Special Needs Network, Inc.

12th Annual Evening Under the Stars Recap

Another Successful Gala for Special Needs Network (Los Angeles) California African American Museum was the setting for Special Needs Network’s (SNN) 12th Annual Evening Under Stars Gala: Celebrating Golden Heroes.More than 500 corporate executives, entertainers, community leaders and activists turned out last Saturday night for the 12thAnnual Evening Under the Stars gala at the African American Museum in Los Angeles.

The event was hosted by NBC4 reporter and anchor Beverly White, and featured a star-studded lineup that included comedian Kym Whitley, actors Glynn Turman, Anna Maria Horsford and Tammy Townsend, and legendary singing duo Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.The gala event raised more than three hundred thousand dollars for the Special Needs Autism Clinic, which is in the heart of Compton and serves thousands of special needs families annually. The clinic offers needy families Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs, education and therapy services—all for free or little costs.

In a moving speech, Special Needs Network founder and president Areva Martin—whose third child, Marty, was diagnosed with autism at an early age—told the audience “she never looked to be an autism advocate, autism advocacy found her.” She then asked people in the audience to stand if they had in some way been impacted by autism. More than half the room rose to its feet. That result is hardly surprising, Martin says, given that autism is the fastest growing childhood disability in the United States, a disorder that impacts one in 64 children.

The evening reached a high point when Grammy award winning artist Macy Gray performed an electrifying and stirring 45-minute soulful set. The singer capped her performance by donating a $10,000 check to the Special Needs Network. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented the SNN Lifetime Achievement Award to Drs. Ruth and Ludlow Creary, in honor of their more than 100 years of service to Los Angeles County. The Crearys expressed their gratitude during an emotional moment in which they talked about their commitment to God and community. After getting a standing ovation, they presented a $25,000 check to SNN to support its autism and health clinic.


Thank you for joining us and for being a part of our journey. By doing so, collectively, we are changing the trajectory of thousands of kids’ lives.


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Photography by Leroy Hamilton / Diamond Dust



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Event Sponsors

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Event Press Release!

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Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas

Dwayne and Naomi Cox

The Olson Company

Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors


IBEW Local 18

Behavioral Autism Therapies

SEIU Local 721

Martin and Martin LLP

B2L Entertainment



L.A. Care

U.S. Bank

SEIU Local 99

S.M.A.R.T. International

S.M.A.R.T. Local 105


St. John’s Well Child and Family Center

Charles Drew University

California Fire Foundation

Alvin Pittman Law Firm

Enterprise Rent-a-Car


Real Men Cook Foundation



Kaiser West LA


Los Angeles World International Airport

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