Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amy Balsam for Make A Wish

Name: Amy Balsam

What is your job?

I am the founder and President of In 2 It Media, an event production and entertainment marketing firm that I started 12 years ago. We specialize in producing star-studded charity benefits that have raised tens of millions of dollars for deserving non-profits and establishing long lasting partnerships between celebrities and non-profits with the goal of shining a spotlight on causes that need our attention now.

What social causes are most important to you?

As a survivor of domestic violence and rape, which I believe are two of the worst crimes against humanity, it is my personal mission to advocate for abused women and children. Today, tens of millions of women and children are being abused in the United States. In the U.S., thousands of children die each year from abuse. 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Domestic violence is one of the most destructive acts to the human spirit and is a world wide epidemic. No one should have to live in fear or feel helpless, hopeless and worthless. I was haunted by the memories of my abuse and abusers until my mid twenties, and it took me a decade to be able to open up and discuss what I had been through with friends. It breaks my heart to know that women and children suffer in silence and that is why we need to be their voice.
Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved?

It is my dream to be able to raise enough money to open up a safe housing program for abused women and children where the basic necessities of life: food, water, shelter, and education will be provided along with healthcare, counseling and a support system to transition these women and children out of their life threatening situations into the lives filled with love that they deserve. I’m working on making this a reality in the next few years. As a community, we can help stop the abuse, by protecting our loved ones and friends. If you notice a family member or friend’s appearance, health and attitude dramatically decline, and they become isolated from everyone in their life, then reach out and let them know they don’t have to be ashamed or afraid and that you can help them get out of their abusive household. A friend rescued me from my abusive relationship and saved my life. Additionally, parents and teachers need to start teaching children at a very young age what real love is, and that violence, verbal and emotional abuse are never a part of a loving relationship. You can volunteer at domestic violence shelters in your community and donate clothing, toys and household items, which are always needed.

What charities do you support – and how?

I have the pleasure of working on special events for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County and with the national Make-A-Wish Foundation team. I love this organization, as I think the work they do to bring smiles to the faces of deserving children is amazing. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Another one of my favorite non-profits is Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. I have produced two benefits for the hospital and had the pleasure of hosting a holiday party for about 200 patients and their families at the hospital last year, which counts as one of the best days of my life. To see the children’s faces light up and watch them and their parents enjoy the holiday season was a very moving experience for me. As a result of my work with CHLA I have become friends with a very special girl named Tianna, a former patient at the hospital, who serves as a spokesperson at our benefits, and is someone whom I admire greatly. Tianna, at just 14 years old, devotes her time and energy to being an advocate for children at CHLA and is truly an inspiration.

How would you define social responsibility?
I think as human beings we all have a responsibility to take care of one another and our Earth. Unfortunately, our society has a look out for number one mentality and that to me is really sad. If we spent more time lifting each other up, the positive chain reaction and residual effects of humankind coming together would impact everyone’s lives for the better. I really believe that if everyone did just one good deed a day to help another person, an animal, the planet, their community or a non-profit, the world would be a much better place. With all of the gloom and doom headlines these days, it is easy for us to forget the very real power we all have to affect positive change by doing small good deeds that will have big results.

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social/charitable beliefs/work?

My 2nd tattoo, which was designed by Juan Puente, is of the Chinese characters for destiny and is surrounded by Chinese lotus blossoms. I decided to get this tattoo after I survived being run over by a car in 2005. After miraculously surviving the accident, it put everything in my life in perspective. I have a much greater appreciation for both my life and life in general and it became clear to me that it is my purpose to use my time, energy and talent to help as many people as possible. My 3rd tattoo also designed by Juan, is my life’s motto and my favorite lyric of all time, “All You Need Is Love.” I really feel that everyone wants to love and to be loved and that all of the world’s problems can be solved with love.

Quick list of tattoos/mention artists:

1st tattoo: Chinese characters for True Love – Hart & Huntington
2nd tattoo: - Chinese characters for Destiny surrounded by Chinese lotus blossoms - Juan Puente
3rd tattoo: - ankle heart charm bracelet with links that read All You Need Is Love - Juan Puente
4th tattoo: - pink and black artistic heart - Juan Puente

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