Special Needs Network’s 11th Annual Evening under the Stars

LOS ANGELES-Attorney Areva Martin wears many crowns: as the partner and co-founder of Martin & Martin LLP; a recurring guest host on the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show “The Doctors;” the author of “The Everyday Advocate: How to Stand Up for Your Autistic Child;” president and co-founder of the non-profit community-based organization Special Needs Network (SNN); mother of three; and wife.

I refer to crowns instead of hats because Martin is the queen of innovation and change.

Recognized by millions as a result of numerous television appearances as a legal analyst on Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, Dr. Drew, World News Tonight, ABC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and CBS, many who know Martin would say her rise to notoriety was because of her fierce advocacy for her son on the autism spectrum.

Honorary Event Chair Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas addresses the hundreds of attendees and shared good news about the on-going research about autism and services and resources for families and their children living with disabilities.

Martin, a Harvard Law graduate, proudly wore her heaviest crown as an autism advocate and host for one of the most anticipated fundraisers to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities in the underserved communities of Los Angeles.

“The night exceeded all of my expectations and I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.  It was a night filled with inspiration and emotion,” said Martin.  “Our kids and families are blessed immeasurably and I can’t thank our sponsors, donors and guests enough for making kids with autism a priority.”

More than 400 of Martin’s friends, colleagues, supporters, celebrities, and family dressed in black and white gathered on the Sony Pictures Studio Lot to benefit her non-profit Special Needs Network’s 11th Annual Evening Under the Stars and honor innovators and game changers in various industries.

Actor Patrick Faucette from OWNTV “The Haves and Have Nots” and organ donor activist, attended SSN’s star-studded event.
Actor Patrick Faucette from OWNTV “The Haves and Have Nots” and organ donor activist, attended SSN’s star-studded event.

The evening included the presentation of several awards.  Martin presented the Innovators Award to Shannon Hunt, senior producer of Emmy award-winning daytime show, “The Doctors.”  Los Angeles County Fire Chief and SSN Board Member Daryl Osby presented the Game Changer Awards to Alva Adams-Mason, director of African American Strategies for Toyota and to Les Ybarra, executive director of the Southern California Blue Cross/Medicaid for Anthem Blue Cross.

SNN Board Vice President and Event Chair Bonnie Berry Lamon presented the Innovators Award to Dr. Henri Ford, vice president and surgeon in chief at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who received a standing ovation after the audience watched a brief video about his miraculous surgical separation of conjoined Haitian infants.

“Bold and The Beautiful” Actor Sean Kanan served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Some of the  special guests included actor Bret Green; actor Bruno Gunn; actress Camille Winbush; Ambassador David Huebner; Dr. Duane E. McWaine; actress Erica-Marie Sanchez; NFL player James Anderson; Dr. Jennifer Berman; actor Patrick Faucette; TV personality Kathleen Bradley; actress Kathleen Gati; actress Kelsey Scott; L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer; actor Oba Babatunde; TV personality Kiki Shepard; CBS anchorwoman Pat Harvey; actress Patrika Darbo; Robbie Montgomery from OWNTV “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s;” State Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas; and Tonya R. Banks, reality personality.

Live entertainment was provided by “Dancing With The Stars” Edyta Sliwinska who choreographed two l performances with children and counselors from the SNN Summer Camp and the Dance4U Dancers. Musical entertainment was provided by Crystal Starr & The Bowties.

“Proceeds from our annual gala fundraiser and awards show will sustain and expand SNN’s health and human services programs which includes the development of a game-changing comprehensive autism clinic on the campus of Martin Luther King Hospital and Healthcare Center,” said Martin.  “The clinic will impact thousands of kids and their families and will be at the forefront of innovative healthcare models.”

For more information about SSN, go to http://snnla.org/.

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