Kid's Day a HUGE Success!
The first annual Children’s Day was a huge success! About 50,000 kids of all ages showed up at Woodley Park in Van Nuys to celebrate this momentous holiday that has finally come to the United States, one of only two countries in the world that does not acknowledge the holiday (the other is Somalia).
There were more stars there than in the sky! Fritz Coleman, from KNBC-TV, was an amazing host and kept the ball rolling from early morning until the last act left the stage. There were lots of kids from Disney Channel shows as well as young performers singing and dancing their way into people’s hearts. With such a tight-knit community of voice-actors at my disposal, I got the help from some of the best: Candi Milo (The Replacements, Jimmy Neutron), Tara Strong (The Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls), Jeff Snow (animator, Tarzan, Mulan, Shrek 2), Richard Horvitz (Kim Possible, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain), Grey Delisle (The Fairly Odd Parents, What’s New, Scooby-Doo?), Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Animaniacs) and E.G. Daily (The Powerpuff Girls, Happy Feet). We did all our voices on stage and then signed autographs for 2 hours! A dedicated and very animated group!
Aaron Carter got shrieks from the girls in the audience. Mr. T was…..well, Mr. T. Jennifer Love Hewitt and her fiancé Ross McCall (Crash, Band of Brothers, The Polar Express), spoke to the crowd, Michael Peña (Lions for Lambs, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Shooter) brought his family to enjoy the festivities, and Los Lobos rocked the house! And if sports is your game, there were certainly plenty of celebrities representing their arena: the Dodgers’ Kenny Landreaux and Laker AC Green couldn’t have been nicer, signing autographs all day long.
There were fire trucks, a Marine hummer, flyovers by LAFD water planes, an LAPD helicopter, a Dodgers race car from LA Experience, food for every taste, and booths, booths, booths. Happy House to the Anti-Gang Coalition, Optimists Club, LA Valley College Community Education and extension Program, “Kid Times,’ Boy Scouts of America, the LAPD, LAFD, and many more found this an effective way to reach families and kids in particular.
The Mayor and Governor sent representatives to deliver proclamations for the first Children’s Day and Deputy Chief of Police Michel Moore welcomed everyone and thanked those involved for their tremendous efforts, particularly Sergeant John Artes, Chaplain Ken Crawford and Officer Gonzo Lara who initiated what seemed to be an overwhelming task.
A terrific and huge team of people were behind the success of this amazing event including our own Carol and Mark Loweree, Andrea Vega, and a host of others.
Donkaphant or Elephonkey?
Nancy was honored to be invited to host the Donkaphant Film Festival at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Yes, that’s right—Donkaphant. Nancy suggested that perhaps it should be called Elephonkey! Put on by YOUnited Foundation, it is an independent film festival “for the people, by the people,” celebrating short films that feature stories about freedom, the political process and the trials and tribulations of people and our planet. The YOUnited Foundation’s mission is “to maximize the power of film and use the art form to inspire, educate, motivate and stimulate communities into action.” Other non-profit organizations were also represented and supplied films for the festival, including Happy House, Heal the Bay, Direct the Relief International, Jacaranda Foundation, Legalize LA, National Parkinson Foundation, Tree People, Youth Policy Institute, California Forward and others.
Part of the mission of the festival, co-founded by Justin Scot and Graham Sibley is to create awareness and encourage young people in particular to get out and vote and become active members of the citizenry. The theme of the evening was “Beat 1960!” with the hope that voter turnout would exceed that year’s impressive total.
Speakers on behalf of the presidential candidates were invited. Broadcast journalist and producer Giselle Fernandez represented the Obama campaign and Dutch Merrick spoke on behalf of the Ralph Nader candidacy. The McCain representative was unable to attend. Also present were politicians and notables including California State Senator Ron S. Calderon and former Congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler.
