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By Lia Langworthy

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/6/14

“28,000 foster children in LA Country need advocacy and a voice,” says Louis Lucido Chair of the 2nd annual Evening to Foster Dreams Gala, “and with your help we hope to provide a champion to each and every one of them.”  

Imagine this.  A foster child is failing school.  After a short conversation with a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) they discovers the child might have an sight problem. This simple conversation changes her life. Fitted with glasses her grades improve and her chances to succeed in life. CASAs affect children’s lives daily by listening to their needs and saying, “I’m here. You matter. You deserve love.”

Host Dax Shepard (“Parenthood”) kicked off the evening with wit and charm as he introduced attendees to the leaders of the organization. Executive Director, Dilys Tosteson Garcia presented Glamour Gowns Committee with The Bob Frandzel Award for their work of providing formal attire to prom aged young women in the LA foster care system.

The CASA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Harriet Zaretsky for her 20 plus years of volunteer service as a CASA. Video testimonials from foster kids had many attendees in tears by the time Harriet took the stage and accepted her award.

During the animated live auction guest dined on filet mignon as much needed funds were raised to continue and expand CASA/LA’s work.

After the live auction The Robert Morrison Community Service Award was given to comedy icon Bill Cosby for his lifetime commitment to children. Mr. Cosby delighted the audience sharing poignant and hilarious stories about parenting five kids and three grandchildren with his famous insights and charming wit.

Hollywood came out in force to support CASA/LA including:

Tommy Davidson (“Black Dynamite”, “Mad TV”)

Lorenzo Lamas (“Celebrity Apprentice”)

Vincent M. Ward (“The Walking Dead”)

Lyndon Smith (NBC’s “Parenthood”),

Ernie Hudson (“Oz”, “Ghostbusters”),

Greg Germann (“Ally  McBeal”),

Peter Parros (OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots”),

John Savage (“The Deer Hunter”)

Nancy La Scala (Jersey Boys)

Paul Vandervort (“Youthful Daze”)

From standing beside a child in court to donating clothes for proms, CASA volunteers demonstrate loving-kindness and deserved to be celebrated for championing vulnerable children. Dilys Tosteson Garcia sums it up best, “CASA’s advocacy is restorative, transformative and life-saving.”