A Memorable Night at the 2015 Sharefest Gala


Nearly 400 guests and supporters joined us November 7 for the 12th annual Sharefest Voices of Hope Gala at the Torrance Marriott to celebrate a successful year of transformed communities and empowered lives. It was a memorable evening complete with entertaining emcees, talented youth musicians, a lively auction, and powerful stories of community impact. (Watch the gala video recap.)

Throughout the evening, guests heard from several amazing Sharefest Youth Development Academy students. Representing our Voices of Hope, these high school students shared about their community advocacy projects and the dreams they have to bring about change. (Watch the Voices of Hope video to see more of their stories.)

“It was wonderful to have so many of our youth involved in the gala this year,” said Sharefest Executive Director Chad Mayer. “They are the reason we are here, and they are the ones who will carry on this legacy of change.”

In addition, this year Sharefest introduced four new awards to recognize individuals and organizations making significant efforts to instill change and inspire others toward positive growth. The award recipients included Supervisor Don Knabe, the 2015 Honorary Gala Chair, whose work to bring individuals and organizations together to stop human trafficking is helping save lives.

Youth Hero Award recipient Nnamdi Asomugha was recognized for his work to motivate at-risk youth to pursue their dreams and go to college through the Asomugha College Tour for Scholars (ACTS). Several ACTS students attended the gala and shared with the audience where they are currently attending college. “I think that anytime you dedicate your life to serving others, you can’t fail. And that’s what we’re doing to continue to do,” said Asomugha. (Watch a video of Asomugha's impact featuring our friends at the NFL Network.)

Joyce Sharman, wife of the late Bill Sharman, received the Legacy Award for her contagious kindness and generosity as she helps athletes and local leaders discover joy in bringing encouragement and empowerment to those facing challenging health, economic, and social conditions. “I love what Sharefest does, how they make a difference in the community. How they show young people they can make a difference in the world,” said Sharman. She went on to encourage the audience, “You don’t have to be famous and you don’t have to be rich to make a difference in someone’s life.” (Watch this powerful video of Sharman's legacy hosted by sportscaster John Ireland.)

The Media Award went to Univision 34 Los Angeles for empowering the Hispanic community and equipping Latino families with resources focused on education, health, prosperity, and participation to help overcome the critical issues they face.

Each of these award recipients not only lead change, but also inspire change as they model to local youth and those around them what it means to serve and give back. For these reasons and so many more, Sharefest was proud to recognize each recipient.

This evening of community celebration would not have been possible without the support of Sharefest’s dedicated sponsors, including Supervisor Don Knabe, Wells Fargo, Cornerstone Construction Group, Toyota, and so many more. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and all in attendance, more than $200,000 was raised to support Sharefest programs.

“We are so grateful for the generous encouragement we received from those who attended this special night,” said Mayer. “It’s been an incredible year of impact and growth, and we look forward to extending our impact even further in the year to come.”

Watch a video recap of the Gala.






Voices of Hope


During this year’s Summer Youth Development Academy, 27 students from local Los Angeles high schools spent four weeks dissecting what it means to be a leader and discovering how they can become positive, influential leaders in their communities.

They learned from special guest speakers in government and business who shared their pathways to leadership, the challenges and successes, and inspired students with their stories and advice. Assemblymember Mike Gipson challenged students to find their strengths and passions and from these, shape a career path. Joyce Sharman, wife of the late Bill Sharman, longtime Laker coach and 10-time NBA champion, taught students that “kindness has the power to change the world.” Pilar Hoyas of Watson Land Co. encouraged students, saying, “Education is the pathway to true change for yourself and others.” And Gabriela Medina, field deputy for Councilman Joe Buscaino told students, “Don't let careless choices define you. Make the necessary changes to move forward in a better way.” Students gleaned invaluable wisdom from these speakers and many others, motivating them to pursue their goals in education and future careers.

Students also engaged daily with the challenges of Los Angeles area communities by interacting with one another around information found in newspaper, online sources, and news magazines. Throughout the four weeks they used this information to work on their capstone project, a Point of View presentation to help raise civic awareness to needs plaguing our communities.

Each student was challenged to identify a civic concern, research its causes and potential remedies, and prepare an advocacy speech to inspire change. Students integrated research, mentor feedback, and peer review to develop their final Powerpoint presentation with a goal of delivering a powerful message of need and hope.

