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Save the Date for a Holiday HEART Celebration

We know the holiday season fills up fast so mark your calendars now and plan on joining us on Sunday, December 5 at the Bel Air Bay Club for a year-end H.E.A.R.T. celebration!

Our very special guest will be acclaimed children's author and new VIP Board member Cornelia Funke. She will be fresh off her international tour for her new book, Reckless, and ready to entertain you and your children with fantastic, adventurous stories from her novels and original illustrations.

There will be food, music and a toy drive all to celebrate a year of wonderful service by all the members and friends of H.E.A.R.T.

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VIP Back Pack Drive Gets an A+

A very heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who made this year’s VIP Back Pack Drive to collect new school supplies and our Back to School Day on August 26 a tremendous success. With your persistence, enthusiasm, and generosity VIP was able to send over 250 children from extremely low-income families who are coping with overcoming severe trauma to their first day of classes fully equipped all the supplies they need to make a great start. Special acknowledgement goes out to the Golden State Foods Foundation, our premier sponsor for this event, and the staff at GSF. Their gift of $2,000 made this an exceptional endeavor.

Children were energized and overwhelmed by the variety of back packs they were able to choose from, and our hard-working and fun-loving volunteers had a blast helping the kids pick out just the right bag. Brothers and sisters sat down together to compare all the supplies that were in their bags and make a few strategic changes, while mothers and other caregivers expressed their extreme gratitude in helping their children have something brand new of the own for the first time in a long time.

This year’s event was a celebration of all the adventure and possibility that comes with the start of the new school year. Through the compassion of the Panda Cares community outreach program, families were treated to a delicious meal from Panda Express served up by volunteers from the Panda Restaurant Group. We had special back to school arts and crafts. And kids were even able to pick out new gym clothes.

Events like these not only serve the children and families receive services at VIP. They also breathe life and renewed purpose into our staff and volunteers. They remind everyone that VIP will stand by every child we see and help them succeed in all aspects of their lives.

VIP would like to thank the following sponsors and volunteers:

  • All Saints Church Foster Care Project
  • Lauren Bender
  • Angie Colls
  • Judy Dawson
  • Jim and Kitty Dillavou
  • East West Bank
  • Equity Office Properties
  • Cornelia Funke
  • Eve Gerber
  • Genoveva Giron
  • Connie Harris
  • Anna Hsueh
  • KBKG, Inc.
  • Siena Lasker
  • Sarah Lee
  • Marta Miller
  • Jahan Minoo
  • Joen Mitchell
  • Ann and Teresa Mohrbacher
  • Ruthie Moutafian
  • Thea Nesis and daughters
  • Mary Odell
  • Linda Rubin
  • Sofi Rubio
  • Charon Sandoval
  • Iduru and Patricia Seshadri
  • Erin Sheedy
  • Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP
  • Emily Sanderson and the staff at Unwind Yarn, Burbank

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HEART Welcomes New Advisory Board Member

H.E.A.R.T. is pleased to announce that this summer Fran Lasker accepted an invitation to join the group's Advisory Board.

Ms. Lasker has been in private practice in Los Angeles as a psychotherapist for the past 24 years. Her training is in Family Systems therapy although she blends many different styles including Cognitive Behavioral work Mindfulness and Depth Psychotherapy. She is in the process of writing a book on teen sexuality that originated from the many tales that her two daughters, ages 20 and 17, were telling her. She has been married for 22 years.

The Board was very excited that Ms. Lasker agreed to join H.E.A.R.T. in its quest to better care for and provide support to children who have been abused or neglected and are in the foster care system. Her knowledge and passion are providing wonderful energy and creativity as we plan for the future.

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VIP Welcomes New Board Members

VIP is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to the organization’s Board of Directors – Cornelia Funke and Lauren Bender. The appointments were unanimously and enthusiastically approved at the Board’s quarterly meeting in June.

Funke-018Cornelia Funke is an internationally acclaimed bestselling German author of children’s books and young adult novels. She has written more than 40 titles including the Inkeart trilogy, the Ghosthunters series, Dragon Rider, and The Thief Lord. Her titles have made numerous appearances on the New York Times bestseller list and several have been made into movies both in Germany and in the United States. Her newest novel, Reckless, is debuting this summer and being released in dozens of languages for her fans around the world.

Cornelia is originally from Germany though she now lives in Los Angeles "in a house filled with books." Her first career was as a social worker in Germany so she is intimately acquainted with the needs of the children and families at VIP. It was her love of storytelling that moved her to take up the pen of a novelist full-time. She is also an accomplished artist who illustrates her own books.

Lauren Bender brings both medical and philanthropic expertise to the VIP Board. A native of the Pasadena area, Lauren is a Physician’s Assistant in La Cañada as well as being a dedicated child and community advocate. She studied to become a Physician Assistant at the University of Southern California where she also earned a degree in Business Administration. She has experience in many aspects of the healthcare field. She serves on the Board of the Community Center of La Cañada-Flintridge Preschool and the Executive Board of the Parish Council of Women at St. Bede church.

As a graduate student, Lauren interned with VIP Executive Director, Dr. Astrid Heger, and learned a great deal about the treatment and prevention of child abuse and the work of family advocacy centers as well as maintaining a sustainable clinic in the public healthcare system. Lauren still counts the time she spent at VIP as one of the most affecting experiences of her education.

Earlier this year, the VIP Board said goodbye to long time member and amazing supporter, Shelli Herman. Shelli, Vice President at Gary Kaplan & Associates, served on the Board of Directors for six years during which she helped create long lasting partnerships with the Junior League of Los Angeles and other dedicated benefactors. VIP thanks Shelli Herman for her service and dedication to our mission and goals.

Meet the rest of the Board of Directors of the VIP Community Mental Health Center.

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