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The sprawling Walton-Laurie Estate in Bel-Air played host Sunday to the 10th annual Children Mending Hearts Empathy Rocks charity event, where Cynthia Germanotta, Storm Reid and others were honored for their commitment to the organization’s mission of positive change through empathy.
CMH was founded by Lysa Heslov — wife of Grant Heslov — as a way to teach children to have empathy for one another through the arts. And while the organization has worked with over 15,000 children, she shared the story of one young boy whose life was turned around by the organization.
“There was a kid many years ago who was living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn and he had lost his entire family in Haiti,” Heslov told THR. “We not only had him go through all of our classes but we surprised him with a football camp, a scholarship, a computer and they weren’t like huge gestures but when you do something small for a kid who feels like they mean nothing in the world, it changes their outlook on the world.”
Lady Gaga made a grand entrance when she arrived at the award ceremony. The pop star wore a long pink gown and had her hair swept up into a dramatic blonde updo. The affection between her and mother was clear when they sat next each other and she placed her hand lovingly on Germanotta’s arm.
Before giving her mother the Global Changemakers award for her work as a co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation, Gaga told the audience that the key to their work was kindness.
“Kindness is not an afterthought to our work or just the way we’ve chosen to brand it. It is the driving power behind everything that we do. It is the lens we view every challenge through and it is framing the way that we put everything around every possible solution. To me, almost every problem you can think of can be solved with kindness, or at least it could be made better.”
Children swarmed over the Walmart heiress’ mansion’s vast front yard, which was transformed into a fairground with candy stations, arts and crafts tables and face painting. And this being a star-studded event, there was of course a glam squad ready to provide massages, eyebrow shaping and manicures for parents.
Fourteen-year-old Reid was honored with the Hero of the Future Award and she spoke with THR about the importance of using empathy in her everyday life.
“I practice empathy every day because we come across people that we may not have the same opinions, but I feel like I’m good at working those opinions out and agreeing to disagree and just not fighting … and being able to come together with people and trying to make a better, safer place and accepting other people for who they are and loving them the way they are is how I like to do it.”
The afternoon’s other honorees included Jane Buckingham, who was given the Hero of the Ages Award, and Riverdale stars Camila Mendes and Madelaine Petsch, who were honored with the Spotlight Hero award.
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