By Vic Gerami
‘Comedy Saves Lives’, comedy fundraiser for Veterans’ Suicide Prevention, so-hosted by suicide prevention and awareness organization, You Matter-Not Alone (YMNA) and American Legion Pasadena Post 13 (ALP) was a great success, with $2,175 of $5,000 goal raised for veterans at risk for suicide.
The event was on Saturday, November 2 at ALP’s century-old building, a registered historic landmark of Old Town Pasadena. The fundraiser corresponded with YMNA’s first anniversary and almost 100 years since ALP received its permanent charter in 1920.
The evening started with a cocktail reception and mix ’n mingle in the legion’s bar and expansive lounge. A raffle raised additional funds for the evening, with donated prizes courtesy of Karen Gutierrez of the Geffen Playhouse, Maria Sahakian of Alex Theater in Glendale, and Turtyle paper straws.
All funds raised benefit various programs by both organizations in veterans’ suicide prevention and awareness.
YMNA a 501© 3 non-profit charity, was founded by Donna Quach, a US Army Medical Reservist and a licensed clinical psychotherapist, with a private practice in Burbank. Quach and her team of trained professionals offer various programs, collaborate with other organizations and create a campaign to educate the public about suicide prevention and awareness. YMNA has ongoing collaborations with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and UNICEF.
“I am thrilled to mark this milestone with a comedy fundraiser and raise funds to continue our work with veterans, an at-risk group that’s currently under-served. American Legion Pasadena Post 13 co-producing the show with us made it even more meaningful as we share the same values and commitment to help veterans.”
Four renowned comedians donated their time and talent for the fundraiser show, including the evening’s emcee, award-winning comedian, and actor, Paul Green.
Green expressed his gratitude by saying, “I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to support our military veterans who sacrifice so much to ensure our freedoms and way of life. I can think of no better purpose for comedy than providing hope in the form of laughter to those veterans who struggle and need encouragement.”
Celebrated comedian, best-selling author, and musician, Greg Behrendt headlined the evening. Renowned comedian and pod-caster Kristal Adams, as well as stand-up favorite and late-night regular Andrew Norelli charmed and entertained the audience.
Fundraising continues with a GoFundMe campaign to reach YMNA’s $5,000 goal by Thanksgiving. Those who wish to contribute to suicide prevention & awareness can donate here.
MORE ABOUT YOU MATTER-NOT ALONE
You Matter-Not Alone’s mission is to keep our children and the community safe, understand mental health and why individuals commit suicide in our society, address various types of bullying and provide interventions to students on how to end behavior, and report it immediately. Educate teachers, staff and parents on how to promote diversity, peace, respect and kindness at school, home and the community. Appreciate other important aspects of bullying prevention including a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s self-care.
YMNA’s team of trained clinical staff travels to various schools, churches, military installation on a pro bono basis to educate students, teachers, parents and the community on suicide awareness, bullying prevention and sexual trauma counseling. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States among all people over 10 years old, and the rates are on the rise.
YMNA shares resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic, by reaching out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. Ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.
ABOUT AMERICAN LEGION PASADENA POST 13
The Pasadena Post of The American Legion was founded on July 22, 1919, four months after the founding of The American Legion on March 15, 1919. The American Legion was then chartered by Congress on September 16, 1919.
The Legion Family at American Legion Post 13 in Pasadena, California is dedicated to serving the Nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, their families and supporting the communities they live in.
The cornerstone of our foundation was built upon the World War I veterans that lived in the Pasadena area in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Post members that served in World War I and war time veterans of all the great wars and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their families share a strong commitment to be patriotic citizens of action, serving communities in the Pasadena area and throughout Los Angeles County and welcoming new members into our family.
We do this by creating and supporting Legion Family programs such as the Sons of The American Legion, Boys/Girls State, American Legion Baseball and High School Oratorical competition. We also support unique programs that educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.
ABOUT DONNA K. QUACH
Donna K. Quach is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist specializing in individual, couples and family therapy where her area of focus is in high risk and trauma, and maintains a private practice in Burbank, California. Donna is an active Army Medical Reservist and comes from a military family that has served in all branches of the Armed Forces.
Donna is the founder of You Matter Charity Organization and is an activist for mental health care and prevention, veteran rehabilitation and animal rights. Her vision with You Matter movement is to educate the community about suicide awareness and bullying prevention, mainly due to an alarming rate of our nation’s epidemic, tragic deaths of celebrities to the massive school shootings. She is passionate about working together to change the culture, and de-stigmatize mental health; while allowing people to talk about their own challenges and seek help.
Paul Green is an award-winning standup comedian & actor who has performed at the most iconic comedy venues such as the Laugh Factory, Hollywood Improv, Comedy Store, Flappers, Ice House, Westside Comedy Theater, HaHa Comedy Club, iO West, Second City, Ventura Harbor Comedy Club and Mad House Comedy Club.
In 2019, after three consecutive years performing at the Burbank Comedy Festival, Paul was honored with the prestigious ‘Best of the Fest’ award. What makes Paul unique is his brand of clean comedy that can keep audiences laughing without turning to blue, offensive or edgy content. His multiple talents of singing and playing the piano make his shows high energy, engaging, dynamic, and of course hilarious!
I am a New York Times bestselling author, comedian, musician, and life and relationship coach. I’ve sold over 4 million books, most notably the co-authored He’s Just Not That Into You and It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken as well as It’s Just A F***ing Date and How To Keep Your Marriage From Sucking. As a relationship author I appeared on The Oprah Winfrey show multiple times as well the Today Show, Anderson Cooper and The View. As a standup comedian I have been fortunate to tour the world performing comedy and my one man show I Am The King Sweater, as well as appear on various late night shows like Conan, Letterman and the Tonight Show. I have hosted two talk and reality shows bearing my own name, as well as co-hosting several popular podcasts. I’ve also written for film and television and I keep my foot in the musical world with my band The Reigning Monarchs.
My recent life experiences of beating cancer twice in the past 5 years, and my continuing recovery from alcohol and opiate addiction have made me more philosophical about life. It caused me to turn my attention to coaching in the area relationships and positivity. I have a great need to help people find happiness whether it be in my books, in a live setting, or one on one. Coaching was suggested to me by a good friend Natasha Adamo who has been doing it for years and it felt like a natural fit from the start. However, you ended up here I’m glad you did. if personal coaching is a fit for you check out my coaching page otherwise, I’ll see you down the road.
Kristal Adams is a standup comedian and podcaster living in Los Angeles. She has appeared in Season 2 of Laugh After Dark on Amazon Prime Video, JFL’s Straight Up, Stand Up series, Vidcon, SF Sketchfest and headlined the 2019 Albuquerque Funny Fiesta. She was recently featured on Whohaha as part of their first ever Comedian Callout. In September 2019 she was named Comic of the Week by the Jackie & Laurie Podcast. She is the host of the podcast, Too Sensitive for Comedy and the co-host of A Simple Show in Hollywood.
Numerous late night appearances including twice on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” where he was booked by Jimmy himself who said “because of how few slots we have available you have to be an A++ comedian to get booked on my show, and Andrew is.”
Other TV appearances include Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” and the nationally syndicated comedy roundtable “Comics Unleashed,” where he also worked as a monologue joke writer.
A Ted Talk was recently added to his resume where he hilariously lampooned the absurdity of computer error messages.
His performance at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal was praised in Time Out New York.
International appearances include Sydney Australia’s Comedy Store where The Daily Telegraph remarked “his show features hair trigger laughs with a deadly aim, all the more so because while some comedians overestimate their own intelligence, Norelli never underestimates ours.”