The 2nd annual SOS Children's Village BC - International Foster Awards Gala recognizes leadership and success in foster care.
It celebrates inspiring former foster children who have triumphed over adversity.
It raises money to help current foster children in dire need and fight for a better model of care in BC.
The gala is a magical and inspiring evening at the spectacular Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, featuring a delicious plated three course dinner and dessert, with fine table wine and more drinks by donation at the bar.
The Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel is one of downtown's premier hotels, featuring stylish guest rooms, world-class food, and world-class service. At the top of the grand staircase is the elegant Pinnacle Ballroom, newly renovated as of April 2018. Beautiful Coal Harbour is in short walking distance and a there are splendid coastal mountain and city views from inside the hotel.
With 250 guests attending, the evening features live entertainment, rubbing shoulders with celebrities, exciting live and silent auctions, a trip raffle, a 50/50 draw, and a little surprise from SOS Villages around the world – a perfect way to kick off the holiday season in style, and for a great cause.
The most rewarding part of the evening is that net proceeds go directly to SOS Children's Village BC's programs and homes for local foster children, and for youth who have aged out of care at 19 years old and are struggling with homelessness.
THE AWARD-WINNING KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Antwone Fisher is an award-winning film and literary writer. Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but was subsequently moved and suffered twelve years of abuse at the hands of his new foster family.
Unable to locate a new placement for him, at age 14, Antwone was sent to a reform school in western Pennsylvania were he remained until he graduated high school at 17. Emancipated from foster care, he found himself in the world alone and homeless, living on the streets of Cleveland.
Antwone set on a course of healing when he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served his country for eleven years. After his honorable discharge from the military, Antwone became a Federal Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and, after three years of service, he took a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment working as a Security Officer. It was at Sony Pictures that Antwone was referred to a free screenwriting course.
Antwone has worked in Hollywood for 20 years as a writer and producer, with an impressive fourteen writing projects or assignments with the major studios. Among those projects is the feature classic, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, written by Antwone and based on his own life. The film garnered numerous nominations and awards. Antwone received the renowned Humanitas Prize, the Screenwriter of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners, and was listed in Variety's "Fifty People to Watch." Antwone was also named among Fade In Magazine's "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" in 2005. On May 10, 2003 Antwone received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Cleveland State University. On April 23, 2013 Antwone testified before the Senate Finance committee. The hearing was entitled: The Antwone Fisher Story as a Case Study for Child Welfare.
Antwone’s first book, Finding Fish: A Memoir, about his inspiring story, became a New York Times best seller. His collection of poetry, Who Will Cry For The Little Boy?, a national best seller, creatively disclosed the road from his tumultuous childhood to the man he is today. Antwone’s poetry is featured in Nikki Giovanni's book for children, Hip Hop Speaks to Children. His third book, A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie And Other Lessons For Succeeding In Life, won the award for Outstanding Literary Work - Instructional from the 2011 NAACP Awards and is in its third printing.
Antwone continues as a prolific writer with his stage project, Antwone Fisher: A Play. His most recent screenwriting project is Training Day 2. Antwone made his film directing debut with the award-winning short film, My Summer Friend, and produced, wrote, and directed the 2013 documentary, This Life of Mine. Antwone teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, the country's largest continuing education writing program.
About how far he has come, Antwone states, "I think back on a childhood full of longing for belonging, and see my life now as what I have created out of my dreams. An image comes to mind of Mrs. Brown at the orphanage in Cleveland, me sitting at her side, telling her, ‘You'll read about me someday.’ I was definitely dreaming then. With no evidence of that ever being possible, I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous, but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong, so I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself... as somebody."