Derek Hough, Jenna Dewan, Allison Holker and Weslie Boss at the NAMI West LA Mental Health Gala; photos by Vivien Killilea/ Getty Images
Live orchestra music greeted guests and notables including Derek Hough, Jenna Dewan, Kyle Richards, Terrence Howard, Lindsay Price, Curtis Stone, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Evan Ross as they ascended the steps of the Pacific Design Center on Friday, May 12 for the National Alliance of Mental Illness Westside Los Angeles (NAMI WLA) Annual Mental Health Gala.
After an elaborate cocktail hour with Champagne, passed hors d'oeuvres and a sushi bar, the crowd of philanthropists, entrepreneurs and entertainment figures enjoyed a three-course meal while celebrating the NAMI advocates and programs eradicating the stigma of mental illness and generating hope across the West L.A. community.
Lindsay Price, Jenna Dewan and Emmanuelle Chriqui
Hough and Dewan presented the Heart of a Champion Award to Allison Holker—widow of dancer and television personality Stephen "tWitch" Boss, who died by suicide on Dec. 13, 2022. "The huge lesson he taught us was to lead with love," said Dewan, who noted how deceiving it can be when someone looks okay on the outside but is silently struggling.
Jenna Dewan and Derek Hough
Holker, a fellow dancer, created the Move with Kindness Foundation to encourage young community members to take care of both their mental and physical health through movement and dance. "We promise to continue to move for love and joy forever and always, and to continue to inspire and lead and teach and to grow," said Holker from the podium. "And we are so excited about this partnership to continue the Hearts and Minds program, and we're excited to team up with someone that's already doing so much, and inspiring and teaching so many young children and adults how to get help with their mental health. I want to say a special thank you to my friends for just being the most incredible people and supporting us during this special time—and to all of you for opening your arms and welcoming us here, and making us feel so safe." She turned to her daughter, Weslie Boss. "And Weslie, I'm so proud of you, and I love you."
Allison Holker and daughter Weslie
Allison Holker accepting the award
Lanetta Wahlgren of the Lanetta Wahlgren Fund UCLA Internship received the Heart of Advocacy Award, and Pure Edge, Inc. received the Heart of Innovation Award at the event emceed by spirited host Adam Havener and with a cameo by Richards, and music from DJ Mr.Best and DJ Ruckus.
Kyle Richards and Adam Havener
Co-chairs Adaline Fagen and Dorit Haroni organized the benefit with help from NAMI WLA Executive Director Erin Raftery Ryan; Clinical Mental Health Advocate Sharon Dunas; Board of Directors Sheila Carter, Sam Griffel, Sarah Haufrect, Lauren Reynaldo, Dr. Karen Wilson and Wahlgren; and Advisory Council Members Juan Acosta, Joli and Andrew Altshule, Dr. Xavier Amador, Karena Dawn, Sarah and Andrew Ellenbogen, Charlotte and Gary Gilbert, Adir Haroni, Sharon Kashfian, Maryam and Josh Lieberman, Jessica Meisels, Jennifer and Zev Norotsky, Dr. Waguih IsHak, Doug Warner and Janis Black Warner.
Terrence Howard and Evan Ross
Aloe Blacc closed out the night with soulful renditions of "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and "I Need a Dollar," and the crowd-rousing "Wake Me Up."