Rachel LeadholdClient News, Lifestyle Feature

October 11th, 2023 (Irvine, Calif.)– This weekend, Tilly’s Life Center (TLC) raised more than nearly $500,000 for its mental health initiatives to directly benefit teens at its 9th Annual “I Am Giving” Gala hosted at the [AV] in Irvine, CA. With close to 300 guests in attendance, the Southern California community escaped into an enchanted garden where they enjoyed tasty food, flowing refreshments and charming music all while raising funds for youth empowerment. The gala’s online auction ends today, October 11th, and is predicted to bring the total amount raised to over $500,000. 

TLC CEO Colleen Versteeg with Tillys CEO Ed Thomas and TLC Founder/Tillys Co-Founder Tilly Levine

“It’s beautiful to see our ‘I Am Giving’ Gala grow and flourish each year,” said founder of Tilly’s Life Center, Tilly Levine. “We are honored to have held our ninth consecutive event for today’s youth and the ability to continue to provide them with a safe space and the resources they deserve for their emotional wellness.”

The night began with guests arriving in their best floral outfits as they walked into the gorgeous venue. Excitement and buzz were in the air as attendees traveled into the charming splendor of an enchanted garden and participated in an opportunity drawing for items such as MVMT watches or a Billabong surfboard, all while being fueled by scrumptious appetizers and cocktails. 

Gala goers then entered the beautiful ballroom where they enjoyed a fabulous three-course, family-style dinner as they connected and united for this important cause. TLC then commemorated the gala honorees. The “I Am Part of the Solution” award to Sunburst Youth Academy (SYA). The next recipients wereRick Nichols and Dr. Patricia Crane of Heal Your Life, who were given the “I Am Part of the Bigger Picture” award by Dr. Adrienne Matros, Vice Chair of TLC and Christine Carey, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. The final “I Am Making a Difference” award went to Tillys, Inc. presented by Colleen Versteeg, CEO of TLC. TLC would like to express its gratitude to the gala honorees for their continuous support and contributions towards teen mental health. 

Cadets of the Sunburst Youth Academy, one of the gala honorees

The night of wonder and magic continued as guests danced the night away to Liquid Blue Party Band and voices boomed as bids were placed during the live auction. Live auction items included exclusive shopping experiences at Tillys, suite tickets for the Lakers, a private dinner party with a premier chef and much more. 

The impact that TLC has on its student’s lives was felt throughout the night. Smiling faces filled the room as the teens were true guests of honor for the night. Featured TLC student speaker Cathy’s story was told through a stunning ballet piece expressing how TLC saved her life and filled her with positivity in the face of adversity. It was spectacular to see so many members of the community come together and benefit TLC’s mission and programs to equip teens with the tools and resources they need to lead meaningful and successful lives. 

TLC honored the Tillys team for their endless support and generosity towards the non-profit’s mission

Tilly’s Life Center would like to thank all the dedicated sponsors, individuals, supporters and volunteers who helped make this year’s gala a success. 

For more information on Tilly’s Life Center, please visit www.tillyslifecenter.org and stay connected by following @tillyslifecenter and searching these hashtags #TillysLifeCenter #TLC. 

About TLC

TLC teaches teens how to create a positive mindset that enables them to effectively cope with crises, adversity, and tough decisions. Through a transformational Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum and consistent application, teens in the program develop motivation and purpose while becoming more independent, proactive, and solution-oriented humans, the very competencies needed to successfully transition into a healthy, happy, and productive adulthood. To find out more, please visit www.tillyslifecenter.org.


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