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.
Cornelia 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.