Our 2022 gala Shine Bright was held on May 19th, 2022, at Banc of California Stadium, where we dined, danced and celebrated the impact of our work. It was an exquisite and inspiring evening of fundraising and celebration under the stars.
The evening dazzled all our guests as we honored our shining stars Chris Dusseault, Christine Simmons and Vanessa Diaz Lark. The sparkly, longtime supporter and host of Good Day LA, Michaela Pereira was again our entertaining host.
The cocktail reception began at 5:30pm followed by dinner and awards at 7:00pm and entertainment.
May 19, 2022
Banc of California Stadium
3939 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037
$1,000 Per Ticket
Sponsorship Opportunities Available
Children’s Champion Award
Chris served as the Chair of the LA’s BEST Board of Directors from 2014 to February, 2022, and was a member of the Board since 2004. His thoughtful leadership and responsible management guided the organization and we are incredibly grateful for his dedication and service. Chris Dusseault is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Chris is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer whose practice focuses on high-stakes business litigation. Chris has represented clients and tried cases throughout the country, and has particular experience in antitrust and the medical device industry. Chris also helped lead the trial team that challenged and overturned California’s prohibition of same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, in Hollingsworth v. Perry. Chris was raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and attended Yale University and Duke Law School. Chris lives in Pasadena with his wife of more than 25 years, Sarah Dusseault, and their two sons, Luke and Cale.
LA’s BEST changes lives. It changes the lives of the thousands of kids who have a safe place to learn, play and grow every day after school. It changes the lives of the families who can go about their jobs and daily lives with the knowing that their kids are safe, happy and thriving. It changes the lives of the people in the communities we serve, making those communities safer and developing a new generation of confident, inquisitive young people who are educated, engaged, and know the value of giving back. And it changes the lives of those of us who are fortunate enough to work with and support LA’s BEST to make sure that we preserve and advance an afterschool program that is a model for the nation and one of the crown jewels of our great city. ~Chris
Community Leadership Award
We are grateful to Christine Simmons for her dedication to making Los Angeles an equitable city. She has volunteered with LA’s BEST students and our partnership with Christine began when she served as the President & Chief Operations Officer of the three-time WNBA Champion Los Angeles Sparks. Christine helped facilitate multiple opportunities for LA Sparks players to volunteer and inspire students. Born and raised in Southern California, Christine Simmons is a true California girl. Christine was named to the position of Chief Operating Officer at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2019. The first Woman and Black person to hold the position. Christine also leads the first-ever, Office of Representation, Inclusion, and Equity. She is a proud UCLA graduate and speaks nationally on topics of Business, Strategy, Leadership, Inclusion, and Women’s Empowerment. Her proudest achievement is being mom to her son, Christian.
When Christine visited our site she shared her hope and words of wisdom for our students.
I stand here and hope that I can show other little girls and little boys, wherever they come from, that anything truly is possible. That LA is a place for them. From this Cali girl, to them, our children are wonderful and need the opportunity to follow their dreams and know that people want them to succeed. ~Christine
VANESSA DIAZ LARK
Outstanding Alumni Award
Vanessa Diaz Lark grew up in East Los Angeles and attended LA’s BEST at Utah Street Elementary School. Her involvement with LA’s BEST includes virtually volunteering with our students, raising awareness and funds through her community and joining our advocacy efforts. Vanessa is an inspiration to our students and community as she is a change-maker, passionate about advancing a diversity and inclusion agenda to accelerate leadership representation for women and people of color. Currently, she is the Area Sales Manager at PepsiCo in Northern California.
I can vividly recall school lockdowns and active shooter scenarios that played out from time to time, and LA’s BEST provided a safe space for so many students. It allowed us to explore, to learn about ourselves. LA’s BEST felt like an extension to our family. I have three brothers. Both of our parents worked very hard to support us. Financially things were pretty tight. Extracurricular activities were only possible because of LA’s BEST. It provided essentially a support structure that was very much needed. ~Vanessa
Adventist Health White Memorial
Gonzalez Strategic Affairs
The Los Angeles Rams
SHINE BRIGHT HOST COMMITTEE