Women of Achievement Celebrated

Photo by Margie Barron

At the ABCs event, from l, Gloria Gebbia, Amber Valletta, Dolores Robinson, Holly Robinson Peete, and Mike Epps.

“I love my mother’s spirit,” beamed Holly Robinson Peete, actress, author, and HollyRod Foundation philanthropist, about her mom, the influential showbiz dealmaker-manager Dolores Robinson, as both accepted the Mother and Daughter of the Year Award from the Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies. Making the presentation for the organization, affectionately known as the ABCs, was son of the “Duke,” Patrick Wayne, chairman of the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

Dolores’ tenacious spirit has made her a breast cancer survivor, and she shared her story with a room full of women who absolutely understood the health crisis she went through. “I stand here as a survivor because I felt something was wrong after a regular self-examination, and I followed through.” Dolores, 77, also admitted that after her ordeal a few years ago, she felt the urge to do something wild and got her grandkids together to design a tattoo for her. Holly refers to it as her “gramp-stamp.”

Actress-model Amber Valletta (Revenge) was honored with the Woman of Achievement Award. And actor-comic Mike Epps (Hangover 3) was the recipient of the Man of Achievement at the Four Seasons Hotel luncheon last week. All had high praise for actress-comedienne Lisa Ann Walter who once again emceed the event with her “one-of-the-gals” style. “It’s better to be a dog’s mom, because dogs chew up your slippers, not your youth,” she joked. A Valley mother of four, Lisa Ann was hilarious about the difference between having your first kid and your last kid. “When you’re pregnant with your first you practice your breathing for natural childbirth. For your fourth kid you ask for an epidural during your eight month.” All kidding aside, the ABCs is a cause that is close to Lisa Ann’s heart “with a mom who is a 35-year breast cancer survivor,” she told me.

“Each of our honorees is an extraordinary role model and dedicated humanitarian in our community. The impact of their contribution is immeasurable,” said Gloria Gebbia, president of the ABCs, who thanked Beverly Cohen and Sheri Rosenblum who co-chaired the event.

Among those on hand to support the ABCs was stunning Nicole Murphy, mother of five, who I also saw at the fifth annual “On the Go Mother’s Day Beauty Event,” which had celebrities gathering at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills. Beauty experts from Joico haircare, Olay Regenerist, Bellacures, Ziba Beauty, and Owl’s Brew set up their pampering stations poolside. Ahhh, it was a gorgeous day to get gorgeous!

Mother of the Year Award

More wonderful women enjoyed the special 84th annual Mother’s Day luncheon and fashion show benefiting Cedars-Sinai’s The Helping Hand of Los Angeles group. Lea Porter and Tori Spelling followed in the footsteps of past honorees such as Doris Day, Lucille Ball, Betty Ford, Dolores Hope, and Shirley Jones, with both receiving the Mother of the Year Award. An elegant fashion show presenting the Kevan Hall Collection capped off the afternoon at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Teacher Appreciation

Toluca Lake Elementary got a big surprise during Teacher Appreciation Week. Last week the Helpful Honda Guys in Blue (from the commercials) popped into Toluca Lake Elementary to surprise veteran fifth grade teacher (for 24 years) Dennis Hagen-Smith during the school’s annual Volunteer Awards Assembly.

After Mr. Hagen-Smith escorted his students into the auditorium Principal Bove introduced a surprise visit from the SoCal Honda Dealers and the Helpful Guys in Blue. They came to recognize Mr. Hagen-Smith for his efforts as an educator and presented him with a wishlist of classroom supplies. Celebrating great teachers is one way the Helpful Guys in Blue are giving back to communities across SoCal as part of their Helpful Campaign. Kudos to them and Mr. Hagen-Smith who has introduced a number of impactful outreach programs, including establishing the school-wide “Star Party” for students, parents, and scientists from Rocketdyne to make learning about astronomy fun and interactive. He helped his school become recognized as a NASA Explorer School. And, stop the presses! He also created the student-run newspaper “Toluca Lake Times.”