News
VIP Welcomes New Board Chair
At its regular meeting in March, the VIP Board of Directors unanimously elected Birgitta Granberg as its new Chairperson. Ms. Granberg has a long and distinguished career in fundraising and development for nonprofit organizations and major universities. Ms. Granberg has served on the Board since 2007, but has been an active volunteer and supporter for many years. She first met Dr. Heger when she was working in development at the USC Keck School of Medicine and was instrumental in the move to create the VIP Community Mental Health Center as an independent nonprofit organization and in the creation of VIP’s key support group – H.E.A.R.T. – which raises close to $100,000 each year to provide direct support to children and families in need at VIP. Ms. Granberg currently works as the Director of Development for the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University.

At this same meeting, the Board said goodbye to longtime member, Lou Mele, who has served three consecutive terms on the Board and has served as the Chair for the past several years. Mr. Mele has been on the Board since the inception and incorporation of VIP as a nonprofit organization in 2002. Mr. Mele has been a powerful advocate for the best interests of children and other victims VIP serves, and his passion and sincerity will be missed. While Mr. Mele had reached his term limit with the Board, VIP looks forward to his continued involvement and support.

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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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