Paul Williams, AEG, and the “Elementary” TV Series Honored at 11th Annual Triumph for Teens Gala

Friday, May 16th, 2014


Pouria Abbassi, Tracey Jackson, Paul Williams and Tim Noonan at the 11th Triumph for Teens

Phoenix House California’s SVP and Regional Director Pouria Abbassi, P.E., (left) and Chairman of the Board Timothy Noonan (right) with author Tracey Jackson and songwriter Paul Williams.

Phoenix House California, the state’s leading nonprofit substance abuse services organization, gathered Los Angeles entertainment and business leaders in Beverly Hills on April 28th for its eleventh annual Triumph For Teens Awards Gala. The event featured special tributes to this year’s honorees—the cast and producers of the CBS television series Elementary; Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Hall of Fame Award-winning songwriter Paul Williams; and AEG, a leading global sports, entertainment and facilities organization.

“The presence of so many friends and gracious supporters who care deeply about our youth was indeed a humbling experience,” said Pouria Abbassi, P.E., Senior Vice President & Regional Director of Phoenix House California. “The future of our state is unequivocally tied to the level of our care and compassion for those who need our help the most, especially our youth. This evening clearly demonstrated that there is much hope and promise for our great state.”

Daniel Roebuck, R.H. Wolfe and J.P. King at the 11th Triumph for Teens.

Actor Daniel Roebuck (center) presented the 2014 Phoenix Rising Award to (left) Robert Hewitt Wolfe and (right) Jeff Paul King, writers of the CBS drama series Elementary. (Photo: Michael Underwood/ABImages)

The 2014 Phoenix Rising Award was presented to CBS’ modern-day drama Elementary for being an outstanding television series of distinction that captures the struggles faced by those in Phoenix House’s care. Writers Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Jeff Paul King received the award on behalf of the show’s cast and producers. Actor Daniel Roebuck, who presented the award, noted that “few television series have incorporated the theme of addiction into its storyline and characters as effectively Elementary.”

Paul Williams was honored with the 2014 Achievement Award for his personal accomplishments and advocacy for treatment, which he regards as his number one passion. Tracey Jackson, co-author of Williams’ recent book, Gratitude and Trust: Recovery is Not Just for Addicts, presented the award to Williams after recounting stories about his generosity of time to help others in need. Williams chronicled his work in recovery in the acclaimed documentary, Paul Williams Still Alive, for which he wrote the title track. He considers his book the greatest opportunity of his lifetime to carry the message to the masses that “recovery works for all.”

Giselle Fernandez, managing director of Creative World Talent Management, presented the 2014 Public Service Award to Martha Saucedo, executive vice president of External Affairs for AEG, in tribute to the company’s solid commitment to enriching the lives of children and families in need. AEG’s focus on public service initiatives, community outreach, and volunteerism has resulted in more than $65 million in direct financial and in-kind support of charitable, community, and civic programs, with tens of millions more raised at affiliated venues and companies.

Actress/singer Lauren Mayhew performs "Rainbow Connection" by Paul Williams.

Actress/singer Lauren Mayhew performs “Rainbow Connection” by Paul Williams.

More than 250 people attended this year’s gala, which included a reception, dinner, a special musical performance by actress/singer Lauren Mayhew, and inspiring presentations about the life-changing impact of Phoenix House programs on teens in treatment. A video created by a graduate of Phoenix House San Diego, Sky Soleil, was played, disclosing his dark past and showing how Phoenix House helped him attain 20 years of sobriety. Now a prominent actor and screen writer, Sky Soleil stood at the podium, thanking his counselors and the parents who raised him in a clean, sober home after treatment. “It was a treatment center that elevated me out of my old life, not a cell. Yet, we continue to imprison thousands of non-violent drug-offenders each year, entirely ignoring the health issues associated with drug misuse and addiction. That’s why I wrote ‘The Elevator’ [currently in development]– the true story of how Phoenix House helped me get back on track.” Soleil has appeared in Rizzoli and Isles and 24, as well as directed and acted in his own YouTube hit, Homeless Man Under Pressure.

Two recent graduates from our treatment programs, one from Phoenix House Academy Los Angeles and the other from Orange County, delivered heartwarming speeches about their trials and tribulations they experienced on their way to recovery.  One of the graduates captured his experience, saying: “I am not defined by my past but rather by what I have overcome.” Seeing such young individuals stand before a large audience and tell their life story with so much courage and confidence left everyone in awe.

Giselle Fernandez, managing director of Creative World Talent Management, presented the 2014 Public Service Award to (right) Martha Saucedo, executive vice president of External Affairs for AEG.

Giselle Fernandez, managing director of Creative World Talent Management, presented the 2014 Public Service Award to (right) Martha Saucedo, executive vice president of External Affairs for AEG.

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. The event’s attendees were as spectacular as those on the stage.

The Leadership Sponsors for this event were Mary Hayley and Selim Zilkha. The Benefactors of the 11th Annual Gala were John W. Carson Foundation and Timothy J. Noonan, Lockton Insurance Brokers LLC. The event’s Patrons includes AEG, Barbara J. Eliades and Scott Duhnam, Michael Dwyer, Dora and Neil Kadisha, Lilly and Bruce Karatz, Valeria Rico-Nikolov and Nicholas Nikolov, Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, RR Donnelly, Missy Hargraves and Feff Ross, Daniel H. Rothenberg, Dorit and Glen Rotner, Grant A. Tinker, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., and Mercedes Martinez and Chris Weitz.  Every year, our event grows thanks to the generosity of our friends and supporters.  Over $350,000 was raised in 2014 to assist Phoenix House’s teen residential treatment centers, family therapy, and prevention programs.

Previous honorees have included Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky; Los Angeles Police Department Chief William J. Bratton; Los Angeles Juvenile Court Judge Michael Nash; Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS);

Sky Soleil and Dalal Bruchmann at the 11th Annual Triumph For Teens

Sky Soleil and Dalal Bruchmann at the 11th Annual Triumph For Teens

Sergeant Larry Martinez of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); Phoenix House Founder Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D.; Lynn Pike, COO of Capital One; Leigh Steinberg, sports agent and lawyer, Steinberg Sports &Entertainment; David E.I. Pyott, chairman of the board, president & CEO, Allergan, Inc.; 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; film directors Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) and Betty Thomas (28 Days); as well as Paramount Pictures’ Freedom Writers and seven outstanding television shows: Fox’s Bones, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, The Middle, and George Lopez, Fox’s House, CBS’ Joan of Arcadia, the WB series 7th Heaven, and Lifetime Television’s The Division.

For more information contact: Linda O’Hanlon:,   1 888 671 9392.

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