LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) December 6, 2006
The International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton was filled with prominent entertainment industry executives, business and community leaders along with celebrity friends for The Help Group 10th annual Teddy Bear Ball on Saturday evening, December 2. This year's event honored Susanne Daniels, President of Entertainment, Lifetime Entertainment Services with the 2006 Help Humanitarian Award, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to many philanthropic causes. Camille and Kelsey Grammer received the Champion for Children Award in honor of their ongoing dedication to enriching the lives of children. This dazzling evening benefited The Help Group's schools and programs serving children with special needs.
Honorary chairs were Help Group Circle of Friends Board member, Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney-ABC Television Group, and husband Philip H. Miller, attorney with Irell & Manella, who were honored with the Help Group's 2005 Help Humanitarian Award, Michael A. Clinton, Executive Vice President, Hearst Corporation and, Merv Griffin, Chairman, The Griffin Group. Gala chairs included Garth Ancier, President, The Garth Ancier Co., Betty Cohen, CEO, Lifetime Entertainment Services, Greg Daniels, Executive Producer, "The Office," Doug Herzog, President, Comedy Central and, Steve Smooke, Agent, Creative Artists Agency.
"American Idol's," Lisa Tucker and The Help Group's Children's Choir led by Sarah Taylor, performing arts director, kicked-off the event with a lively medley of holiday tunes. Tony Award winning star of "Hairspray," Marissa Winokur, gave a heartwarming and spirited rendition of The Wish Song for the children. Multi-Platinum recording artist and star of Broadway's, "Wicked" and ABC's, "Dancing with the Stars," Joey McIntyre, delighted the audience with The Way you Look Tonight and saluted the honorees singing What a Wonderful World with the children.
The program included opening remarks by, Ken Solomon, Chairman and CEO of The Tennis Channel and Help Group Circle of Friends Board Member who introduced The Help Group video narrated by Kelsey Grammer. Gary H. Carmona Help Group Chairman congratulated this year's honorees for their dedication to children. Dr. Barbara Firestone, Help Group President & CEO expressed the Help Group's appreciation to all who were involved in helping to make The Teddy Bear Ball such a tremendous success commenting, "Throughout the years the generosity of our philanthropic friends has helped to give important momentum to so many of our initiatives. We thank all of you who are helping us to move forward with our Capital Campaign, building expansion and out outreach programs in the United States and abroad to provide help and hope to many more children." Firestone acknowledged the spokespersons for the Help Group's autism awareness public service announcement campaign who were present - Gary Cole, Dave Clark, Sheri Disney, Jim Gott and Joanne Palmer.
Jamie McGurk and Chris McGurk, CEO, Overture Films. Help Group Circle of Friends Board members acknowledged The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for its corporate commitment to The Help Group for the past five years, and extended a special thank you to Sunny Sassoon, Coffee Bean CEO and his wife Debbie and Mel Elias, Coffee Bean COO. Both Sunny Sassoon and Mel Elias are Help Group Circle of Friends Board members.
Andrea Fiuczynski, President of Christie's led the live auction featuring a premiere Staples Center suite donated by Keyes Motors. Howard Tenenbaum, Keyes Vice President and Help Board member joined her on stage to lead the bidding. Rich Batista, CEO, Gemstar-TV Guide topped-off the enthusiastic bidding for the suite. Dr. Firestone acknowledged Howard Keyes, President of Keyes Motors and his organization for their ongoing support of The Help Group. New to this year's auction was the "Building for the Future" classroom naming program in support of The Help Group's Capital expansion project. Dick Costello, Help Circle of Friends Board member, and Dr. Susan Berman, Help Executive Vice President, introduced The Help Group's annual auction of Teddy bears for the "Opportunity Fund" established three years ago by Barbara and Sandy Grushow, Producer, Phase Two Productions and Help Circle of Friends Board member. This fund provides money for scholarships, mentoring, college counseling, vocational training and internships, and even basic food, clothing and shelter to children and families in need served by The Help Group's programs.
David Salzman, Executive Producer, Mad TV and Help Circle of Friends Board Member introduced a video retrospective featuring all of the individuals and organizations that The Help Group has honored since the inception of its awards program in 1987. Tracee Ellis Ross, star of the CW's and Grammnet Productions hit comedy "Girlfriends" introduced the Champion for Children Award recipients describing Camille and Kelsey Grammer as accomplished humanitarians. In their gracious acceptance remarks Kelsey commented, "We believe that every privilege carries with it an intrinsic duty to give to the community. We have been blessed with success and good fortune throughout our lives. It is therefore our obligation to give what we can to foster good fortune and success in the lives of those around us." And, reflecting on the work of The Help Group Camille remarked, "A mind ignited by knowledge and a passion for learning is the hope of the world and a beautiful opportunity for any child. It is an extraordinary gift you give these children and we are so thankful."
With wit and warmth, Angela Kinsey and Paul Lieberstein from the Emmy Award winning show, "The Office," introduced Susanne Daniels as a successful television executive and passionate humanitarian before inviting Daniels to join them on stage to receive the Help Humanitarian Award. During her acceptance remarks, Daniels poignantly reflected, "Together, the movie, TV and music industry raise millions of dollars for various personal and passionate causes…The Help Group schools are extraordinary, demonstrating a nurturing, comprehensive and innovative approach to educating children with special needs...so thank you…for giving me the opportunity to be a small part of generating the support that The Help Group needs and deserves." As the grand finale of this unforgettable evening of friendship and philanthropy came to a close Kelsey Grammer sang Winter Wonderland with the children to a cheering audience.
ABOUT THE HELP GROUP. Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive organization 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 1,200 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. For more information about The Help Group, please call 818-779-5212 or visit http://www.thehelpgroup.org