The Help Group's Annual Teddy Bear Picnic Honors Fox 2000 President Elizabeth Gabler

Share Article

Annual spring luncheon benefits The Help Group’s programs for children with autism, learning disabilities and other special needs; celebrities Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Jane Seymour and Gary Cole lend a helping hand.

Sixty-five children with special needs from The Help Group along with celebrity guests created an unforgettable experience at the Teddy Bear Picnic, The Help Group’s 29th Annual Spring Luncheon, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 8. A heartfelt acceptance speech by this year’s Help Humanitarian Award recipient, Fox 2000 President Elizabeth Gabler and a touching performance by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds along with a group of students brought luncheon attendees to their feet.

The luncheon, benefiting The Help Group’s schools and programs serving children with special needs on four major campuses in Southern California, opened with The Temptations’ Louis Price and The Help Group’s Childrens Choir’s inspiring rendition of I Believe I Can Fly. Joining the days festivities were event co-chairs and The Help Group’s 2005 Help Humanitarian Award honorees, Ann and Jim Gianopulos, Chairman, Fox Filmed Entertainment; and event co-chairs, Lee Gabler, Co-Chairman, Creative Artists Agency; Debbie and Bob Harper, Vice Chairman, Fox Filmed Entertainment; and Jessica and Tom Rothman, Chairman, Fox Filmed Entertainment.

The program included opening remarks by Jane Seymour and James Keach. The Help Group Chair Gary H. Carmona thanked honoree Gabler for her steadfast commitment to children in need. President/CEO Dr. Barbara Firestone commented on the tremendous impact these philanthropic efforts have on the lives of the more than 5,000 children and families served by The Help Group. She emphasized that there are many more children who can benefit from the organization’s services and talked about the large amount of children still in need of services, explaining the necessity of The Help Group’s capital campaign, expanding its Los Angeles campuses.

Dick Costello, Help Group Circle of Friends Board Member introduced Andrea Fiuczynski, President of Christie’s, who led the Picnic’s traditional live auction of stuffed teddy bears in support of The Help Group’s Opportunity Fund.

Gary Cole, actor and long-standing Help Group supporter and parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder acknowledged The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on its ongoing corporate commitment.

Cole also introduced Debra and Roger Woolery, parents of one of The Help Group’s students, who gave a moving speech about their son and the role of The Help Group in their lives. “We believed in Cooper and we wanted to find a place that believed in him also,” said Debra. “Our journey led us to the Help Group’s Sunrise School and we have never once regretted our decision.”

Ken Solomon, Chair/CEO of The Tennis Channel and Circle of Friends Board Member introduced a video tribute of the past Help Humanitarian Honorees and welcomed Gabler to the family.

With wit and warmth, Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos saluted Gabler during the awards presentation.

During her acceptance remarks, Gabler poignantly reflected on her recollection of screening feedback when she was the studio executive in charge of the film RAINMAN and an audience member said they “wished the little guy would snap out of it.”

“It is not possible to ‘snap out’ of autism,” commented Gabler. “However, because of The Help Group, many, many children will now have the promise of overcoming the challenges that autism presents.”

This year’s attendees included: Former California Governor Gray Davis; Denise DiNovi, producer, Di Novi Pictures: Help Group Circle of Friends Board Member Mel Elias, COO, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf; Ted Gagliano, President, Feature Post Production, Twentieth Century Fox; Paul Hanneman, Thomas Jegeus, Co-presidents, International Theatrical Distribution, Arnie Kleiner, President and General Manager, KABC Los Angeles; Robert Kraft, President, Fox Music; Dey Young Ladd, and David Ladd, President, David Ladd Films; Chris Meledandri, President, Twentieth Century Fox Animation; Rick Nicita Co-chairman, Creative Artists Agency; Sanford Panitch, President, Filmed Entertainment, Regency Enterprises Hutch Parker, President, Twentieth Century Fox; James Pickens Jr., co-star of Grey’s Anatomy; Peter Rice, President, Fox Searchlight; Karen Rosenfelt, producer; Tony Sella and Pam Levine, Co-presidents, Domestic Theatrical Marketing, Twentieth Century Fox; Bruce Snyder; President Domestic Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox; among the hundreds of others.

The Help Group’s next major philanthropic event will be The Teddy Bear Ball which will be held on December 2, 2006 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.

NOTE: Photos attached; additional are available upon request.

ABOUT THE HELP GROUP. Founded in 1975, The Help Group ( is one of the largest, most innovative and comprehensive organizations of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger’s Disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems. The Help Group’s six specialized day schools offer pre-K through high school programs for more than 1,100 students. The Help Group’s wide range of mental health and therapy services, child abuse, foster family, and residential programs extend its reach to more than 5,000 children and their families each year. With over 700 staff members, The Help Group’s state-of-the-art schools and programs are located on four major campuses in the Los Angeles area. Through its professional training programs and efforts at the state and national levels, The Help Group touches the lives of children with special needs across the country and in other parts of the world. At the heart of its effort is its commitment to helping young people fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives.

Media Contact:

Deb Smith-Roges

O: (310) 305-2989

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Deb Smith-Roges
Visit website