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Photography by Carla Rhea
It was beautiful, warm evening last Thursday for the Festival of Children Foundation’s Opening Night Party under the stars at South Coast Plaza’s Garden Terrace. The event was held in conjunction with National Child Awareness Month which takes place through the entire month of September.
The crowd, which topped more than 420 guests, was filled with Newport Beach and Orange County political dignitaries, business and community leaders, and representatives from over 75 different children’s charities, all member organizations of Festival of Children Foundation.
Guests enjoyed an impressive sumptuous summer spread and live musical entertainment throughout the evening which was highlighted by the presentation of the Foundation’s annual FRED Award (For Really Extraordinary “Do”ers).
The award was given to Yash Gupta, a 15 year old high school junior from Irvine, for the outstanding work he has through his nonprofit, Sight Learning, which provides eyewear to those who can’t afford it otherwise.
Yash was unable to accept the award in person, as he was in India organizing an eye exam clinic, but sent an acceptance email which was read by Sandy Segerstrom Daniels. He wrote, “I would like to thank the Festival of Children Foundation for honoring me with the FRED Award. I am extremely humbled and honored. Giving back is extremely fulfilling. Seeing the joy and emotion of the people you are helping is truly inspiring, and keeps me motivated to continue to help as many people as I can.”
The opening night party kicks off the month-long Festival of Children®, a community-wide charity outreach event, held in conjunction with National Child Awareness Month, every weekend in September at South Coast Plaza.
Festival of Children Foundation was instrumental in getting September 2012 recognized as National Child Awareness Month (NCAM) for the 5th consecutive year in Washington, D.C. NCAM is meant to raise awareness for all children’s charities nationwide.