Blake Lively Highlights Support For Child Rescue Coalition In Fight Against Child Pornography

May 05, 2017 01:30 pm
Child Rescue Coalition’s vital work tracking and arresting thousands of child predators across the globe has captured the attention of actress and mother, Blake Lively.

Video: Blake Lively – Variety Magazine – Power of Women

The talented mother of two is lending her voice to raise awareness on the global crisis of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation, just introducing Child Rescue Coalition as Lively’s charity of honor during Variety’s Power of Women luncheon held on Friday, April 21, 2017 in New York City.


The nonprofit’s advanced Child Protection System (CPS) technology enables law enforcement to track, arrest, and ultimately convict offenders creating and distributing child pornography online.

“Child pornography has reached an epidemic level and we are committed to training law enforcement officers around the world to find the worst offenders. We are thrilled that Blake shares our commitment of rescuing children from online predators,” shared Carly Asher Yoost, Child Rescue Coalition founder and CEO. “Studies show that if a suspect is found with this type of sickening material, they are more likely to be hands-on abusers. We are grateful to Blake who understands the urgency to get these horrific offenders off the streets so we can protect children from further abuse.”


Carly and Blake met last fall during an event where Carly was named the 2016 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree. Since this initial meeting, Blake has facilitated opportunities with Child Rescue Coalition and a leading internet service provider as well as Facebook to discuss ways that the tech and communication organizations can develop tools that make the internet a safer place.

Child Rescue Coalition’s technology is provided to law enforcement at no cost and has tracked over 44 million unique offenders in possession of child pornography. The nonprofit has trained 9,792 law enforcement officers in all 50 states and in 77 countries, resulting in the prosecution and conviction of more than 9,000 child predators and the rescue of over 2,000 children from sexual abuse.


Melissa Rivers Emcees Erasing The Stigma Leadership Awards

May 05, 2017 12:00 pm
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services honored music icon Judy Collins, “Touched with Fire” writer/director Paul Dalio, and actress/filmmaker Anna Akana, at its annual Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Laura Ernest, Melissa Rivers, Dr Kita S. Curry
Laura Ernest, Melissa Rivers, Dr Kita S. Curry

Melissa Rivers was the evening’s emcee.

The event celebrated the nonprofit agency’s 75th anniversary of service and raised more than $620,000 for its activities as a leading provider of community mental health and substance use services in Los Angeles County. Didi Hirsch is also home to the nation’s first Suicide Prevention Center, a national leader in providing training, research and services to people contemplating suicide, concerned loved ones and those who have attempted or are grieving a loss.


Singer/Songwriter/Author/Activist Judy Collins, whose son, Clark, died by suicide in 1992 and who herself struggled with substance use and mental illness, received the 2017 Beatrice Stern Media Award for her passionate efforts to raise awareness about suicide and mental illness. In an interview with reporter Michael Harrison of “Up Close and Far Out” before the event, she said: “I have written extensively about the secrets of my family, fundamentally, the alcoholism, and I’ve written about my life as a survivor, what I’ve done to get through it and get over it, and I like to share that with people. That’s why this award is an honor.” Collins’ performance, which included “Both Sides Now” and “Amazing Grace,” closed the event with a standing ovation.

“General Hospital” veteran actor Maurice Benard, a 2002 honoree, presented the Leadership Award to Writer/Director/Composer Paul Dalio, who said, “I do believe that stigma is the root of most problems associated with bipolar disorder. So to me, it’s the biggest honor to have such an impactful organization give an award to the thing that I consider to be the biggest problem with bipolar.” Dalio’s film debut, “Touched With Fire,” was inspired by his own experience and explores the relationship between mental illness and creativity in a story of two young poets who fall in love while hospitalized with bipolar disorder.


Actress/Producer/Filmmaker/Writer Anna Akana, accepted the Mental Health Ambassador Award from veteran actor George Segal, who talked about his own experience with panic attacks. Honored for using her popular YouTube channel to promote awareness about mental illness and suicide, Akana accepted the award on behalf of her 13-year-old sister, Kristina, who died by suicide in 2007. “I have friends I can talk to. My sister didn’t. She didn’t have anyone she felt she could open up to…Today, there are things like Didi Hirsch’s Chat Services…If my sister had been able to chat with someone that day, I don’t know, things might have turned out differently.”

Rivers, who was honored with the Beatrice Stern Media Award in 2016, hosted this year’s event with humor and grace: “The more you talk about things, the less frightening they are. This event and what Didi Hirsch does and offers to so many people is just phenomenal!”

To demonstrate that mental illness is more pervasive than people realize, Didi Hirsch’s President/CEO, Kita S. Curry PhD asked all of the guests who have or know someone who has mental illness to stand. The entire room rose to its feet. “We’re helping erase the stigma of mental illness by showing people that it’s only one facet of life-like diabetes and other illnesses,” says Dr. Curry. “You can be the CEO of an organization, like I am and also suffer from serious depression. With treatment, we can all be really successful.”

Other celebrated supporters of the organization who attended the event include Elizabeth Frances of the AMC series “The Son,” Jake Allyn of BET/VH1’s “The Quad,” Liam Dow, of the upcoming summer film “The Three Stooges,” and music artist, Larissa Lam.

For 75 years, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been a leading provider of free community mental health and substance use services. Dedicated to serving communities where stigma or poverty limits access, Didi Hirsch helps 100,000 children and adults each year. It has therapists at 11 locations and 100 schools throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and is home to the Suicide Prevention Center, the nation’s first and a national leader in training, research and services. We help people contemplating suicide, concerned loved ones and those who have attempted or are grieving a loss. Our multilingual crisis line answered nearly 87,000 calls/chats/texts nationwide in 2016 and is one of three that takes calls for the national Disaster Distress Helpline.


