Nearly 400 guests and supporters joined us November 7 for the 12th annual Sharefest Voices of Hope Gala at the Torrance Marriott to celebrate a successful year of transformed communities and empowered lives. It was a memorable evening complete with entertaining emcees, talented youth musicians, a lively auction, and powerful stories of community impact. (Watch the gala video recap.)

Throughout the evening, guests heard from several amazing Sharefest Youth Development Academy students. Representing our Voices of Hope, these high school students shared about their community advocacy projects and the dreams they have to bring about change. (Watch the Voices of Hope video to see more of their stories.)

“It was wonderful to have so many of our youth involved in the gala this year,” said Sharefest Executive Director Chad Mayer. “They are the reason we are here, and they are the ones who will carry on this legacy of change.”

In addition, this year Sharefest introduced four new awards to recognize individuals and organizations making significant efforts to instill change and inspire others toward positive growth. The award recipients included Supervisor Don Knabe, the 2015 Honorary Gala Chair, whose work to bring individuals and organizations together to stop human trafficking is helping save lives.

Youth Hero Award recipient Nnamdi Asomugha was recognized for his work to motivate at-risk youth to pursue their dreams and go to college through the Asomugha College Tour for Scholars (ACTS). Several ACTS students attended the gala and shared with the audience where they are currently attending college. “I think that anytime you dedicate your life to serving others, you can’t fail. And that’s what we’re doing to continue to do,” said Asomugha. (Watch a video of Asomugha’s impact featuring our friends at the NFL Network.)

Joyce Sharman, wife of the late Bill Sharman, received the Legacy Award for her contagious kindness and generosity as she helps athletes and local leaders discover joy in bringing encouragement and empowerment to those facing challenging health, economic, and social conditions. “I love what Sharefest does, how they make a difference in the community. How they show young people they can make a difference in the world,” said Sharman. She went on to encourage the audience, “You don’t have to be famous and you don’t have to be rich to make a difference in someone’s life.” (Watch this powerful video of Sharman’s legacy hosted by sportscaster John Ireland.)

The Media Award went to Univision 34 Los Angeles for empowering the Hispanic community and equipping Latino families with resources focused on education, health, prosperity, and participation to help overcome the critical issues they face.

Each of these award recipients not only lead change, but also inspire change as they model to local youth and those around them what it means to serve and give back. For these reasons and so many more, Sharefest was proud to recognize each recipient.

This evening of community celebration would not have been possible without the support of Sharefest’s dedicated sponsors, including Supervisor Don Knabe, Wells Fargo, Cornerstone Construction Group, Toyota, and so many more. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and all in attendance, more than $200,000 was raised to support Sharefest programs.

“We are so grateful for the generous encouragement we received from those who attended this special night,” said Mayer. “It’s been an incredible year of impact and growth, and we look forward to extending our impact even further in the year to come.”

Watch a video recap of the Gala.