Hillsides’ Gala Raises $417,000 for Children and Families

Left to right:  John Gong, Judy Chu, Joan McCarthyLeft to right:  Joseph M. Costa, Liz Rusnak Arizmendi, Henri and Donna FordLeft to right:  Dave Cox, Joan McCarthy, John Gong, Stephanie CoxLeft to right:  Mario and Shelly Fiumani, Joan McCarthy, Fritz ColemanLeft to right: Stacey Roth, Debbe Booth, Stephanie Cox, and Carrie EspinozaLeft to right:  Ed Sniecienski, Kathy Hannigan O\'Connor, The Rt. Rev. John H. Taylor and Steve NishibayashiLeft to right: Hank and Ana Maarse, Carrie Espinoza, and Clara MaarseLeft to right: Henri and Donna Ford, Joan and John McCarthyLeft to right: Joan McCarthy, Marisol Barrios, Christian Daly, John GongLeft to right: John and Marilyn Anderson, Susan and Bill NoceLeft to right: Alfred Guzman, Sara Simpson, Hasblady Guzman and Steven AldrianLeft to right: Bill Eichler, Pam Mahon, and Edison BarbosaLeft to right:  Diana Buehler and Sandy CisnerosLeft to right: Dr Drew and Susan PinskyLeft to right:  Jasa Hawkins, Joseph M. Costa, and Gabrielle WilliamsLeft to right:  Andrew Arizmendi and Liz Rusnak ArizmendiLeft to right:   Bhavna Bhakta, Darshawn Hooker, Maritza Rhodas, Uyen-Uyen VoLeft to right: Brady Cushman, Patty McAllister, John GongLeft to right:  Chelby Crawford and Gregg SmithLeft to right: Correnda Perkins, Laura Hernandez, Amy CousineauLeft to right: Dick and Judy MartinLeft to right: Jeff, Lisa, and Terry GavittLeft to right: Mary and Dave Kinnoin, Ava and Ed Herrera

From STAFF REPORTS | Photography by ALISON BELL Courtesy Hillsides

12:13 pm | February 27, 2018

Hillsides, a Southern California mental health and foster care charity, raised $417,000 during its annual gala, La Nuit des Rêves, held on February 24, 2018 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena. Some 350 guests enjoyed the French-themed gala, which translates into “The Night of Dreams.”

The gala was co-chaired by long-time Hillsides supporters Joan McCarthy and John Gong. During the evening, McCarthy welcomed the crowd and stressed the importance of the event, which is Hillsides largest fundraiser of the year. “Tonight and together, we will make dreams come true for the 14,000 deserving children, young adults, and families of Hillsides,” she said.

The evening included a silent cocktail and dinner auction, live auction, and paddle auction. NBC4 Southern California’s weathercaster Fritz Coleman emceed the live auction, which included packages such as a 12-day cruise for two on Holland America Line, a Paris Hotel Las Vegas getaway, tickets to Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, and a Barbara Poer Design Golden South Sea pearl gold ring surrounded by 64 diamonds.

Attending the gala were U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu; the Rt. Rev. John H. Taylor, who gave the invocation before the dinner; media personality Dr. Drew Pinsky; John Mahon, percussionist and back-up vocalist for The Elton John Band; psychic medium Rebecca Fearing; and comedian and author Heather McDonald.

During the reception portion of the evening, Congresswoman Chu presented co-chairs McCarthy and Gong with certificates of congressional recognition. Christian Daly, assistant field deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, presented the co-chairs and Hillsides with County of Los Angeles commendations.

During the gala program, Hillsides President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Costa gave a tribute to the woman who established the very first Hillsides gala 33 years ago, Sylvia Bartlett. Bartlett, who was also a founding member of the Hillsides Guild, a support group of Hillsides, passed away suddenly in February. “We will miss her dearly,” said Costa.

Another highlight of the evening was the guest speaker, Jasa Hawkins. Hawkins receives services from Hillsides’ Youth Moving on Program, which provides youth with affordable housing, workforce training, and a Peer Resource Center where they can access a wide array of services and referrals. Hawkins detailed how the program helped find her job at Starbucks and an apartment after four years of homelessness.

“Everyone at Youth Moving On brought so much positivity and healing to my life,” she said. “I now feel I have control in my life. I have a future.”
The gala was made possible by many generous sponsors, including Mario and Shelly Fiumani – Pin USA, The Havner Family Foundation, Jacob Maarse Florists, Kaiser Permanente, Rusnak Auto Group, Sherm and Marge Telleen, The Walt Disney Company, Western Asset Management, and Willis Towers Watson.

About Hillsides:

Hillsides, with its affiliate Bienvenidos, is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves 14,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.Hillsides.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.