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Stars Attend City Year Los Angeles Spring Break: Destination Education

May 09, 2017 01:30 pm
City Year Los Angeles held its 7th annual Spring Break: Destination Education on May 6.

Liam Hemsworth and Octavia Spencer attend City Year Los Angeles Spring Break
Liam Hemsworth and Octavia Spencer attend City Year Los Angeles Spring Break
Credit/Copyright: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for City Year Los Angeles

Spring Break: Destination Education is City Year’s largest fundraising event as well as a fun party open to teens, tweens and adults in support of education in Los Angeles. The event attracted a star-studded crowd with more than 1,400 attendees all together, and raised over $1.8 million.

There was a special performance by OneRepublic, as well as food, games and interactive booths sponsored by brands like Aramark, Comcast NBCUniversal, Disney/ABC Television Group, E!, Hauptman Family Foundation, Hulu, JP Morgan Chase/Atom Tickets, Karma Tequila, People, RealD, SnapChat, Twentieth Century Fox, and Univision among others.

Amy Schumer attends City Year Los Angeles Spring Break
Amy Schumer attends City Year Los Angeles Spring Break
Credit/Copyright: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for City Year Los Angeles

The event attracted a massive amount of celebrities, including host Octavia Spencer and City Year AmeriCorps members and supporters including Mahershala Ali, Ella Anderson, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Genevieve Angelson, KJ Apa, Mel B., Justin Baldoni, Thomas Barbusca, Violett Beane, Orlando Bloom, Alisha Boe, Katrina Bowden, Julie Bowen, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Sterling K. Brown, Logan Browning, Ross Butler, Francesca Capaldi, Christy Cham, Justin Chambers, Kenneth Choi, Cree Cicchino, Bryan Cranston, Nikki Deloach, John Deluca, Zoey Deutch, Ethan Dolan, Grayson Dolan, Colin Egglesfield, Ansel Elgort, Georgie Flores, Brandon Flynn, Jordan Fisher, Sean Ryan Fox, Brittany Furlan, Jennifer Garner, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, McKenna Grace, Mollee Gray, Max Greenfield, Sean Hayes, Liam Hemsworth, Willa Holland, Claire Holt, Matt Iseman, Carter Jenkins, Blake Jenner, Daren Kagasoff, Arielle Kebbel, Echo Kellum, Joey King, Justin Kirk, T.R. Knight, Brandon Larracuente, Ali Larter, Matt Lanter, Robinne Lee, Rachelle Lefevre, Natalie Martinez, Jennette McCurdy, Chris Meloni, Stephen Merchant, Beau Mirchoff, Asia Monet, Christian Navarro, Ne-Yo, B.J. Novak, Chord Overstreet, Randall Park, Evan Peters, Addison Riecke, Emma Roberts, Holland Roden, Jillian Rose Reed, Tracee Ellis Ross, Joshua Rush, Halston Sage, Amy Schumer, Marcus Scribner, Daniel Sharman, Kiernan Shipka, Jussie Smollett, Brittany Snow, Jessica Stroup, Milo Ventimiglia, Amber Stevens West, Pharrell Williams, Zendaya, and Maddie Ziegler.


Chicago Performs At Star-Studded 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala

May 09, 2017 12:00 pm
On Friday, May 5th, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) advocate and Center Without Walls founder, Nancy Davis, welcomed guests to the Beverly Hilton for the 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala.

Chicago Performs At 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala
Chicago Performs At 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala

The event raised $1.6 million to benefit the Race to Erase MS and its Center Without Walls program, a collaboration of top MS research centers working together as a team on ground-breaking research with the goal of treating and, ultimately, finding a cure for MS.

Paris Hilton Attends 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala
Paris Hilton Attends 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala

