Special Needs Network’s 17th Annual Evening Under the Stars goes beyond the glamor

Los Angeles, CA – When it comes to making a difference, the Special Needs Network knows how to put their best foot forward, or should we say, their best sneaker! The 17th Annual Evening Under the Stars | Sneaker Ball brought together a diverse and influential group of individuals to celebrate, give back, and make a lasting impact.

The event, held on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at The Beehive in South Los Angeles, was a unique blend of philanthropy and entertainment. Attendees were encouraged to lace up their sneakers, put on their flyest gear, and join the fun. Areva Martin, President and CEO of the Special Needs Network, described it as “a party with a purpose,” and the purpose was clear – celebrating the launch of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (C.A.D.D.) on the MLK campus, a project that promises to transform the lives of countless children and families in Los Angeles.

Areva spoke about the importance of the event, highlighting the tremendous support from the community, generous donors, and influential individuals that made the C.A.D.D. project possible. The goal of the Special Needs Network is to provide support and opportunities for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, especially in underserved communities. Areva emphasized, “Every child deserves the best opportunities and support, regardless of their background or circumstances.”

The Evening Under the Stars | Sneaker Ball was not your typical gala. The event featured immersive experiences, a heartwarming award show, live music, a delicious dinner, and plenty of dancing. Kym Whitley, an award-winning actor, comedian, and SNN board member, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies, adding a touch of humor and charm to the evening. The event also had a special guest appearance from award-winning rapper, actress, and activist Yolanda “Yo-Yo” Whitaker.

The evening was also a platform to honor individuals who have made a significant impact in their respective fields and in the community. Honorees included Hon. Issac G. Bryan, Assembly Majority Leader, 55th District; Hon. Lindsey P. Horvath, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District; Dr. David Carlisle, President of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; and Mia & Larry Humphreys, Founders of Special Needz Coffee.

Areva Martin, serving as one of the event co-chairs alongside Bonnie Berry LaMon, expressed her enthusiasm for the event, saying, “I’m thrilled to be a part of this evening that unites us all for a great cause. It’s a night where we can come together as a community, make a difference, and have a fantastic time doing it.”

The new venue was also a hit. Nestled in the heart of the historic Goodyear Tract, The Beehive stands as a testament to empowerment and inclusivity. This Black-owned venue was conceived with a mission: to foster growth opportunities for small businesses and to craft a welcoming haven for creators, innovators, and leaders. Since its inception in 2019, The Beehive has made a name for itself, celebrated not only for its captivating space and vibrant ambiance but also for its dedication to supporting the community, drawing the admiration of both local residents and celebrities alike.

The Special Needs Network’s 17th Annual Evening Under the Stars | Sneaker Ball proved to be a memorable night of celebration, philanthropy, and unity. The event not only raised essential funds for the C.A.D.D. project but also increased awareness about the Special Needs Network’s mission to create a brighter future for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. As Areva Martin aptly put it, “It’s going to be an unforgettable night!”

The Special Needs Network looks forward to more such events, uniting communities to support children in need and making the world a better place, one step at a time.