Coastal Gala Honorees

To find out more on each honoree, click on their photo to read their bio.

American Veterans Assistance Group - 2021

American Veterans Assistance Group - 2021

Nora Caldwell - 2021

Nora Caldwell - 2021

Talaat Captan - 2021

Talaat Captan - 2021

Lauren Costa - 2021

Lauren Costa - 2021

Roz Huang - 2021

Roz Huang - 2021

Zach And Charis Ifland - 2021

Zach And Charis Ifland - 2021

A.G. Kawamura - 2021

A.G. Kawamura - 2021

Jason Lehman - 2021

Jason Lehman - 2021

Holly Morrell - 2021

Holly Morrell - 2021

Dr. Denice Price - 2021

Dr. Denice Price - 2021

Dr. Chanda Zaveri - 2021

Dr. Chanda Zaveri - 2021

  • American Veterans Assistance Group - 2021
  • Nora Caldwell - 2021
  • Talaat Captan - 2021
  • Lauren Costa - 2021
  • Roz Huang - 2021
  • Zach And Charis Ifland - 2021
  • A.G. Kawamura - 2021
  • Jason Lehman - 2021
  • Holly Morrell - 2021
  • Dr. Denice Price - 2021
  • Dr. Chanda Zaveri - 2021
  • American Veterans Assistance Group - 2021

    The American Veterans Assistance Group is a community of veterans within each manufactured housing community involved with the Veterans Affordable Housing Program. Their mission is to thank and reward veterans for their service.  AVAG helps to support veterans by creating a safe and supportive living environment and a way to connect with one another.  Partnerships with other veteran and community groups allow AVAG to reach more veterans in the community providing services and information on healthcare, training education, and other services and resources. During the pandemic, AVAG and its partners fed over 10,000 households and helped to provide them with necessities. Other activities and programs include special veteran holiday events, informational seminars, movie nights, parties, dinners, recreation such as exercise classes and sports teams, food distribution programs, outreach programs, and resource referrals for employment, career training, and benefits.  Mr. Richard Simonian, is a veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets, created the non-profit organization American Veterans Assistance Group (AVAG) to assist veterans with affordable housing, holiday meals, informational workshops about veteran benefits and other outreach programs. Mr. Simonian had various life events that made him very aware of God’s blessings in his life. As a successful businessman, he feels very passionate about serving the veteran communities and understands the challenges veterans face in today’s society. Mr. Simonian and the AVAG team are angels on earth by serving veterans who have courageously served this country. 
  • Nora Caldwell - 2021

    Starting with a crisis hotline, four pioneering women conceived Human Options in 1981 because they believed that the women and children of Orange County deserved to live violence-free lives. Their desire evolved into a groundbreaking perspective: relationship violence threatens everyone in Orange County. Nearly four decades later, they continue to ignite social change by leading collective county-wide responses in service of those affected by abuse. Ultimately, they are empowering every person and family in Orange County to experience lives free from fear. Human Options provides a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling and support services, Safe Options for Seniors, services for military families, prevention and education, and legal advocacy services.  Human Options provides counseling, case management, children’s programs, referrals and linkages to housing and employment, behavioral health and wellness, parenting, and domestic violence prevention.  Women can also work to create their independent futures with educational and job skill building activities. Prevention and education programs partner with Orange County schools, hospitals, police departments, lawyers, businesses, and organizations to provide lessons to end the stigma associated with domestic violence and help communities to identify and support victims of violence and abuse. Nora discovered Human Options as a client in 1993 and the services they provided her changed her life. She joined the Human Options team as a staff member and has been an incredible advocate for their programs. Nora is currently the Manager of Community Engagement and serves to increase the awareness and results of the Human Options’ programs through engagement with donors and the community.
  • Talaat Captan - 2021

    Talaat Captan, the founder and CEO of Air Hollywood, the world’s largest aviation-themed motion picture studio, is the man behind the genuine and innovative program, Open Sky for Autism. As a veteran filmmaker and distributor of more than thirty years, Mr. Captan has led Air Hollywood to rapid success. The inspiration for Open Sky for Autism came to Talaat seven years ago when he watched a boy and his family struggle during the security check at the LAX airport. Later, he found out that the child had autism and from there on he decided to help kids with such disabilities in some way. Open Sky for Autism assists families living with autism and other developmental disabilities.  They provide training and practice in all aspects of air travel so they can have confidence, comfort, and enjoyment.  Acclimation, repetition, and supervision during a commercial airport and passenger flight simulation allow families living with developmental disabilities to overcome the uncertainty and stress that travel can create.  Practice includes all aspects of air travel including airport arrival, ticketing, check-in, baggage check, TSA security screening, departure lounge, boarding, in-flight simulation, and deplaning.  Talaat also provides a program for nervous passengers: Fearless Flight. For people traveling with service dogs, the company offers K9 Flight School. Talaat’s innovative use of Air Hollywood’s sets has given hope and comfort to many, making him an angel on Earth! 
  • Lauren Costa - 2021

