On Thursday, February 28, 2013, Bienvenidos hosted its 25 Anniversary Gala. Bienvenidos is an amazing social service organization led by an amazing man named Ritchie Geisel. Bienvenidos mission is simple: to heal children, strengthen families and transform communities. Enough said.
I have had the pleasure of serving on the board of Bienvenidos for a couple years. And I am continually blown away by the achievements of this organization despite an economy where the first items cut are social services.
The event was amazing. If I had to guess I’d say there were around 3,500 – 4,000 people in attendance. The event was held at Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles.
The emcee for the evening was comedian George Lopez. I have always enjoyed his work but prior to this evening had never met him personally. I had the opportunity to meet with him briefly and he was awesome! A little quirky but a lot of heart. And funny, too!
The key honoree this evening was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. This is a man that is not new to controversy. And many people have very strong opinions of the man – one way or another. I have met him before – but only briefly. I don’t have a strong opinion but I do like his story: from Boyle Heights to City Hall. And he’s a Bruin!
Finally, there was Eva Shipman. This woman is unbelievable. Over the course of many years she has taken in HUNDREDS of foster youth and adopted many of them. The more she gives, the more there is to give. It was an honor to get to hear her story and learn about to dedication and love that foster parents have for youth that have extremely limited options.
All in, the evening was awesome and a good amount of money was raised. But more money is always needed. As you read this I encourage you to visit Bienvenidos and consider a contribution to this great organization.