County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who goes to a lot of community breakfasts, awards luncheons, and political dinners, calls the Success Breakfast sponsored by the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition (WSHC) the most inspiring and moving event on his annual calendar.
Each year, WSHC honors previously homeless persons who have made extraordinary changes to leave behind a life of desperation and become housed, employed, productive, and self-confident. This year, the Coalition honored 22 individuals, four of whom shared their journeys with the more than 450 representatives of government, business, social service agencies, and the faith community gathered at the 13th annual Success Breakfast at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Friday, October 17.
Anyone who thinks that all homeless aid programs simply mollycoddle shiftless vagrants who are either too lazy or too ornery to hold a job should have been there to hear the stories. The moving, first-hand accounts demonstrate not only the real value of such programs but also the reason that the people who work in them do what they do.
Each of the 22 honorees had found homes, jobs, and new lives with the assistance of some of the more than 30 nonprofits, church groups, and public agencies that make up the Coalition. Also recognized with Community Support Awards were a dozen businesses and organizations that have worked with Coalition members.
Yaroslavsky presented the annual Community Partner Award this year to State Senator Sheila Kuehl of the 23rd Senate District, who is completeing 14 years of service in the California Legislature. He praised her ability to perceive and then address the needs of those who did not otherwise have access to influence and opportunity.
The program was emceed by actor, humanitarian, and Coalition friend Wendie Malick.