March 17th may have been St. Patrick’s Day, but for those in attendance at The Help Group’s Teddy Bear Tea at the Four Seasons LA at Beverly Hills, the day was “An Affair of the Heart.” As keynote speaker, acclaimed philanthropist, family advocate, author and psychologist, Dr. Cheryl Saban, shared the powerful and thought-provoking message of her book What is Your Self-Worth?: A Woman’s Guide to Validation.

For the second consecutive year, The Teddy Bear Tea was graciously hosted by Nadine Schiff-Rosen, who serves on The Help Group’s Circle of Friends Philanthropic Board with her husband, Fred Rosen. “I’ve come to know The Help Group for its commitment to leading the way for young people who are facing challenges,” she said. “Thank you for being here today to support this wonderful organization.”

Tea co-hosts Teddi Cole and Julia Baumgartner spoke with great warmth and enthusiasm about their experiences as parents of children who attend The Help Group’s Summit View School. Tea co-host Therese Gamba introduced The Help Group’s Opportunity Fund, which provides scholarships and support for young people with special needs served by the Help Group – some of whom have been victims of abuse and neglect, come from the foster care system or from economically disadvantaged circumstances.

Describing the event as a veritable “Power Tea,” Dr. Barbara Firestone, Help Group President & CEO, said, “There’s a real energy in this room today. It’s the power of commitment to kids and giving back and to ensuring that all children have brighter futures.” Dr. Firestone announced the September 2010 opening of The Help Group’s new state-of-the-art autism center, which is dedicated to education, research, parent & professional training and outreach. She also spoke of The Help Group’s robust efforts in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month in April. For more information, please visit www.thehelpgroup.org.

Parent speaker, Heather Brezny, whose five-year-old son, Grant, attends The Help Group’sVillageGlenSchool, spoke movingly about the difficulties faced by her family, as Grant struggled with his developmental delays, and the feelings she experienced when he was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. With great pride, she shared the significant strides that Grant has made and said, “I truly believe finding the Help Group was the turning point in Grant’s life.” It was a touching moment when Grant appeared on stage to present a bouquet to his mother.

The afternoon was highlighted by two heartwarming performances from The Help Group Children’s Choir, whose musical talents drew tremendous applause from the crowd.

In her keynote address, Dr. Saban delivered a wake-up call for women to claim their own self-worth, take responsibility for the outcomes in their lives and become change makers, both locally and globally. “We need to value ourselves, own our opinions, let our own lights shine and embrace the fact that we do have a valid, viable and highly capable voice, and we do deserve a seat at the grown-up table.” Dr. Saban also discussed the recent establishment of her Women’s Self-Worth Foundation, which provides grants to organizations that work toward the empowerment and advancement of women.

At the conclusion of the afternoon, Dr. Saban graciously signed books for an appreciative audience. The Help Group’s Teddy Bear Tea was truly “An Affair of the Heart.”