    Lauren Costa is the Founder and Executive Director of The Academy Project (TAP), serving foster youth in Los Angeles County.  The outcomes for foster youth are often dismal and include homelessness and incarceration.  Foster youth lose sight of their potential and give up hope in their future.  Lauren decided to do something about this heartbreaking situation. So, she and her team are changing that outcome with community, empowerment, and education. TAP targets foster youth in middle school who are currently at-risk of not completing their high school diplomas.  Their programs create stability in an educational setting and provide the opportunity to form strong relationships with peers and with caring adults.  Two programs provide activities, education, and opportunities for team building:  Camp Xavier and The Co-Op.  Camp Xavier is a retreat for Members that includes traditional camp activities and creative activities designed to inspire, educate, and build bonds between Members. The Co-Op is an after-school program that is available every school day from dismissal to 6p.m.  The program includes homework help, tutoring, social emotional learning, physical activity, and arts education along with enrichment activities and outings.  Mentors also provide encouragement, guidance, and ensure continued educational enhancement. Members of TAP are encouraged to plan for their futures using an approach based on problem solving, learning, and discovery.  They find their voices and begin to write their own personal narratives. Consistent support and a safe environment help to effect lasting and positive change in the lives of vulnerable youth.  Lauren and her team are truly angels on Earth! 
  • Roz Huang - 2021

    Roz Huang is the CEO of the International Music & Wellness Council, a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit organization that helps to improve lives affected by Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, stress, depression, PTSD, stroke, and other special needs through the power of music therapy.  She is also the Founder and President of Dandelion Global, LLC, and CEO of Athena Music & Wellness Academy. Athena was started with a dual purpose: to use the healing power of music to maximize health and wellness for individuals around the world and to educate and train a new generation of professors and music therapists.  Music therapy is a combination of the art of music and intervention treatment. It is the only sensory medium that can activate all areas of the brain at the same time, which triggers the development of new neuropathways for healing and wellness. Athena’s music therapy treatments are expansive and personalized.  Patients see benefits quickly.  The International Music and Wellness Council also focuses on technology developments for patients so that they have tools they can take home on tablets or smart phones.   Roz brings over 25 years of international business experience in strategic planning in sustainability, green energy, healthcare, education, licensing, corporate governance and investor relations.  Her vision, expertise, and passion have helped to create and expand multiple music therapy models across three continents! 
  • Zach And Charis Ifland - 2021

    Surfing the Nations is a non-profit, humanitarian organization run by volunteers who use their talents and passions to give back.  Founders Tom and Cindy Bauer wanted to change the image of surf culture by using surfers’ natural thirst for adventure and bringing it to places and people in need.  They mobilized the surf community to give back selflessly through life changing training and outreach programs that help people become all they can be in their own lives and to serve their communities. Zach and Charis Ifland brought Surfing the Nations and all its passion and adventure to Orange County.   All STN bases follow the threefold “Thruster” model based on the three fin “Thruster” surfboard that changed surf history.  The model is comprised of a business partnership, a non-profit (STN), and a community partnership.  This model has allowed STN to be based all over the world and grow organically, serving each community in the way it needs.  The Ifland’s STN base in Huntington Beach serves the community with several programs.  The Good Times Youth program creates a safe and fun environment where kids can learn, do homework, grow in character, and grow in whatever adventurous activity they enjoy. Character development from consistent, loving, and inspiring staff and volunteers help youth affirm their worth, value, and talent, putting them on the path to be the leaders for California. The Surf and Skate team trains volunteers and community members in ocean safety, surfing, and skateboarding through a variety of services and events. STN also distributes food, clothing, and household items and takes the time to build relationships to show recipients they are valued.  STN and the Ifland’s are helping to create and adventurous, service-minded community where people become all they can be! 
  • A.G. Kawamura - 2021

    A.G. Kawamura is third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100-acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.  He is also responsible for the Incredible Edible Park, an urban park with edible products that go to food banks.  The Incredible Edible Park grew into the Incredible Edible Farm.  His current projects also include the Farm and Food Lab and the Giving Farm, both of which are connected to local food banks and pantries.  He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). He is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit organization that collaborates with farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies. He currently serves on several boards and committees including: The Ag Advisory Committee for the AGree Initiative; Ag Advisory Committee for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; The 25x25 Alliance, a national alliance of renewable energy stakeholders; External Advisory Board for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at U.C. Davis. He is a former chairman and current board member of Western Growers. A.G.’s dedication to producing quality produce while also serving the less fortunate in Orange County have earned him the title of angel on Earth! 
  • Jason Lehman - 2021

