Hauntingly Helpful People with Big Hearts


“Dancing with the Stars” Gilles Marini with The Tolucan Times.

It’s October when ghosts, ghouls, and goblins come out to play. But not everyone is thinking mischief and mayhem. It’s actually the time of year for charity galas and fundraisers for worthwhile causes.

It’s also a time to put good people in the spotlight, so let’s start with the lovely Marie Osmond, who just premiered her daytime show Marie on the Hallmark Channel. The first week on the air Marie welcomed comedy star Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced), a cancer survivor who deserves praise for her work as an advocate for women’s health issues and her Cancer-Schmancer organization. Marie also interviewed teen philanthropist Mackenzie Bearup, who started a charity called Sheltering Books when she was just 13, bringing literature to shelters. Plus there was the courageous eight-year-old Tyler Armstrong, who climbedMount Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Disease. With these young people reflecting the quality of guests, along with inspiring rather than insipid celebrities, Marie’s show is off to a great start.

Now let’s acknowledge the folks who taught us everything we know. October 5 is designated World Teacher’s Day, and Junior Achievement of Southern California will celebrate its Graduation Pathways program, along with an amazing teacher Maynard Brown. Mr. Brown has showcased Graduation Pathways in his CrenshawHigh Schoolcurriculum with great success, and has earned the “School Makes Cents” award from JASoCal. The program aims to keep underserved kids in school. Check out JASoCal.org, and say thanks to your teachers.

Promising to be sexy and fun, Les Girls, an evening of song to benefit the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, is set for its 12th annual cabaret event on Oct. 15 at the Avalon in Hollywood. The show will feature incredible talent including Eric McCormack, Loretta Devine, Robert Morse, Steven Weber, Sharon Lawrence, and many others. Equally impressive is the NBCC’s dedication to end breast cancer by 2020. Check out breastcancerdeadline2020.org. God’s speed.

Absolutely the best family-friendly Halloween event is the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times’ Halloween Carnival presented by Jakks Cares. The 20th annual celebration will take place Oct. 21 on the backlot of Universal Studios featuring live entertainment, rides, carnival games, great prizes, great food, and young celebrity autograph sessions. Gilles Marini, currently waltzing back into our hearts on Dancing with the Stars, has supported the event for years because Camp Ronald McDonald helps kids with cancer and their families by providing fun-filled, medically supervised, cost-free, camp programs. Check out campronaldmcdonald.org. Bless them.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeleswill honor Viacom’s media titan Sumner Redstone with its Walt Disney Man of the Year Award at the annual Rising Stars Gala on Oct. 26 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Dedicated BBBS board member Sherry Lansing reports that Redstone is deserving because he has mentored and inspired so many. Chairman of Fox Television Dana Walden will also be honored, and the Rising Star Award will go to Disney’s Shake It Up young star Roshon Fegan, another alumnus from Dancing with the Stars. Check out bbbsla.org, and be inspired.

Thanks to Gavin Keilly, founder of GBK Celebrity Gifting Events, I recently met the folks connected with The Dream Center. It is an organization that meets the needs in L.A.communities during these hard times. They held the 5th annual Night of Dreams Gala to bring awareness and raise funds to help rescue people out of poverty, homelessness, hunger, and substance abuse. They serve over 50,000 people each month, and now they are leading the fight against human trafficking.  Check out dreamcenter.org, they’re awesome.

Speaking of awesome, the El Nido’s Champions for Families Awards Dinner held at the SkirballCulturalCenter, honored KCET with the Community Impact Award. Head of the nation’s largest independent public television station, KCET’s president and CEO Al Jerome accepted and talked about “how incredibly synergistic KCET and El Nido’s visions are for our community,” noting the series A Place of Our Own, which Jerome launched in 2004, helped kids become “socially and intellectually ready for the academic journey that lay ahead.” The new series Your Turn to Care focusing on eldercare, and the award-winning news magazine SoCal Connected begins its fifth season in October. He’s also proud of the new local performance series Open Call.

Jerome said he “fills our schedule with programs relating to life here inSouthern California. And there’s no shortage of material in the most diverse region of the nation, which also happens to be the creative capitol of the universe.” Yes, KCET deserves Kudos!

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