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  • Writer's pictureLaCora Stephens


Updated: Nov 7, 2020

It was a night to remember as SPECIAL NEEDS NETWORK (SNN) founder Areva Martin, Esq. and board members of the non-profit feted 300 invitation-only guests at a private estate over the weekend at the organization’s 14th Annual Evening Under the Stars Gala fundraiser. Our host, LaCora Stephens, got full coverage of the red carpet for all of our viewers of The YES! Show. Click on video below to watch!

Kym Whitley, Sherri Shepherd and SNN Founder Areva Martin
“A dream come true many years in the making.”

Making this year extra special was the unveiling of SNN’s plans to open in Fall 2020 California’s first-ever clinic for children living with autism and other developmental challenges. After raising millions of dollars in Southern California with the support of presenting sponsors like this year’s Blue Cross California Promise Health Plan, Martin called The Child and Family Well Being Center “a dream come true many years in the making.” The clinic will be located at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles.

Hosted by TV personality Sherri Shepherd, the event was held on the property of SNN board member and fellow comedienne Kym Whitley. With irreverence, both mothers shared their personal journeys of raising children with special needs while encouraging others to stay the course. Guests included LA County Supervisor the Honorable Mark Ridley Thomas, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway, TV personality Shaun Robinson, (State Senator Steve Bradford and 9th District City Councilman Curren Price, veteran comedian Garrett Morris, Caroline Rhea, Grammy-nominated recording artist MAJOR, Kiki Shepherd, Denise Nichols, and award recipients Judge Greg Mathis and his wife Linda, Dr. Randy W. Hawkins, and actress and disability rights activist Lauren “Lolo” Spencer.

SNN Honoree Judge Greg Mathis and wife Linda

“When Marty was diagnosed with autism, there were no substantive services available so I had to create them,” shared the Harvard Law educated Martin, a civil rights attorney whose lobbying and advocacy efforts have resulted in meaningful legislation for children living with special needs. “I’m so glad families are benefiting from SNN and can’t wait until our clinic opens next year.

SNN Honoree Disability Activist Lolo Spencer and SNN Board Member Bonnie Berry LaMon

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