Our Vision…

  • We are encouraging all young people to take action in their community and our world.
  • We are moving forward with our mission.
  • We are powerful advocates for change.
  • We are making a difference.
  • We are proactive not reactive.
  • We are the future so hear our voices!

Monday, September 8, 2008

"A STAR IN YOU" Event Los Angeles


As Marian Wright Edelman said:

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”


The ‘In A Perfect World’ (IAPW) Foundation, founded by social entrepreneur Manuela Testolini, is actively involved in making a difference in communities nation-wide through various measures from providing workshops, like “Girl Prep” in Minneapolis (see my blog) and supporting existing organizations that are committed to the improvement and empowerment in the lives of children. One of my roles as a youth ambassador is to plan, direct and host events under the guidance and direction of the ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation Executive Director, Dr. Towanna Freeman and Founder of IAPW Manuela Testolini. My goal was to plan and carry out a two session event before the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. As I began to plan the event I was simultaneously working on my new CD in the studio.

I have worked with The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Los Angeles for several years and thought that a service project geared towards the children and families would be in line with the goals and interest of ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation. The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home where these brave families can stay while their heroic children are undergoing medical care.

The set of events sponsored by ‘In A Perfect World,’ were structured, designed and organized based upon the feedback of the RMH staff. They indicated activities the children enjoy, and we based our event on these activities. They also established that the typical length of stay for the families is often 1 week and therefore both events were to occur in the same week to ensure maximum repeat participation.

The name of the event is “A Star In You;” a fairytalesque event that gives kids a platform to share their inner stars together in harmony. My two upcoming singles became the inspiration behind ‘A Star In You.’ The first single, “Harmony” is a song that explores the passion of peace, hope of harmony, power in unity and the beauty of letting your inner star shine carried the message of the event. The single “Fairytale,” is a song that encourages listeners to follow their dreams even if the yellow brick road isn’t so smooth, was the decorative theme.

As the saying goes “it takes a village” and so would this service project “A Star In You.” The ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation sponsored the event and collaborated with several different businesses and organizations. Everyone played a role in the success of this event. Some of the many proud supporters include Long Beach’s Ben and Jerry’s who showed up for the “Ice Cream Ice Breaker,” The Looking Ahead Program (a division of SAG) that came on the day of the premiere to cheer on the children and their families, John Sciulli of Berliner photography and The Hollywood Film and Acting Academy (HFAA), who filmed the event and created the memory DVD.

The IAPW team pitched in and really helped light up the event. There were many planning sessions, meetings and shopping trips, as well as a team of people who turned out to pillar support. Dr. Towanna Freeman (Executive Director), her daughter Jenisis Harper (IAPW Volunteer, creative director of Girl Prep) and Kelsy Dominic (east coast Youth Ambassador) flew in from out of state for the event. Also founder Manuela Testolini provided her love and support helping make this event successful and shine along with Janelle Keith, her right hand. The high profile nature of the event was accentuated by young celebrity supporters:

Jillian Clare (Miss Behave; Days of Our Lives), Matthew Underwood (Zoey 101), Joey Luthman (WEEDS; An American Carol), Christopher Recupito Rossi (Miss Behave; Zoey 101)

Maiara Walsh (Corey In The House), Sammi Hanratty(Pushing Daisies, Suite Life)

At the first session (August 19th 2008) the children at the RMH participated in many different activities. Through this, they were given platforms to share their inner stars. The event was filmed and arranged for the August 22nd premiere by The HWFAA spearheaded by Joshua Sands. On the day of the event, the children at the house were busy discovering their gifts, passions and inner stars through four different categories:




Talk about inspiration!

A super fun category where kids can share and talk about the things that inspire them.




Let your inner star shine!

An exciting chance for kids to share their inner stars, display hidden talents and shine like superstarz!




Tales Of Harmony

A wonderful opportunity for kids to read, recite, share, or tell an inspirational story…a story of harmony!




A portrait of harmony.

A super creative project where kids will be able to a piece of artwork that highlights a themes of harmony.

The children had a lot of fun participating and performing in the activities along side celebrities “helpers.”

My next few days were filled with planning for the second part of the event as well as editing the footage. The whole event was filmed by the HWFAA, a professional academy in the heart of Hollywood. I co-edited the footage and scored the soundtrack for the August 22 premiere.On the day of the premiere IAPW Founder and Staff, RMH staff, RMH families, celebrity supporters, and teen leaders from ‘Looking Ahead’ poured in to the RMH of Los Angeles to cheer on the children and families who were now “movie stars.” Once many memorable pictures were taken on the real Red Carpet, and the movie style popcorn was passed out; the young guests and audience members took their seats in the theater room.

The RMH movie was touching because it showcases the children and their families, portraying how many of the children were originally reluctant to participate and how they blossomed and dared to share their inner stars.

At the conclusion of the Movie Star awards, copies of the short film and small tokens were passed out to all the children at the house as well as the young celebrities who came to support ‘In A Perfect World.’ Each child proudly displayed their award just as they shared their inner stars.

There are 4 things that have really changed me for the better, touched my heart and solidified my commitment to “A Star In You” platform The that The ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation allowed me to create:

  1. Together we are stronger: I am so grateful for the support, direction and guidance of the ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation, the participating celebrities, the supporters that came together to make this happen. Driven by a united goal to brighten, empower and witness these families blossom, we worked through details, navigated glitches and remained focused on our intent, to watch the children revealing their inner stars with the world! Thank you to the village who made “A Star In You” be a vehicle for these children and families to share.
  2. Upward and onward: Another point that has really sharpened my understanding at what events like this can accomplish came from the testimony of one of the participants. Events such as this can change lives. Such as the story from a young boy who was staying at RMD, we invited him to participate in “A Star In You” event. He was staying at the RMH waiting for his prosthesis. To say at first he was not interested in participating was an understatement. He originally said he would only come to “watch” and he chose the ‘Talk show.’ When I had an opportunity to interview him later, he said that this event had changed his life and taught him that he could and enjoyed talking with others. I was looking forward to seeing him at the premiere and where he would watch himself on the big screen. Unfortunately that day, he had to leave with his mother, but not before he left me this note:

  1. World of images: In this technological age, images speak volumes. The RMH DVD speaks for itself and gives a front seat to those who are called to give to help make opportunities and events like “A Star In You” a reality. It is my hope that those who see what ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation is doing, will be inspired and compelled to contribute to making more of these happen for children throughout the nation. Changing lives a child at a time.
  2. Youth making a difference: What has really been so meaningful to me is being apart of a growing number of youths who are in the entertainment industry and using their time and talent to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Particularly the night of the Premiere, the highlight of this day was not just showcasing the RMH families but celebrating the young people that are making a commitment to help support what ‘In A Perfect World’ Foundation is doing, such as Laura Campbell and the youth leadership council from Looking Ahead and other teen celebrities, youth ambassadors, volunteers and India B! Thank you for all of you who came to show your love and support!

When each and every one of us share the spark that inspires us, it makes the everything brighter. Star by star, spark by spark we can all do our part. There’s a star in me there’s a star in you, there’s a star in all of us…so let’s share the light, and make the world a brighter place!