On Wednesday, February 13, The Help Group held its first Teddy Bear Tea: An Affair of the Heart at The Regency Club in Los Angeles. The afternoon of high tea and heart-filled spirit was hosted and underwritten by Stephanie Liner and her husband Stuart, 2007 Help Fore Children Humanitarian Award honorees, to benefit The Help Group’s Opportunity Fund. Established in 2003, the Opportunity Fund provides educational support and training, as well as basic food, clothing and shelter for children in The Help Group programs with limited access to financial resources.
Dr. Firestone welcomed guests and thanked everyone for their commitment to the children of The Help Group. With special gratitude, Dr. Firestone remarked, “Our host Stephanie Liner lives the verbs ‘to love’ and ‘to help’ and has paved the way for our Teddy Bear Tea. She and her husband, Stuart have made opening the doors of opportunity to children who would not otherwise have access to more promising futures – a top priority in their lives.”
Stephanie Liner acknowledged co-hosts Patricia London, Jamie McGurk, Circle of Friends Board Member and 2000 Help Group Honoree and Sonia Salzman. Stephanie spoke of the meaningfulness of the event, expressing, “Today is truly ‘an affair of the heart’ so poignantly reflected in the giving and caring of everyone here today—a Valentine for the children. …When Stuart and I visited The Help Group, the children captured our hearts forever – we are so proud to be a part of The Help Group family.”
Parent of a Help Group student, Rony Rosenbaum shared her family’s story of commitment, love and determination for her son Michael. Born with Down Syndrome, Rony spoke of Michael’s journey to find a place of acceptance within the community. Not long after the Rosenbaum family placed Michael at The Help Group, Rony shared, “Michael’s confidence is back. His smile is back. He wants to go to school and his sense of independence is growing. He feels included and a part of his community. He has friends and playdates and love where he’s at. As his parents, that’s what being in the right place is all about. Thank you to everyone at The Help Group for making it the right place for kids and their parents.”
Acclaimed author and distinguished research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., discussed her new book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Highlighting the afternoon with her thought provoking findings, Sonja presented on the keys of happiness and how lead to a positive, fulfilling life.
As a special treat, children from The Help Group’s Village Glen School gave an energetic performance of Mr. Sun and Zippity Doo-Dah. As a musical valentine to Stephanie, Patricia, Jamie and Sonia Help Group student Matthew, accompanied by teacher Kari Ann Walter, sang Wonderful World.