Nancy eloquently emphasized the importance of participating in the political process and how much we have at stake. She, of course, added humor (and a bit of Bart) to her remarks and was, as always, a crowd pleaser. She closed the evening thanking the filmmakers of the nine films screened, reinforced the message to vote and reminded people how important it is to support the philanthropic causes of their choice.
Nancy further noted, “A great man once said that 'A culture is only as great as its dreams and its dreams are dreamed by artists.' ”
Will Your child Make
Right Choices in Life?
by Nancy Cartwright
My daughter recently got married. She and her high school sweetheart tied the knot in August and are working together and making their own decisions now on a daily basis. My son, at 17, is still in high school and living at home and I continue to guide him, although I let him make most of his decisions based on “the greatest good for all,” and this has been an operating basis for me in raising them all along. So far he hasn’t held me to ransom and he hasn’t used the fact that I am the voice of Bart Simpson against me for which I am very grateful, however it does bring up the question: “What is the measurement of a parent’s success when it comes to raising a child?”
I think we can all agree that if your child grows up to be happy, successful and knows how to make the right choices in life, you will have adequately fulfilled your role as a parent. Surely your child will make a few wrong decisions and choices along the rugged path of life, but if he has been taught well, he will make more positive and constructive choices than destructive and his happiness will be your measuring stick. We as parents are the guideposts, but at the same time, must allow our children to be self-determined, able to think for themselves and make their own decisions. Children do not do well if controlled like dogs. End of story. Woof.
Ask yourself these questions in terms of how well you are educating your child on common sense values:
- “Will my child be able to avoid the temptations of drugs and alcohol and withstand the peer pressure of “fitting in” or will he fall prey to those pressures and wind up being an addict or possibly brain damaged due to experimenting with dangerous drugs?”
- “Will he be worthy of trust, and keep his word with others or will he be deceitful and dishonest, disrupting relationships at every turn?”
- “Will he treat others with respect, and handle them as he would like to be treated or will he carelessly hurt others feelings placing little importance or thought toward the ill effects he might create in others’ lives?”
- “Will he be competent and create better conditions for himself and others or will he create disasters at every turn, littering his life with ineffectiveness and destruction?” and
- “Will he be faithful to his marital partner and express love and devotion or will he betray his partner’s trust and destroy the relationship without remorse?”
I have found that no matter what trouble my child gets into, there is something that I failed to teach him/her. It always boils down to “What could I have taught my child that would have prevented this from happening in the first place?” In other words, the level of success and happiness your child attains in life will largely be determined by the responsibility you have and the knowledge you teach him today.
It will be because of your efforts to treat him with respect and love, despite numerous inevitable invitations to want to do otherwise, that he will choose not to mistreat his own children or abuse them.
It will be because of your patient & gentle insistence that he not accept mediocrityin life, but strive for professionalism and competence, that he succeeds.
It will be because of your worthy advice that he seeks to live with the truth and be worthy of respect, that he lives a life of integrity and honor.
Your influence as a parent is far greater than you probably have ever stopped to realize. I began teaching my two children common sense values when they were pre-school age. As a result of doing so, I have witnessed them grow into happy, successful young adults.
You could liken it to an investment. Take the time and effort now to make continual deposits into your child’s “bank account” of wisdom, and within time, little bits of wealth will accumulate. And by the time your child reaches the age where he/she really understands the concepts of “giving back” and “contribution”, you could even consider that these efforts are “interest” that you have accumulated!—a little bonus, not only for him/her but you and your whole family and even the community in which you live.
I guess it comes down to asking ourselves an important question: “What do I want for my child-- a happy, successful life based on right choices or a morally bankrupt one based on unhappiness and failure? Our answers and actions will determine the result.
As for me, I feel I am one of the wealthiest moms on the planet, and I like to make daily “withdrawals” from my kids—hugs and kisses for doing a good job!
(Nancy Cartwright is a mother of two, the Honorary Mayor of the San Fernando Valley, voice-artist and co-founder of Happy House, a non-profit whose purpose is “Building Better Families”. You can find out more by visiting her website at www.nancycartwright.com or www.happyhouse.org.