“In the end, I keep trying to remind myself and my team what counts is that….We did something and worked very, very hard for the WOMEN, CHILDREN, and PETS who rely on the Shade Tree. Not for the approval. We are all in this to please our maker, the universe, or sense of Karma, or whatever, and it for that reason is why this PSA exists.” ~ Firdosi Wharton-Ali
It began back in July during the start of Ramadan, it was also during this time I learned about Zakāt which means charity and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Charity is a huge deal in the Muslim culture and my friend and client Firdosi Wharton-Ali began a heartfelt campaign on Facebook to help raise money for The Shade Tree, a “501(c)3 non-profit organization providing safe shelter to homeless and abused women, children, and their pets in crisis and to offer life changing services promoting stability, dignity and self-reliance.”
This wonderful organization has been in existence for more than twenty years. On Friday, August 30, Beth Fisher (morning anchor/reporter on KTNV Channel 13) sent a camera for an interview about the project (Step Out of Your Comfort Zone) for a segment called ‘Making Las Vegas a Better Place to Live.’
As it states on The Shade Tree website, “As the only organization with an animal shelter on campus, named Noah’s Animal House, The Shade Tree brings families together with their pets and connects them with assistance and services. The Shade Tree is the largest shelter of its kind in Nevada and is the only 24-hour accessible shelter designed specifically to meet the needs of women and children in Southern Nevada. With 364 permanent beds, The Shade Tree provides more than 100,000 nights of shelter each year. To remove any barrier that might prevent a woman from accessing necessary services for she and her children, 100 percent of services are provided completely free of charge, regardless of the length of stay.”
Being an accomplished screenwriter, Firdosi’s first instinct was to gather a group of professionals and friends who believed in her mission to donate time and talent in an effort to raise awareness about the critical state of domestic violence in Nevada, and to create, then donate, a Public Service Announcement (PSA) with impact. Most PSAs are less than a minute. This PSA is just over three minutes making it more of a Public Awareness Campaign to raise responsiveness to the critical state of domestic violence in Southern Nevada, which is number one in the nation for fatalities associated with abuse; and the lasting effects it has on families, pets, the body, and mind, and the urgent need for funding The Shade Tree is currently experiencing. This powerful film short is honest and graphic and meant to encourage the public to take action and help those who feel helpless.
On Friday, September 20 at Maru Korean BBQ in Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas, the evening began with a film short and special Q&A with Sue Kim of the renowned Kim Sisters, as she shared her experiences with domestic abuse in her professional/personal life during her career which involved her younger sister. She also shared how the Korean American Women’s Foundation, a safe haven for Korean women new to the United States, was formed in Las Vegas.
Debra Weight and Adrienne Hester after makeup
The evening ended with the début of new PSA – THE SHADE TREE: “A Story of Hope” Featuring Master Magician Lance Burton. Volunteers who also participated in filming of the PSA included Dr. Benjamin S. Lurie, Dr. Paul Wilkes, military veteran and combat PTSD survivor Jay Choi, DeAndre Esteen – director of development for The Shade Tree, and professional makeup artists Debra Weite and Cadena Laksis, Composer/ Producer David Rosen, Fremont East Studios, Paradise Seven Pictures, students from The UNLV Film Department and me in the role of an abused woman.
This event would not have possible without the support of Keizer Design, Red Carpet Moving Company, and The Neck and Back Clinics.
To learn more about Firdosi Wharton-Ali and Paradise Seven Pictures please contact Adrienne@2girlsconsulting.com.
To learn more about The Shade Tree and Domestic Violence Month, please visit www.theshadetree.org.
A publicist’s work is never done even if I am hosting the event.
Lance Burton, Sue Kim-Bonifazio, daughter Marissa and John Bonifazio
Patti Hester, Carri and Jaslynne Jones, Candace Peters
Sue Kim film short and Q&A.
Korean American Women’s Foundation
Sue Kim, Elynne Greene Victim Advocate, Supervisor at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Lance Burton
Sue Kim sharing the story of her sister
Ryan Slattery and Rei Bollozos
Vahid and Autoosa Elizabeth Kojoori-Saatchi
Barbara Fisher, Donna Kalbfleisch, Mary Kelly
Sue Kim and Adrienne Hester
Minao Kamegai, Jeff Keizer, Bob Miller
Jeannie and Gary Kim, owners of Maru Korean BBQ
Marissa Bonifazio and Megan Foley