One Summer Chicago 2017 Announces $1 Million Charitable Gift From Barack And Michelle Obama

May 05, 2017 10:30 am

Barack Obama: Profile

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama announced a $1 million donation to support One Summer Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s youth employment program to keep kids safe, engaged, and learning new skills during the summer months.

Under the Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, Chicago has steadily increased its investment every year in mentoring and other youth programs to address some of the most urgent needs facing the city: keeping youth safe, improving school outcomes and reducing crime. In the past six years alone, One Summer Chicago has more than doubled to meet the overwhelming demand for these programs, serving more than 130,000 youth to date with valuable job training and work experiences.

“The Obamas’ contributions to the city of Chicago are already immeasurable and their legacy here is just beginning,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Their generous gift to One Summer Chicago will change countless lives and help more young men and women connect to a successful future. Chicagoans could not be more proud of the example the Obamas’ have set, are inspired by this big-hearted gift, and look forward their continued and enduring impact on their hometown.”

One Summer Chicago 2017, a McCormick Foundation Fund, is the charitable fundraising arm in partnership between the City of Chicago and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s One Summer Chicago brings together government institutions, community-based organizations and companies to offer over 31,000 employment, internship and other opportunities to young adults ages 14-24. The program aims to build stronger, safer communities, keeping some of the city’s most at-risk youth engaged and active, learning new skills during the summer months.

“We are so honored that the Obamas stepped forward with a substantial gift to help One Summer Chicago bring summer opportunities to Chicago’s young people, keeping them on a pathway to high school graduation and career success,” said David Hiller, President and CEO of the McCormick Foundation. “We hope their gift inspires thousands of other to support this effort.”

To donate, visit or send a check/money order to “One Summer Chicago 2017,” 23912 Network Place, Chicago, Illinois 60673-1245.

Youth interested in summer opportunities with One Summer Chicago can visit


Louis Van Amstel Named Ambassador To Special Olympics

May 05, 2017 09:00 am

Louis Van Amstel: Profile

Three-time World Dance Champion and recurring star of “Dancing with the Stars”, Louis Van Amstel sizzled last month at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.

The newly minted “Special Olympics Dance Ambassador” Louis Van Amstel joined celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Mraz, and Princess Charlene of Monaco to celebrate the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“I’m so proud of all the athletes at the Special Olympics. They might be diagnosed with a disability, but they sure focus on their abilities!” says Van Amstel.

As part of Van Amstel’s efforts to make dance an official sport, he created the LaBlast Special Olympics dance teams.

“Dance is such a powerful way to unify people across age, fitness level or disability. My hope is that these dance teams will inspire others,” says Louis Van Amstel.

“LaBlast” is the name of Van Amstel’ world-renowned dance fitness program that has reached millions across North America, Asia and Europe. Van Amstel was inspired to create LaBlast after seeing the dramatic body transformations that some of his dance partners achieved while on ‘Dancing with the Stars’. The fun-filled, high energy program gets people moving where they can burn up to 700 calories a class. The program includes Cha Cha, Disco, Paso Doble, Samba and the Viennese Waltz to name a few.

LaBlast Dance Fitness is available through fitness clubs across Canada, the US and internationally as well as online and DVDs.


Brett Dalton From Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Teams With Face Forward

May 05, 2017 07:30 am

Brett Dalton: Profile

Brett Dalton, who plays Grant Ward on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has teamed up with Face Forward, Inc. for a fundraiser to celebrate his return to the show.

Two grand prize winners will hang out with him at a comic con of their choice. Airfare and accommodations are provided and fans can enter to win starting with a $10 donation at

Face Forward provides pro bono reconstructive surgery & emotional support to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking & other cruel acts of crime. One third of women in the world have experienced sexual, physical, emotional or other abuse in their lifetime. In 2016 alone, Face Forward provided over $750,000 pro bono treatments to their patients. Donations to support Face Forward help them to provide a full-service care package to aid the survivors during their surgical and counseling visits including the necessary airfare, accommodations, nursing aftercare, medications and more.

Face Forward is a humble part of the recovery puzzle; however, the immediate results of their healing efforts provide individuals with the confidence to put their best Face Forward once again. Face Forward vows that all individuals who cannot afford the fees associated with proper internal and external care will be treated pro bono. Their team of skilled surgeons and specialists have been fortunate enough to impact the lives of many with truly life-changing results.


Spotlight: Bill Maher’s Charity Work

May 05, 2017 07:00 am

Bill Maher

Bill Maher serves on the board of PETA.

He supports gay marriage and was against California’s Proposition 8 in 2008.

Maher describes himself as an environmentalist, and he frequently alludes to the topic of global warming on his show Real Time.

Read more about Bill Maher’s charity work and events.

Spotlight: Music for Relief’s Celebrity Supporters

May 05, 2017 06:00 am
Started by Linkin Park, Music for Relief responds to natural disasters as they occur to help victims recover and rebuild, with an emphasis on housing, education programs and resources.

The organization also recognizes the environmental consequences of global warming, which have demonstrated the capability to accelerate and strengthen certain types of natural disasters. Therefore the second goal of MUSIC FOR RELIEF is to help prevent and decrease future natural disasters by reducing greenhouse gasses, seeking renewable forms of energy and educating the public about climate change.

Celebrity supporters

Music for Relief has 40 known supporters, including Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and U2

Areas of work

Read more about Music for Relief’s work and celebrity supporters.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.