Gift of Self

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I want to talk about giving. If funds are tight, how is your time? Our very self can be the best gift of all. Let me offer you some opportunities to make the holidays, or everyday something special. And I want to talk about stellar Tolucans, Winnie Holzman and Paul Dooley’s majestic gesture, and true gift of selves.

Writers Guild Foundation Workshop for Veterans

Toluca Lake’s Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman, with their talented daughter Savannah in the center. Read about their work with the WGA Foundation and service men and women.

Holzman and Dooley are among major sponsors for the Writers Guild Foundation’s first-ever weekend Veterans Writing Workshop. The first workshop had 51 Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine veterans, who arrived with military precision punctuality. They brought with them scripts, plays, articles, half-finished novels, some poems, a self-published memoir, and even a script for a video game. They want to write. Seasoned WGAW writers, more than a few Emmy and Academy winners, volunteered to act as instructors and mentors. Not to teach them how to write, but rather to empower them to unlock the writer within. Writers Chris Knopf and Del Reisman (both WWII veterans themselves) ask their group to discuss their personal experiences with a view to finding where their story lies. By the end, there was lively and impassioned joint discussion. Many instructors express surprise at how accomplished some of the veterans already are.

Since then, the mentor/instructors have been in constant e-mail contact with their groups, reading, commenting, and encouraging. They have set up a monthly follow-up workshop, and are planning to do it again next year. If you’d like to participate and/or contribute to the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Workshop, please call (323) 782-4692 Angela Kirgo for information on how to get involved. We can be proud of our neighbors, Paul and Winnie, and their fellow writer/producers who lend themselves in such an inspiring way.

The Peacock Foundation

My manager, Debra Lynn at Discover Management, is working with The Peacock Foundation, for their “youth at risk” division on skid row (where I worked as a teenager at Belle’s, my mom, Liquor store). In lieu of receiving holiday gifts, Discover invites us to donate a gift for the kids. Want to join me in this opportunity? Ideas include: art supplies, games, toys and anything sports related for the K-12th grade age group. Please wrap the gift and designate if it is for a boy or a girl and what age the gift is for. Everything will need to be in Discover’s office by December 14 because they will be delivering the gifts on the 15 before the school holiday. Discover Mgt is at 11425 Moorpark (at Tujunga, go around to the back to enter with your generosity).

Want to know more and learn ways you can give of your self? http://www.peacockfoundation.org. Volunteers are needed. Click on their site and hit “how you can help”. There are many ways to work with children and to work with dogs too. They are helping severely traumatized children to come back to reality by working with animals. So, if you like to work with animals or foster a working animal, this is your chance. This is great work for the homeless and poor and I’m very touched that my management is behind them. You can reach the Peacock Foundation at (818) 763-1072. It will bring you joy.

For more volunteer opportunities, visit www.greatnonprofits.com.

And give yourself and yours the gift of theatre. The El Portal is offering a real deal London Panto with Cinderella, presented by the Lithgoe family. (Not just for children.) And I’m eager to see Dick Van Dyke’s show coming to the Geffin. Will do after we return home. David and I are returning to the site of our honeymoon in Maui for our 7th anniversary on December 2. Then back to the gift of giving. We’ll talk

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