Extraordinary Lives Foundation (ELF) does fantastic work helping reach children who are at a high risk for mental health issues. Founder Mara James created a character named Piggie Bear and wrote a book entitled “The Power of Piggie Bear” which she believes will help children learn how to express themselves and deal with these issues. The book contains some great messages for kids and empowers them to be themselves and not worry about what others think about them.
On February 27, 2019, ELF held a comedy fundraiser at the Improv in Irvine, California. A terrific turnout of almost 300 people filled the facility and provided a ton of energy as the night progressed. There was plenty of entertainment in addition to a strong lineup of comedians which featured:
- Frances Dilorinzo
- Sam Fedele
- Mary Kennedy
- Eric Deskin
- Justine Marino
Our favorites were Justine and Frances and the strong presence that they showed up on the stage. They kept the audience engaged and strong laughter echoed throughout the theater.
Before the comedians, the audience was treated to some tremendous dancing from the youth dance troops as kids performed in three different age ranges. The excitement on their faces and the response from the crowd demonstrated the importance of kids having a productive way to use their time.
Hosted by radio personality Joe Grande the audience had plenty of opportunity to take in the wonderful silent auction items, as well as pledge their support by sponsoring bundles of Piggie Bears, making the opportunity available at all financial levels.
Among the auction items were some beautifully hand-crafted jewelry by Milari owner Lawrence Hart who placed special spotlights on his items.
This event was a lead-in to the month of May when ELF will hold events at multiple Major League and minor league baseball stadium in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. The calendar of May events is:
- May 8, 2019-San Diego Padres
- May 15, 2019-San Francisco Giants
- May 19, 2019-Anaheim Angels
- May 24, 2019–Sacramento
- May 26, 2019-Oakland A’s
- May 30, 2019-Los Angeles Dodgers
Mara James gave a terrific summary of ELF and outlined the enormous need for more mental health services in this country. The statistics are truly frightening. The number of people who experience mental health issues over the course of their lifetime is truly staggering. Even worse, society still has antiquated notions about mental health and too frequently discriminate or dismiss those suffering from mental illness. When you examine the pressure in our society today, you realize that it exists at all levels, not only in high level professional sports, but in youth sports, schools, families and most work environments. Getting an early start in training kids how to handle the stress that comes into their lives, ELF is preparing our next generations for the sometimes overwhelming issues that exist.
We hope that you will take the time to look at ELF’s website and consider supporting ELF and using the Power of Piggie Bear to improve your community.
Please visit their website at www.EL.Foundation