‘Anyone can be a hero’ at Norma Jean Gala May 18

| April 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

HONOREES are Matt Bomer and Simon Halls.

Matt Bomer and Simon Halls would drive by Hollygrove, the Los Angeles division of Uplift Family Services, on their way to take their three boys to school, and have long wanted to get involved with the nonprofit agency that supports 1,200 area at-risk children and teens and their families.

“Our family is the centerpiece of our lives, and we understand firsthand how important it is to provide each and every child with the tools they need to succeed,” the Hancock Park couple said.

Bomer, a Golden Globe Award-winning actor, and Halls, an entertainment PR executive, will receive the Ambassador of Children Award at Hollygrove’s sixth annual Norma Jean Gala Thurs., May 18 at the W Hollywood Hotel. A cocktail reception, three-course dinner and a silent and live auction are on the menu.

Actress Busy Philipps will MC and Colin Hanks, Diane Ladd and Peter Weller are among celebrity attendees at this year’s themed event: Anyone can be a hero.

Hollygrove, just north of Melrose Ave. behind Paramount Studios, was founded in 1880 as the Los Angeles Orphans Home Society. Its most famous alumna, Norma Jean Baker, was under the agency’s care as a child before she came to be known as Marilyn Monroe.

HOLLIES founder Sheri Weller.

The agency’s support arm, the Hollies, hopes to raise $400,000 at the gala, said chair Sheri Weller.

The $1.1 million Community Wellness programs include Endless Summer after-school program for 5 to 12-year olds, Camp Hollygrove, and the Parent Institute, said Kathleen Felesina, director of fund development at Hollygrove.

Volunteers can step up at least once a year to support the annual Movie Night, a Golf Tournament or the gala, noted Weller.

Serving as positive ambassadors, they can make cash donations or they can give of their time.

Recent projects include planting a therapy garden. Another is mask making with papier maché, which can be used as a powerful therapeutic tool.

When asked why he painted his mask blue, one child said he was sad, because his aunt had to go away.

The aunt was going to prison, explained Weller, and the child would be moved on to another family member or, like others at Hollygrove, to another foster home.

And yet, says Weller, “they’re just kids.” They look like any other children, only they have troubled home lives and are referred to the agency from local schools, Family Children Services and the police.

While counseling and a small staff is provided by Hollygrove, volunteer Hollies are the Helping Hands of Hollygrove. Their numbers have grown to 60 in three years, since their founding by Weller and Julia Connolly of Hancock Park and Sarah McTeigue.

Volunteers are always needed to help serve meals on parent’s night or cheer the kids on Olympic-themed camp day.

Donations from diapers to Halloween costumes are also welcome.

Other local Hollies are: Monica Corcoran, Raina Dragonas, Frances Gatti, Lenore Douglas, Rachel Feder and Jeet Sohal. Also, Margaret Moore Barnwell, Julia Connolly and Alecia Burkett.

Board members include local Lisa Hutchins and Eric Andersen.

For tickets and more information on the gala or to volunteer contact 323-769-7142 or kathleen.felesina@upliftfs.org.

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Category: People

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