LEGENDARY SINGER/SONGWRITER JOHNNY GILL AND THE HONORABLE JAN PERRY HONORED FOR THEIR WORK ON BEHALF OF KIDS WITH AUTISM AT WILEY CENTER GALA HOSTED BY HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE
Students Performed Original Song Celebrating Living “Beyond the Label” Alongside Gill; Barry Bonds, Erica Ash, Judge Mathis, Dawn Lewis, Vanessa Williams, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, Among the Celebrity Guests
LOS ANGELES, Oct 25 — Celebrating that kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder are achieving “Beyond the Label,” Sunday night’s gala at The Skirball Cultural Center recognized the children The Wiley Center serves as well as other selfless individuals whose efforts impact their lives and raised nearly $200,000. Holly Robinson Peete, a longtime supporter of The Wiley Center who has personally benefitted from its programs, was the evening’s host. Along with legendary singer/songwriter Johnny Gill, The Honorable Jan Perry, Darrell Brown of US Bank, and George Gibbs of UPS were honored. Wiley Center President and Founder Pamela Wiley, PhD spoke about her therapeutic programs servicing kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.
Ms. Robinson Peete introduced Dr. Wiley as “the person who gave my son a voice and changed our lives; the engineer who drives the Autism train.” Dr. Wiley took the stage, stating, “There are many faces of autism with many strengths and opportunities. We want [these kids] to transcend the label [of Autism]. It’s about understanding who you are and what are unique needs. We are committed to taking these kids across the finish line.” As testament, several Wiley Center students spoke and performed on stage, some introducing the honorees.
Established 37 years ago, Dr. Wiley’s LA Speech and Language Therapy Center is the oldest African American-owed practice in Los Angeles and perhaps in the country. She opened the center to create a culture of acceptance for all children regardless race, ethnicity or zip code. Subsequently, she founded the Wiley Center for Speech and Language Development and implemented numerous innovative programs and now has the leading practice in social skills employment readiness training for kids with ASD and other speech-related disorders.
Surprise Scholarship Awarded and Recordings with Gill Announced
After Wiley Center students performed “Beyond the Label” on stage, Johnny Gill told the 300 gala attendees he will be releasing that and other songs he performs with Wiley Center kids and special musical friends this year under his record label.
Danny Delgadillo, an 18-year-old Wiley Center student with ASD, was awarded a surprise scholarship to go towards his college tuition at Otis College of Art & Design. Danny began services at 5 years of age and his mother first brought him to LA Speech for speech therapy because he was being bullied at school and had a hard time communicating with others. He also participated in social skills, summer camps, social skills employment readiness training program and is a 10-year participant in the drama program. With intensive services, through the arts he found his passion and developed his skills and confidence. He now competes in dance competitions throughout the country and recently performed “Beyond the Label”, an original song, at The White House with the LA Speech singers. He sang an amazing rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.