For the third consecutive year, the Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa hosted its annual fashion show fundraiser to benefit Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services. I had the opportunity to attend this event and gained some valuable insight to the work that is done in the education and treatment for at-risk youth. “A World Of Change” was the theme this year and a fashion runway show was held as the main highlight of the night.
The fashion designers that participated in this event came from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and they represented the diversity of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods. The evening was given the red carpet treatment upon entering and the crowd was treated with dining branded by the Ritz-Carlton name. Whole Foods Inc. participated by providing a tasting of wine and chocolates.
I was afforded the luxury of speaking with a few key individuals involved with spearheading this project. Martin Nicholson, the General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton, explained to me of the laborious process his employees had undergone initially, which inevitably led to the devotion of their time towards their mentees. He gushed with pride at their achievements and how their altruism and selflessness have brought about significant change in the lives of these youths.
Silvio Orlando, Executive Director of Optimist had a lot of positive things to say in the partnership that his organization has with the Ritz-Carlton, informing me that the fundraisers held thus far has brought about a very positive funding, which in turn helped to elevate the quality levels of the programs that have been implemented so far.
He then introduced me to two bright young individuals who are currently participating in the program. They both were of the opinion that their experiences have been entirely positive in the surprisingly few months since initiation. Overall, they have learned much about the importance of the bigger things in life, such as a good education and proper behavior in society.
Jennifer Chiesa, the Director of Public Relations for the Ritz Carlton, informed me that the partnership with Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services has been mutually beneficial. Their hotel employees have a brighter outlook on their daily duties and the few hours a week they devote to their mentees only help them appreciate the work that they do as they inspire those individuals. On behalf of the Ritz-Carlton, she expresses her gratitude to these employees for their continued efforts in enriching the lives of that portion of the members of the local Pasadena community.
TV Azteca’s Mariana Montenegro was there with her crew to interview a few parties involved as well as the crowd’s opinion of the goings-on as the evening progressed. I managed to mingle with a few celebrities, including actor David Newsom, who was seen recently on the FX show, Dirt, and seemed excited to be there to lend his support to the benefit.
The evening went without a glitch and two awards were presented to employees who contributed the most to the organization. Each received an honorary award as well as a round of applause. Brenda Song, multi-talented young actress of the Disney Channel, was the hostess of the evening. Her charm was evident as she rattled on through a large chunk of her speech without an intake of breath, and then light-heartedly joked about it.
The audience was then introduced to the various designers that participated in the runway show. It was a refreshing and interesting experience to see a few of these local designers and their intricately designs, some of which were of haute couture caliber. Alas, there were others that simply fell flat and were uninteresting and unimaginative, not quite working with the models and their bodies.
Overall, the evening was an absolute success (I did not witness an empty seat in the ballroom), and for the worthy cause that was being supported, LA Splash is very proud to have been there to cover every moment of the event.