Guests at this year’s event included host Nancy Davis, honoree Jamie-Lynn Sigler, musical performers Chicago and Siedah Garrett, musical director David Foster, and special presenters for the evening Lance Bass, Kathy Griffin, Randy Jackson, and Quincy Jones. Additional guests included Byron Allen, Lindsay Arnold, Phillip Bloch, Trevis Brendmoe, Wendy Burch, Sharna Burgess, Francesca Capaldi, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Adrian Bellani, Christian Collins, Crawford Collins, Kirsten Collins, Barbara Davis, Brandon Davis, Jason Davis, Christine Devine, Heather and Terry Dubrow, Haylie Duff, Carmen Electra, David Faustino, Mayte Garcia, Teri Garr, Camille Grammer, Lizzy Greene, Max Greenfield, Amelia Hamlin, Delilah Hamlin, Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna, Marg Helgenberger, Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson, Elizabeth Hilfiger, Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo, Kathy and Rick Hilton, Paris Hilton and Chris Zylka, Jessica Holmes, Shawn Hook, Inas X, Skai Jackson, Kris Jenner, Jenna Johnson, Cobi Jones, Olivia Rose Keegan, Jessica Lowndes, Camilla Luddington, Diana Madison, Adrienne Maloof, Maureen McCormick, Steven McQueen, Aly Michalka, Heather Morris, Keo Motsepe, Megan Nicole, David Osmond, Naya Rivera, Shaun Robinson, Olivia Sanabia, Gleb Savchenko, Terri Seymour, Johnathon Schaech, Skylar Stecker, Wesley Stromberg, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Jessica Szohr and Scotty McKnight, Lea Thompson, Bruno Tonioli, Pia Toscano, Anna Trebunskaya, Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi, Sammy Wilkinson, Dave Winfield, Ian Ziering, and many more.

Kathy Griffin took to the stage to kick off the evening’s festivities, introducing host and organization founder Nancy Davis. Nancy Davis then welcomed guests to the 24th edition of the star-studded gala, and talked about an exciting new development in the MS community, the FDA approval of the newest treatment option for MS called OCREVUS. She spoke about the incredible impact of this drug, and the potential it has to improve the lives of those suffering from multiple sclerosis. She also explained that, through events like this one, Race to Erase MS is able to help fund research that can lead to these kinds of developments. Davis thanked guests for their continued support over the years, noting that none of this would be possible without the people in this room. She also thanked singer-songwriter Siedah Garrett for being there to debut her new single “Carry On,” proceeds from which benefit The Race to Erase MS. Davis then spoke about this year’s honoree, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and the incredible impact she has had on the MS community by bravely sharing her diagnosis, and helping to bring awareness to the cause.

Kris Jenner Attends 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala
Kris Jenner Attends 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala

Lance Bass stepped onstage to present his good friend Jamie-Lynn Sigler with the 2017 Medal of Hope Award. Before bringing Sigler onstage, Bass introduced a moving video montage that included sentiments recorded by friends including Lea Michele, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and more. After watching the tribute video, Sigler gave an emotional and inspiring speech, touching on the struggles she has encountered while living with MS, and relaying her hope for the future.

Quincy Jones introduced the first performer of the evening, singer-songwriter Siedah Garrett, who was there to debut her single “Carry On,” which she wrote after meeting Nancy Davis at Quincy Jones’ house, and being inspired to do what she could to help Davis’ cause. Garrett took a moment to share something that she had not made public yet, announcing that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years ago. After bravely sharing her diagnosis with the crowd, she sang the hit song she co-wrote for Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror,” and for the first time ever debuted her single “Carry On” live with David Foster, Shawn Hook, Olivia Keegan, David Osmond, and Trevis Brendmoe.

Randy Jackson introduced legendary rock band Chicago who brought down the house with a nine-song set that included hits “If You Leave Me Now,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” “Just You ‘n’ Me,” “Make Me Smile,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” and “25 or 6 to 4.”

In what has become a Race to Erase MS tradition over the past 24 years, an uplifting rendition of “Lean On Me,” was performed as the finale of the evening, led by Chicago and David Foster, who were joined on stage by Nancy Davis, Randy Jackson, Lance Bass, Trevis Brendmoe, Siedah Garrett, Shawn Hook, Olivia Keegan, David Osmond, Wesley Stromberg, and more.

The 24th Annual Race to Erase MS Gala included a live auction, which was introduced by Randy Jackson. Lucky bidders walked away with items including a tropical trip for two to the Maldives with business-class flights and luxury accommodations included, a private interview experience with legendary television host Larry King, and a five-day vacation to the Bahamas aboard a private yacht. The big item of the night was a bespoke Aston Martin DB11 Coupe custom build by the brand’s Q by Aston Martin division, which went for an incredible $290,000.

