Maple Counseling Center Holds Annual Fundraiser

Student filmmakers and a Mini Cooper raffle highlighted the event.

held its 12th Annual Film Screening and Car Drawing fundraiser Thursday at the .

The event showcased films by students from as well as Caanes, France, and Herzliya, Israel, in connection with the Sister City program. A drawing also was held featuring a grand prize 2011 Mini Cooper, which went to donor Bud Heumann who wasn't in attendance.

"The purpose of the event is to raise much needed funds to benefit all of the center's very much needed programs and services," said Maple CEO Marcy Kaplan, who reported the event's projected goal was $80,000.

"During the past few years, all nonprofits have struggled to continue to meet the needs of our community," Maple Board President Mason A. Sommers said. "TMCC remains one of the few agencies which continues to provide quality mental health services to a diverse, multicultural population of all ages regardless of their ability to pay."

Last year the center served 15,000 clients and another 1,000 in local schools, according to Kaplan.

The fundraiser's program described the center as one that "provides low-fee and no-fee counseling services to people of all ages regardless of their ability to pay" and trains interns pursuing careers in the mental health field.

"I've been involved with the Maple Center almost since its inception, and I'm very much in favor of keeping it going as much as I possibly can because it offers counseling to people who live and work in Beverly Hills as well as people who work outside of Beverly Hills at a sliding scale," supporter Bobbe Joy Dawson said.

"I started as an intern here when I was getting my doctorate in psychology, and I had the privilege of seeing the wonderful work that they do first-hand," said Sharona R. Nazarian, Maple Executive Board member and fundraiser co-chair who also serves as Beverly Hills Human Relations Commission chairwoman. "I really enjoy this event. People are able to come together and mingle and have a great time, see a wonderful movie while supporting a wonderful cause."

Film producer Dean Zanuck was named honorary chair of the event.

"I'm very good friends with Sharona Nazarian who's one of the members of The Maple Center, and as I got to know what they're all about it really compelled me to become involved," Zanuck said. "An event like tonight to show my support is really the least I can do."

He also praised the efforts of the featured student filmmakers.

"I love to see anybody going out there and creating a story and making a film," Zanuck said. "It's not easy to do on the smallest level or the biggest level, but the fact that these kids showed some moxie, got it done—that's impressive."

BHHS 11th grader and short-film honoree Alexandra Sarah Janny felt the experience was "honestly thrilling, and it's amazing to be able to have the opportunity to even make a movie and have a lot of people see it and comment on it and appreciate your work," she said.

"Filmmaking is my passion, it's what I want to do, it's what I love and getting to incorporate it with Beverly Hills, my city, my hometown, was a fun experience," said BHHS sophomore Natalie Gordon, also one of the evening's featured student filmmakers. "I'm really enjoying myself tonight and I'm really glad I was a part of this."

BHHS 11th grader David Daniely, another student honoree, observed "[The Maple Counseling Center] works to help establish and create a better community in Beverly Hills ... and all these people here are an indicator of that."

A screening of Love Wedding Marriage in the academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater capped the evening.

Greg Gill Automotive donated the grand prize car and catered the reception.

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