At the culmination of Summer YDA, these 27 high school students presented to more than 100 guests at The Asomugha Foundation Voices of Hope event. They addressed issues such as a need for more sober living facilities, and the ongoing challenge of body image for women in a culture focused on Hollywood celebrities and models. It was a powerful afternoon watching students discover and express their concerns and identify ways to make their communities better.

Sharefest looks forward to seeing communities grow stronger as these students go back with new-found leadership skills and a firm conviction that change is possible.

Watch a video recap of their summer experience…







Generation to Generation: YDA Service Day

On Thursday, July 30, Sharefest Youth Development Academy middle school students had the privilege of serving alongside youth from The Asomugha Foundation’s College Tour for Scholars (ACTS) program to transform the Wilmington Senior Center as part of a larger refurbishing project funded by a generous $45,000 gift from Phillips 66.

During the service day, the nearly 120 students assisted with new landscaping, created tiles for a mosaic, made cards of encouragement for homebound seniors, chatted with residents, and more, all with a goal of creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for community members. This service day continued the work started by Summer YDA students at the first summer service day on July 16.

“When I found out that Sharefest was coming with Phillips 66, I was really excited. I’ve been excited since the first day because we really need the help,” said Maria Martinez, Director of Aging for the Wilmington Senior Center. “To see these kids so happy to be working and doing and trying their best, to make the center a better looking place...I’m really, really grateful for you guys being here and doing this for our center. Thank you!”

The center serves about 150 community members each day who stop by to attend various classes, such as zumba, art, craft, sewing, and more. Weekly clubs meetings and senior trips are organized through the center, as well as workshops to help residents learn new skills. The center’s outreach program delivers an estimated 37,000 meals to homebound residents annually.

“I am thrilled that together with the Asomugha Foundation and Phillips 66, we can improve and transform this facility to serve generations of Wilmington residents,” said Chad Mayer, Sharefest Executive Director. “This project also allows us to instill in youth from the YDA and ACTS programs the importance of community involvement and service as they prepare to become future leaders.”

This is Sharefest’s second year partnering with the Asomugha Foundation, and both organizations share a passion for developing youth to be future leaders, a key component of the service day.

“The Asomugha Foundation is proud to partner with Sharefest and Phillips 66 on this day of service. It is important to give back, and this venture speaks to the heart and mission of our organization,” said Dr. Lilian Asomugha, Founder, President, and CEO of the Asomugha Foundation.

The work being completed is at no cost to the center, thanks to Phillips 66. The funds from their gift will allow for additional work to take place including new paint for rooms and hallways, landscaping, and more.

“Phillips 66 strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and we have deep roots in the city of Wilmington,” said Phillips 66 Public Affairs Manager Janet Grothe. “We’re excited to be a part of this important work alongside Sharefest, the Asomugha Foundation, and local youth as we meet community needs while developing future leaders.”






That's a Wrap! Summer YDA, Week 4


Nancy Perez from Phillips 66 shares her leadership story with YDA high school students, and reminds them that even small gestures can make a big difference in the lives of others.


Middle school students work on their art assignments.


Ready for tennis! One of many activities students participated in to encourage an active lifestyle.


Nice swing! High school students enjoy a quick game of softball.


High school students practice their civic awareness presentations in preparation for their final speech.


Students listen as Assemblymember Mike Gipson shares his journey into politics and leadership, and inspires students to apply their strengths to reach their goals.


Middle school students create mosaic tiles as part of their service day at the Wilmington Senior Center.


Another successful year of the Summer Youth Development Academy! Thanks to all our sponsors who make this event possible, and free for all youth participants!


Check back for additional YDA updates and be sure to follow Sharefest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more YDA news. #SFYDA






New Students Dive In: Summer YDA, Week 3

Sharefest welcomed 100 new middle school students as session two of Summer YDA began on Monday. Our amazing counselors welcomed them with open arms as students dove right into a week of learning and fun activities. High school students continued into week three of their program, continuing to work on lessons on writing, leadership, and community engagement. Check out this week’s highlights!


New MS students arrive for summer session two!


Students get to know their new groups and practice working as a team.


YDA counselors help make this program a success and build great relationships with their groups.


Students work on their writing assignment for the day.


Staying active while running soccer drills.


High school students work on their community plan projects.


High school students hear from and speak with Hattie Harrison, human resources specialist for Alcoa Fastening Systems and representative for the Alcoa Foundation, learning how she got to where she is, and what they can do to prepare now for their futures.


High school students also met with and interviewed Mayola Delgado, who works in community empowerment and communications with Univision Los Angeles.


Check back for additional YDA updates and be sure to follow Sharefest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more YDA news. #SFYDA





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