On Saturday, June 3, Loews Hotel in Hollywood hosted the inaugural Global Gift Gala. Thanks to inClusion ClubHouse founders Pooch Hall ("Ray Donovan") and his wife Linda, along with Global Gift Foundation USA, the entire day was packed with two star-studded events; both benefiting families of children, teens and young adults with special needs.
The day began with the annual Special Needs Family Prom and concluded with the first-ever black tie affair. The evening’s event came complete with a red carpet, champagne reception, three-course dinner, live auction, awards ceremony and some incredible performances featuring entertainers from around the world. The guest list included Pooch’s “Ray Donovan” co-stars Dash Mihok and Jon Voight, the fabulous Justina Machado, Holly Robinson Peete, actor/singer/ host Jaime Camil, as well as many others.
Pooch and Linda shared with AXS how great it felt to have everything come together the way that it did. Their daughter, Djanai, was born with cerebral palsy and they first started the non-profit Djanai's Angels back in 2013 in order to help raise awareness. “This year was amazing,” Linda said. “The Global Gift Foundation has been such a tremendous help. I’m just in awe of everything that keeps happening and I’m so grateful we all get to join forces for the greater good.”
The purpose of the evening was to help raise money for inClusion ClubHouse’s summer camp, which provides seasonal services for special needs children such as arts and crafts, music, dance, adaptive physical education and swimming.
Musical artists, SOLERO, say that this is a cause close to their heart. Jean and Jonathan are originally from Puerto Rico and have a brother with special needs. The duo was one of the night’s performers and told AXS that they were honored to be there to give back.
That seemed to be the sentiment of the evening as Argentinian siblings Martin and Facundo, otherwise known as the Lombard Twins, were there to perform as well. The dancing twins are world-renowned artists whose free expression type of dance is based on emotional content rather than a specific style. The two love to create, they told AXS; “We want the world to be inspired and to encourage people to believe in themselves.”
Miami-born, Brazilian/American actress and singer Victoria Vida is a dynamic presence with a similar vision. She wrote and recorded the song "Shining Star," which was her way of encouraging people to always believe in their inner shining star. The singer told AXS that she first created the anti-bullying message as a way to reach out to people when they felt alone. “Music is such a powerful tool,” Victoria explained. “You can be having the worst day ever and then turn the radio on and feel like Superwoman. Unfortunately, sometimes we block that out because of other people or negative thoughts and we forget to notice the amazing person we are.”
The incredible Robin Antin, founder of the Pussycat Dolls, was also there to lend support and to remind people just how important it is to bring your “inner doll” out. The world-class choreographer recently opened a brand-new dance studio right here in the heart of Los Angeles on Melrose. Her Playground LA partner, Kenny Wormald, whom you may have seen starring in 2011’s “Footloose” or dancing alongside Justin Timberlake, is just one of the many dancers/choreographers involved that make this team so great. “I go into the studio and it’s like a show every day,” Robin told AXS.
Robin is about to begin teaching the first-ever Pussycat Dolls class, so be sure to check out Playground LA for details. You can see the wonderful Pooch Hall return to your television for season five of “Ray Donovan,” starting on Aug. 6. You can also catch him in “A Dog's Purpose” and starring as the great Muhammad Ali in “Chuck" alongside his Showtime co-star Liev Schreiber.
For more with your favorite artists, keep it right here on AXS.