    The mission of Why’d You Stop Me (WYSM) is to reduce the acts of violence between police and the community. There is a violent confrontation between the police and a community member EVERY hour in our country, and this violence often stems from a lack of understanding and mistrust for the police.  Long Beach Police Officer Jason Lehman founded WYSM to help both law enforcement and community members to step into each other’s shoes to see, hear, and feel the struggle that each face. In 2011, Officer Lehman was informed that a group of inner-city youths were plotting to kill police officers. While speaking to an audience that included those young people, he realized that the audience had a limited understanding of police procedures and interactions, thus creating lack of trust. He has since spent countless hours developing and delivering a powerful message with the goal of keeping police officers and community members alive. WYSM targets numerous audiences including high school and college students, police academies, community and neighborhood groups, civic leaders, and law enforcement personnel. This unique program increases transparency in policing and educates our future leaders in the community about policing in order to promote positive interactions between community members and the police. Since inception, the WYSM program has been successfully presented to students at the MALE Academy, Beach and Will J. Reid Continuation High Schools, Long Beach City College, Long Beach G.R.I.P (Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention) as well as many law enforcement agencies across the country.  Reducing the violence between law enforcement and the communities they serve is a great step toward creating peaceful communities! 
  • Holly Morrell - 2021

    Holly Morrell is the founder of Heartfelt, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to saving lives from this nation’s number one killer, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, through early detection, education, and increasing public awareness. To date, Heartfelt has provided cardiac screenings to over 55,000 people resulting in over 1,000 lives saved. Holly is knowledgeable, experienced, and professional, but considers her work to be very personal, as well. She dedicates her work to the 6 family members lost to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), the #1 cause of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in young people in the U.S. Holly established Heartfelt to better serve the general public and preserve the integrity of her mission: to save more lives through early detection, education, and increased public awareness. A comprehensive cardiac screening, including both an Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) and an Echocardiogram (ECHO), can alert a person to risks associated with certain serious cardiac diseases. Many individuals with heart conditions experience no symptoms, and frequently, insurance providers will not cover the cost of these exams. Families can be screened at Heartfelt events for a donation of $85 per person and Heartfelt secures sponsorship funding and grants to supplement costs in order to offer free screenings for the underserved and low-income families, whenever possible. The screening and education provided by Heartfelt and Holly’s team has saved lives and provided peace of mind to many families. Holly’s knowledge, care, and concern for children and families goes above and beyond and makes a tremendous difference in their lives! 
  • Dr. Denice Price - 2021

    Dr. Denice Price has dedicated her life to improving the lives of children through education, along with serving many other populations. Dr. Price’s story begins with a tragedy that created a passion in her to help kids to go beyond their situation and succeed. Her motto is “On Time, On Task, and On a Mission” and it shows in all she does.  Dr. Price has served students as a teacher at all levels, elementary, secondary and graduate level. She has also worked as a high school counselor and elementary school principal in large urban low performing school districts. During her tenure as principal, test scores and students’ academic performance increased significantly under her leadership. Dr. Price is also the founder and developer of the New Hope Academy of Change Educational Corporation, designed to increase the academic performance of challenged students.  New Hope Academy provides hope for a change of life for “at-risk” students who are not allowed or have not been successful in traditional school settings.  New Hope Academy provides many educational services including tutoring, counseling, vocational education, college and career preparation, parent education, skills training, help for veterans, and support for athletes to improve their grades.  They also provide a food bank, clothing, and transitional housing and skills training for the homeless.  In addition, Dr. Price implemented the Court Referral Community Service Program, an alternative sentencing option that allows misdemeanants the opportunity to contribute service. She has not only worked with members of the community, she has also developed partnerships with educational institutions and business, and has earned more accolades than can be listed here! She is a tremendous asset to New Hope and to her community! 
  • Dr. Chanda Zaveri - 2021

    Dr. Chanda Zaveri came to the United States with the dream of being a scientist.  She has accomplished that and so much more!  A natural problem solver, she has a passion to help people and uses her expertise in peptides and genetics to do so.  She has created a line of skin care products that are designed to revitalize the skin, relieve pain and reverse the adverse effects of harsh medical treatments. The SkinHealix line represents ongoing scientific breakthroughs with benefits for aging, damaged and healthy skin.  Chanda continued her work in dermaceuticals and shifted her focus toward the evolving science of biologically active wound healing products. Her most recent contributions include innovative developments in cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, wound-healing technology. Chanda also feels very strongly about helping humanity by using her scientific background.  She would like to see children learn more about science, develop their own curiosity and passion, and use science to improve the lives of others.  She also hopes that learning about science will give children direction and keep them away from negative influences and boost their self-esteem as they create solutions. She has also created a fund for cancer research at the University of Kolkata.  Chanda hopes to empower women, men, and children to look good, feel good, and create good things for this world. 
  • American Veterans Assistance Group - 2021
  • Nora Caldwell - 2021
  • Talaat Captan - 2021
  • Lauren Costa - 2021
  • Roz Huang - 2021
  • Zach And Charis Ifland - 2021
  • A.G. Kawamura - 2021
  • Jason Lehman - 2021
  • Holly Morrell - 2021
  • Dr. Denice Price - 2021
  • Dr. Chanda Zaveri - 2021