“All who enter here will find love,” it said on a sign in the Childhelp group home Stephanie Canada was moving into. She was 15, and had lost her mom to drugs and her dad to cancer. She’d been in five foster homes.
The engaging young girl’s speech served as a powerful reminder to the crowd gathered at the O.C. Fairgrounds exactly why they were at the O.C. chapter of Childhelp’s Drive the Dream Gala: to help kids like Stephanie.
The theme for the evening was Cowboys, Cars and Stars, and most dressed the part. Chaired by Patti and Jim Edwards and Diana and Chris Miner, the event raised a net of $200,000. The night was sponsored by Barrett-Jackson, the classic car auction company that filled the fairgrounds recently, and featured entertainment by Casey James, an “American Idol” finalist, and the country trio Stealing Angels.
Jacquie and Michael Casey were honored with the Heart of Compassion Award and Michelle Lund received the group’s Humanitarian Award on behalf of the Sharon D. Lund Foundation. The Caseys are active board members for the O.C. chapter; Michael is CFO of Starbucks. Lund is Walt Disney’s granddaughter. The Disneys have supported Childhelp since the ‘60s.
And what of young Stephanie? After entering the Childhelp home her GPA went from 1.5 to 4.0, and Diana Miner is helping her with college.
“Every prayer I asked for came true,” the 17-year-old said. “Childhelp has been a blessing for me.”