5-21-08 Wed. night was the big gala. Here are some of the shots...
Before the gala, Diane Booker, J.D., Exec. Dir. of the US Dream Academy, took some time out of her very hectic schedule to meet with us XRTZ folks.
Before the gala, there was a VIP reception for special guests and sponsors. Here a US Dream Acad. board member, Jody Victor, speaks with us.
Gene Edelbach and I pose with co-emcee, Cynne Simpson, an award-winning journalist who anchors the ABC7/WJLA-TV Weekend Evening News. She actually grew up in Sacto, CA! She was very gracious and an excellent co-host.
Judy Peterson chats with Dr. Ben Carson, famous pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins.
The Phipps and the Carsons.
Judy and Sheila pose with Wintley Phipps.
Bill Ming, who's wife Diane is on the board.
Got my picture with Wintley, Cynne (far right), and Keyshia Cole, a famous singer.
The XRTZ team! Joel (COO/Co-founder) & Judy Peterson, yours truly, Sheila Hodgkin (Advisory Board Chair & Chief Development Officer), & Steve Hodgkin
Cynne was a co-host with Chris Tucker, the actor in all 3 Rush Hour movies with Jackie Chan. He was hilarious!!!
Keyshia gives her testimony, inspiring everyone there, especially the kids.
The US Dream Academy Choir sang a rousing song, written by none other than Senator Orrin Hatch!
Peabo Bryson entertained us with his powerful voice.
Hanging out with my r-ball bud, Ted Im!
Jennifer Holliday gave a soul stirring performance, including her signature song, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going".
The man below has an incredible story. While serving jail time, he saw a 3ABN story about Wintley's dream to start up the US Dream Academy. Hearing about their mission so moved this man that he told his grandmother to liquidate some of his assets and will forever be known as the first large investor of the US Dream Academy with his $10,000 gift. This was a turning point in this man's life, and after getting out of prison, entered the ministry and is now a SDA pastor in Acton, CA! His name is Pastor Emiliano Richards, and it his being there at the gala was his first time to meet, in person, Wintley and the rest of the staff. Amazing how US Dream Academy started changing lives before it even was open!
At the end of the evening, a bunch of us were able to get a shot with Actor/Comedian Chris Tucker (Rush Hour trilogy).
Thursday, the group did more touring, visiting the White House, going to a Congressional lunch (and more networking with Rep. Jerry Lewis's wife), etc. I ended up oversleeping in the very comfy bed at the Park Hyatt, so I had packed and had lunch in Georgetown before catching a taxi back to the airport for our 3 PM flight home.
There will be more pictures from the others in the group, but at least you have a glimpse of our whirlwind trip to DC. Lots of excellent contacts were made with key people in government and within US Dream Academy. Our plan is to work with them to get a center set up in San Bernardino in conjunction with Operation Phoenix, a local inner-city program for kids of incarcerated parents. You can read about how XRtainment Zone is getting involved with Operation Phoenix here. We are planning on doing the same with US Dream Academies around the US. Who knows? Maybe one of these lives that is saved may turn out to be the next Dr. Carson or President of the USA?