The Race to Erase MS Gala was generously sponsored by ALEX AND ANI Charity by Design, Aston Martin, The Beverly Hilton, and Associated Television International, with support from Evine, Mark’s Garden, Foley Family Wines, Svedka, Neo Water, and Bodvar House of Rosés.

Race to Erase MS is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure for MS. Funding research is the core focus of the foundation and significant strides have been made to find the cause and cure of this debilitating disease. At the event’s inception 24 years ago, the absence of medications and therapies encouraged its involvement; the Race has been instrumental in funding many pilot studies that have contributed to drugs now on the market and other very important therapies that are improving the lives of people suffering from MS.

All funds raised support the Center Without Walls program, a unique collaboration of the world’s leading MS research scientists currently representing Harvard, Yale, Cedars Sinai, University of Southern California, Oregon Health Science University, UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins. This nationwide collaboration of physicians, scientists and clinicians are on the cutting-edge of innovative research and therapeutic approaches to treat MS. It is the hope of the Race to Erase MS that in addition to combating MS through research in a clinical environment, awareness will be created by educating the public about this mysterious disease.


Eli Manning Headlines Tackle Kids Cancer All Stars Event

May 09, 2017 10:30 am
More than 500 youth and community groups joined stars from the world of sports to celebrate raising more than $250,000 as part of “Eli’s Challenge,” a campaign led by New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford NJ over the weekend.

NBC4 New York Sports Anchor Bruce Beck talks with Eli Manning about the importance of the Tackle Kids Cancer Program
NBC4 New York Sports Anchor Bruce Beck talks with Eli Manning about the importance of the Tackle Kids Cancer Program

The campaign is part of the Tackle Kids Cancer Program, which raises money for critical research and programs at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center.

Emcee and NBC4 New York Sports Anchor Bruce Beck, Giants Legend Shaun O’Hara, Knicks Legend John Starks and New York Red Bulls Goalie Luis Robles joined Manning in paying tribute to community groups that demonstrated extraordinary effort and creativity with their fundraising programs, which ranged from car washes to bake sales.

“It is truly inspiring to see how many community groups held bake sales, car washes and other fundraisers for this cause, and I want to challenge more of them to join our team,” said Manning, who pledged to match the first $100,000 in fundraising from local community groups – which they exceeded in just a few short months.

Five of the most innovative, creative and successful fundraising campaigns created by kids and community groups were honored, resulting in a check for $250,000 from “Eli’s Challenge” to the Tackle Kids Cancer program, which benefitted from the New York Giants support.

“We value our relationship with Hackensack University Medical Center and are honored to be part of Tackle Kids Cancer. The work that is done by the Children’s Cancer Institute and those who have contributed to Tackle Kids Cancer has served as an inspiration to Eli and all of us,” said Allison Stangeby, vice president of Community and Corporate Relations. “We are proud of Eli’s work in our community and his selfless support of the Children’s Cancer Institute.”

The event was part of NBC4 Telemundo Health Expo, Presented by Quest Diagnostics, which is held annually at MetLife Stadium welcoming a wide range of healthy lifestyle exhibits, as well as free health tests and screenings.

“The Foundation is proud of the partnership we have with the New York Giants and its players,” said Jon M. Fitzgerald, president of Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation. “Eli Manning’s commitment to Tackle Kids Cancer has extended far beyond what we could have imagined. Not only has he volunteered to be the face of our campaign, but he has made numerous visits with the children, families and health care team at our Children’s Cancer Institute. With Eli’s Challenge, he has taken his role as champion of this cause to higher level, and we could not have raised more than $4 million for our Tackle Kids Cancer initiative without his support.”

The Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center consists of dedicated clinicians and researchers specializing in pediatric cancer. With more than 100 active oncology and transplant clinical trials currently open, it is leading the charge to cure childhood cancer. “While extremely rare, pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children in the U.S.,” said Stephen Percy, M.D., interim chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. “Every dollar received through the Tackle Kids Cancer campaign will support our most important programs and research.”


Priyanka Chopra Meets Child Survivors Of Sexual Violence In Zimbabwe

May 09, 2017 09:00 am
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra has called for increased awareness and support for child victims of sexual violence.

Priyanka Chopra speaks with child survivors of sexual violence at the Family Support Clinic in Chitungwiza town north of Harare, Zimbabwe
Priyanka Chopra speaks with child survivors of sexual violence at the Family Support Clinic in Chitungwiza town north of Harare, Zimbabwe

The actress made an emotional visit to Zimbabwe this week, where she met child survivors of sexual violence and heard their harrowing stories.

