Bosnia is a land so far removed from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, 6,409 miles to be precise, or a 13 hour twenty minute flight if you prefer to take the short cut. But in this ever-shrinking globe, where worlds-away cultures are our next-door neighbors, this distance appears irrelevant.
As the distance fades, so does the disconnect as celebrities such as Angelina Jolie shed light on the hardships of the region and the struggles of its people. Jolie, however, is not alone in her endeavor. Senita Sipac, Bosnian refugee and long time Los Angeles resident, has taken it upon herself to connect these two regions through a cause that is creating a link running straight through the heart.
Senita founded the Bosana Foundation in 2010, devoted to serving underprivileged Bosnian youth, which has mainly been funded by donations originating in Los Angeles. The Bosana Foundation has a mission of providing marginalized youth with the tools, funds and resources to make positive life choices that enable them to maximize their personal potential; therefore, moving them from a predicament of poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, which promotes viable civil societies. The foundation hopes that through the empowerment and education of youth, that history does not repeat itself and that Bosnia and Herzegovina can once again be a country that boasts peaceful multi-ethnic and multi-cultural traditions.
On May 10th, the Bosana Foundation is celebrating its five-year anniversary at their 5th Annual Benefit. This event is not only for fundraising, it is also a place, as Senita says, “where the Bosnian and American cultures can intersect through celebration. Everyone is welcome, which is why we often say that our events transcend boundaries and divisions”.
At events past, the Bosana Foundation has drawn in keynote speakers such as actress Annette Benning, foundation ambassador Amra Silajdzic, and author Bill Carter. This year, they reached out to actress Stephanie Drapeau, also the co-founder of the One World Foundation. Senita shares that she and Lana Brkic, Events Director at Bosana, approached Stephanie as a natural fit. “Stephanie has dedicated her life to giving back, both through her work with the One World Foundation and through the way she approaches life as a whole. We knew she would carry a message of the heart. ”
Stephanie has been in films such as Cross, Scout and Closure as well as the TV series Castle. She recently co-wrote/produced the film Wish Wizard created to fulfill the wishes of 4 Make-A-Wish kids, star-studded with talent such as Morgan Freeman, Ed Begley Jr. and David Koechner. But it’s her work with One World Foundation, which she founded with her husband Christian Drapeau, that she says fuels her. “Without the love I receive from our foundation’s work, particularly with the children of Baan Unrak, I don’t think I’d have a fraction of the creative reservoir to draw from as an actress. Their love fuels me and I hope I’m able to do the same for them”. Baan Unrak is a children’s home in Thailand that is the mainstay of One World Foundation’s efforts.
The joining of forces between people such as Stephanie and Senita is just the beginning of a long awaited adventure that the Bosana Foundation is embarking upon. Senita’s personal mission to bring public awareness to Bosnia and to change the lives of as many of its kids as possible is happening. She is assured that “their opportunities can be as immense and varied as the kids in here in Los Angeles”. With their robust drive and lifted spirits, she is certain that this will happen.
For more information on the Annual Benefit or to purchase tickets, visit their official website.