Los Angeles community and business leaders gathered at Hotel Bel-Air on June 6 for the ninth annual Triumph For Teens Awards Gala of Phoenix Houses of California. The event raised funds to support Phoenix House’s teen residential treatment centers, family therapy, and prevention programs, and featured special tributes to this year’s honorees—Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and Sergeant Larry Martinez of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
“Thanks to the support of our business community and important work of exceptional individuals like Dr. Sophy and Sergeant Martinez, Phoenix House is able to provide vital resources for teens recovering from addiction and reach more teens in need,” said Howard Meitiner, CEO of Phoenix House Foundation and Regional Director of Phoenix Houses of California. “We want to safeguard our youth and change their lives in lasting ways, just like those teens in recovery who we celebrate tonight.”
Kicking off the awards program was Wendy Burch, Emmy award-winning reporter and co-anchor of the KTLA Morning News, who presented the 2012 Phoenix Rising Award to Dr. Charles Sophy in recognition of his work as medical director of the DCFS, a long-time and important partner of Phoenix House. As an author and guest on many television and radio shows, Dr. Sophy has also been a public voice for the real life struggles teens face and the issue of substance abuse. He has a life-long commitment to protecting at-risk and disadvantaged youth and to restoring families.
Sergeant Herrold Egger presented the 2012 Public Service Award to Sergeant Larry Martinez for his groundbreaking work and life changing effect on troubled youth in our community. Sergeant Martinez is a long time friend to Phoenix House who is committed to preventing youth violence and educating youth, families, and law enforcement about better communication and mutual understanding.
“The war on drugs has cost the U.S. over a trillion dollars. In California alone, we spend seventy percent more on prisons than on state universities and colleges, which equates to $45,000 a year per prisoner versus under $9,000 for a student,” explained Timothy J. Noonan, chairman of the board of Phoenix Houses of California. “These statistics point to one important truth: we must focus on treatment and prevention. By supporting organizations like Phoenix House, we can hopefully curtail the enormous toll of drug addiction on our society and each human life it touches.”
Television host and celebrity fashion stylist, Marcellas Reynolds hosted the evening’s program, which featured a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, and a special performance by recording artist Lauren Mayhew.
Timothy J. Noonan of Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC and Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation were underwriters of the event. Major sponsors included Selim Zilkha & Mary Hayley as “Benefactors,” and Scott Dunham, Neil Kadisha, Lilly and Bruce Karatz, Suzanne & Michael Kraus, Nicholas Nikolov & Valeria Rico-Nikolov, Daniel Rothenberg, and Chris Weitz as “Patrons.”
Phoenix House’s annual Triumph for Teens Awards Gala celebrates the victories of young people over substance abuse. It is an evening of recognition for adolescents who have learned the lessons of honesty, responsibility, and concern for others on their road to recovery.
Previous honorees have included Zev Yaroslavsky, LA County Supervisor, 3rd District, Los Angeles Police Department Chief William J. Bratton, Los Angeles Juvenile Court Judge Michael Nash, Phoenix House Founder Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D., Timothy Noonan, president and CEO of Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC, Lynn Pike, COO of CapitalOne, Grammy-nominated, 2007 BMI pop songwriter of the year, Kara DioGuardi, television anchor, legal analyst, trial attorney, and best-selling author Rikki Klieman, actress and advocate Lorna Luft, Paramount Pictures’ Freedom Writers, directors Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) and Betty Thomas (28 Days) as well as seven outstanding television shows: Fox’s Bones, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, The Middle, and George Lopez, Fox’s House, CBS’s Joan of Arcadia, the WB series 7th Heaven, and Lifetime Television’s The Division.
For more information, contact Linda O’Hanlon at Straightline Communications, 818-386-1916.