Friday, November 17, 2017

Unlikely Heroes Enlists Star Power To Help End Child Trafficking

Recognizing Heroes Gala 2017Photos c/o Rex Curry/AP Images for Unlikely Heroes

On Saturday, November 4, 2017 Unlikely Heroes, a non-profit organization that rescues and restores child victims of slavery worldwide, hosted their 5th Annual Recognizing Heroes Charity Benefit presented by RE:defined Coffee House and sponsored by COOLA Suncare at the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas. Local star power included Chef Tiffany Derry, Kellie Rasberry and Allen Evans, Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Real Housewives LeeAnne Locken and D'Andra Simmons. Critically acclaimed comedian Anjelah Johnson and Savannah Chrisley from “Chrisley Knows Best” kicked off the night with a fun rendition of “finish that tune” with singer-songwriter, Shane Stevens. Guests were randomly selected to complete the song lyrics, winning exclusive prizes. Actress Francia Raisa played along, cheering on the crowd singing and dancing with pal and second mother, Mandy Teefey, to Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time.” Hosts Savannah and Anjelah introduced event chairs, Kenyon and Katie Coleman. “Welcome to the Family” said Kenyon and Katie Coleman as they described the established bond the family has created with the girls, Unlikely Heroes and its founder and CEO Erica Greve. “Erica, thank you for the sacrifice you have made and putting others before yourself, you’re making a difference in the world.” As she was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation, Greve thanked the crowd for their hospitable support toward the charity benefit and being home for Goldie’s house, their U.S restoration home.

Greve welcomed the first recipient of their 2017 Hero Awards, Francia Raisa, for her tireless work in advancing global human rights and her outstanding efforts to stop human trafficking. Raisa was welcomed to the stage with a roar of emotion and applause as she thanked Greve for the kind words and being able to be part of such an organization. Next to the stage, keynote speaker, Dallas native and “13 Reasons Why” producer, Mandy Teefey. Teefey congratulated Raisa on her commitment to the organization and said “I would especially like to thank you for rescuing without a second thought.” She further explained her gratitude for Greve and the organization and their relentless work that does not go unnoticed. Additional recipients included Byron Fassett (Dallas Police Sergeant), Toni McKinley (Director of Therapy, The Refuge DMST), and Shamere McKenzie (CEO of Sun Gate Foundation). Guests enjoyed an unforgettable night featuring a VIP cocktail reception, silent auction, and live musical performances by Grammy-nominated artist, Vanessa Carlton, Cassadee Pope (winner of “The Voice,” Season 3) and Johnny Manuel (“America’s Got Talent,” Season 12 alum). The charitable foundation ended the night raising over $600K to open the very first licensed home for trafficked boys in Tijuana, Mexico.