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Child Abuse Prevention

Building Brighter Futures

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Nithin Jilla and Beau Allen Patrick Connell

Sometimes a cause makes us rethink what it means to give back.  At the Child Abuse Prevention Center’s A Brilliant Night for Bright Futures gala, 310 guests gathered at the St. Regis Monarch Beach to consider questions such as, “What really happens to a child behind closed doors?”

As befitting a major gala, there was a three-course meal, live auction and eventful entertainment. Beforehand, guests bid on swanky silent auction items like a diamond bracelet valued at $15,500.

Chairperson Athena Wong started by thanking event co-chairs Lora Encinas and Beth Jaeger. Executive Director Scott Trotter followed, offering a heartfelt thanks to the center’s workers: “The people who bring families from very arborous situations to very stable ones are our staff and volunteers.”

Champion of Children honorees Bill Barrington, Nithin Jilla and Mark Thompson were recognized for their dedication to the cause. “I’ve been doing it for 30 years,” Barrington said. “I’m not going to stop.” Thompson, star of the “Mark in the Morning” radio show, emceed the evening with all the pizazz of a seasoned radio host.

The light-hearted energy of compassionate donors didn’t mask the serious undertone of the event: Entertainer Bobby Collins’ ill-conceived stand-up comedy routine was cut short in favor of Vanessa Dixon’s tear-filled testimony about a 10-year-old rape victim, whom she had the privilege to mentor.

The gala netted more than $150,000, to further the center’s mission of ending child abuse in Orange County.


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