“When I met these survivors, young brave women and children, and listened to their experiences, it just broke my heart,” said Chopra. “I will never forget their stories.”

Chopra’s first stop was in Chitungwiza, south of Harare, Zimbabwe, where she met 13-year-old Alice who was repeatedly raped by an uncle and threatened if she revealed the abuse.

“Alice told me how she had regular abdominal pains, she was 11 at the time, but her mother was unaware there was something wrong,” said Chopra. “It was only when a relative saw condoms in her bedroom, and realized she was sexually active, that the truth came out and by then she was pregnant. Alice disclosed that her uncle had raped her several times between January and February this year.”

“At first, she could not believe that her own relative, who she trusted so much, could do this to her. She felt powerless and betrayed.”

With the help of her mother and neighbours, the incident was reported to the police. Alice was referred to Family Support Trust, supported by UNICEF, which runs a “one stop” child-friendly clinic providing medical and psychosocial support for sexually abused children. She also attended a peer support group for teens, and received regular home visits from social workers to provide the help and support she needed.

The uncle was arrested, tried, and jailed for 10 years.

“Sadly, Alice’s story was just one of too many stories I heard from brave young girls during my visit to Zimbabwe. No woman, and most definitely no child, should ever have to experience sexual violence – especially from someone they trust for protection, such as a family member,” said Chopra, who has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since December 2016 and a UNICEF India Ambassador for 10 years.

Poverty and a lack of opportunity are huge drivers of violence and leave young women and children in a position of vulnerability to predators. Additionally, most abuse occurs in situations when a child knows and trusts the adult who abuses him or her.

“As a society, it is on us to provide and take care of our children as citizens of the world, to educate children at a young age that it’s not OK to be inappropriately touched and that under-age sex can lead to unwanted teen pregnancy or HIV,” said Chopra.

On the second day of her visit, Chopra visited Childline Zimbabwe, the country’s 24-hour service for children who have been abused, violated or exploited. As well as providing free, confidential, multilingual counselling to children aged 18 years and under, Childline also offers 25 community based drop in centers throughout the country.

Her first stop was a Childline drop-in center in Epworth, where she met survivors of sexual violence who shared their stories. Chopra then visited the Childline call-in center to meet the Helpline counsellors and listen to some of the calls being fielded in real-time.

“I was astonished by the number of calls that were coming in during the brief time I was there,” said Chopra. “The counsellors, all volunteers, told me that many calls come from children in hysterics because they had been raped or abused. They were so scared. Without Childline, they would have nowhere to turn. This is a model that many countries with high rates of violence against children can adopt, because it is a safe place for children to turn to and know that their call will be answered by a compassionate person who will take their complaints seriously and respond.”

In 2016, 3,690 reports of sexual abuse were received by Childline. The children were assisted to receive counselling, medical assistance, and justice through prosecution of the offenders.

Sexual violence against children is widespread in Zimbabwe. Latest available data shows that close to 1 in 10 girls aged 15-17 years old has been a victim of forced sexual intercourse or a forced sexual act. Approximately 2 in 3 victims were first abused by an intimate partner and approximately 1 in 10 by a stranger.

Too often, sexual violence occurs in homes and is often committed by an individual known to or trusted by the child. Sexual violence against children is therefore mostly invisible and goes largely undocumented. Fear of getting into trouble or not wanting to land the offender in trouble, as well as shame and stigma all contribute to children not reporting the abuse. Additionally, many victims are too young or too vulnerable to know what happened to them.

One survey carried out in Zimbabwe found that 30 per cent of girls aged between 15-17 years who experienced sexual violence never sought help or told anyone.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.Today, a showbiz/promotions aggregate mainly for insiders. She has written for Communications Daily, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International plus freelanced for others. Valerie donates and works closely with the Human Rights Campaign (Fed Club Council Member), GLSEN, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal and the Desert Aids Project. She is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club. Milano loves meeting people and does so in her fave getaway Palm Springs as a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and the Old Las Palmas area community member. For years Valerie was a board member and one of the chief organizers for the Television Critics Association’s press tours. The tours take place twice a year in Beverly Hills/Pasadena.