On March 19th, The Help Group hosted its 21st Annual Teddy Bear Ball at the Beverly Hilton Hotel International Ballroom to benefit children with autism and other special needs. On this truly festive evening, The Help Group was pleased to present its Help Humanitarian Award to Steve Stark, President of TV and Development at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Gala Chairs for the event included Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television, Craig Erwich, Senior VP of Originals, Hulu, Pearlena Igbokwe, President, Universal Television, Mindy Kaling, Award-winning Actress, NY Times Best-Selling Author and Producer, Warren Littlefield, President, Littlefield Company, Elisabeth Moss, Emmy Award-winning Actress, Ray Romano, Emmy Award-winning Actor and Comic, and Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.

Chris O’Dowd, the multi-talented star of Get Shorty and Bridesmaids, emceed the event and delighted over 500 guests with his quick humor and warmth.

Louis Price, former lead singer of the Temptations, and The Help Group Children’s Choir kicked off the evening with a rousing rendition of the classic tune “Dancing In The Street” and the cheery Meghan Trainor hit “Better When I’m Dancing.”

The evening also featured a show-stopping Motown Medley performed by Louis Price and Friends that included songs like the Temptation’s “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Audience members sang and clapped along joyously to the memorable hits.

Dr. Barbara Firestone, Help Group President & CEO, and Gary H. Carmona, Help Group Board Chair, welcomed and thanked guests for their generosity, support and friendship.

Circle of Friends Board Members, Gala Co-Chairs and former Help Humanitarian Award honorees, Jamie and Chris McGurk, each spoke about their personal commitment to supporting the children before introducing a video about The Help Group.

Mercedes and Kerry, two parents featured in the video, spoke about how much The Help Group has meant to their children and families.

Dr. Berman and Dr. Firestone shared relevant Help Group updates, including the launch of an innovative and groundbreaking new program, Kaleidoscope, which offers support, education, and connection to an ever increasing number of LGBTQ+ children, young adults and families, particularly those with special needs.

To cap off a fantastic first act, Gala Chair Mindy Kaling presented The Help Group Children’s Choir, singing ‘A Million Dreams,’ with a heartwarming introduction.

Dr. Susan Berman, Help Group COO, and Dick Costello, Help Group Circle of Friends Board Member and Gala Co-Chair, presented the Dr. Adam Opportunity Fund to the guests. The fund provides scholarship support, mentoring, college counseling, vocational training, internships and even basic food, clothing and shelter to thousands of children served by The Help Group who have been the victims of abuse and neglect, are part of the foster care system, or are from families with very limited means.

Evelyn, who will benefit from the Dr. Adam Opportunity Fund, spoke openly about her story of perseverance and hope, and how much the fund has meant to her.

Michael Hackman, Founder & CEO of Hackman Capital Partners and Keyes for Kids Teddy Bear Golf Classic Co-Chair, led a spirited live auction that included a set visit to ‘Get Shorty,’ a suite at the Staples Center, and Help Group classrooms. The auction was a spectacular success for the children of The Help Group!

Circle of Friends Board Member, Gala Co-Chair, and former Help Humanitarian Award honoree Ken Solomon, along with Circle of Friends Board Member, Gala Chair, and former Help Humanitarian Award honoree Kevin Beggs, introduced the evening’s honoree retrospective and welcomed Steve Stark to the family of Help Group honorees.

Warren Littlefield, one of the evening’s Gala Chairs, introduced his good friend and colleague Steve Stark with funny and touching remarks. It was truly a classy way to welcome Steve to the stage.

Dr. Firestone and Gary H. Carmona presented Steve with the Help Humanitarian Award, and thanked him for his humanitarian spirit, compassion and caring that helps build brighter futures for the children. As a tribute to Steve, The Help Group Children’s Choir performed the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

In his unforgettable acceptance speech, Steve told poignant stories and talked in notable detail about the children of The Help Group – their dreams and aspirations.

Steve remarked to the audience, “I’d like to acknowledge that your kindness and generosity has helped write a better story for Rachel, Rodney, Jethro, Max and Bella and the other children who The Help Group reaches. The world needs more people like all of you. So, thank you for making a difference. And, thank you to Dr. Firestone and The Help Group Board of Directors for this great honor.”

The Help Group is so grateful to our remarkable honoree, Steve Stark, and to everyone who joined us for this time-honored celebration of the beauty and potential of the children.

      1. Dr. Barbara Firestone, Help Group CEO & President, Gary H. Carmona, Help Group Board Chair, and Steve Stark, Help Humanitarian Awardrecipient
      2. Dr. Barbara Firestone, Gala Chair Mindy Kaling, Gala Host Chris 0’Dowd with The Help Group Children’s Choir
      3. Chris O’Dowd and Auctioneer Michael Hackman
      4. Mindy Kaling presents The Children’s Choir
      5. Warren Littlefield, President of Littlefield Company, Roma Downey, Actress, Producer, Author and Co-Founder of LightWorkers Media, a division of MGM Television and Digital, and Mark Burnett, Chairman, MGM Worldwide Television and Co-Founder of LightWorkers Media
      6. Student Speaker Evelyn, Dr. Susan Berman, Help Group COO, and Gala Co-Chair Dick Costello
      7. Steve Stark and The Help Group Children’s Choir
      8. Steve Stark and Gala Chair Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios
      9. Gala Co-Chairs Jamie and Chris McGurk
      10. Gala Chair, Kevin Beggs and Gala Co-Chair Ken Solomon
      11. Dr. Barbara Firestone and Parent Speakers Mercedes and Kerry at the podium
      12. Dr. Barbara Firestone, Kari Van Gundy, CEO of Zenith National Insurance and The Zenith Family