by Craig Juntunen
We arrived in LA, the 21st of the 62 cities we will visit.
Tonight was Cheryl and Jake’s last night as our original bus riders. We will miss them for they brought a very positive energy and can-do attitude to the team. Cheryl wrote the blog entry about our experience in Orange County and it is representative of her special spirit.
While she and Jake were jumping in the cab leaving to LAX, we welcomed Ross Merrin and Toby Egeth aboard the bus. Ross and Toby are wonderful friends I met at a feedback screening of the film, when it was still called Wrongfully Detained. They could not stay for the entire film, and when they had to leave early, they made a point of saying goodbye. Ross shook my hand and said they would be in touch. How many times have we all heard that? However, this outcome was not typical. They called me that weekend, we spoke for 45 minutes about children and family and we have been great friends since. Ross is a senior executive at Sony Pictures and he has also been a great friend to the STUCK project. Including Ross and Toby on the tour bus has personal meaning and is highly appropriate after all the positive energy they have contributed to STUCK.
Tonight during the Q&A, the Step Forward for Orphans March was a feature of our discussion. We talked about how change is influenced by social movements as political systems don’t move proactively; typically they react. The Step Forward for Orphans March is our way to get the government’s attention and force it to begin to react to our demands to make children living outside of parental care a priority.
In the next day or so, we will issue a press release announcing the Step Forward for Orphans March sponsor. One of the significant donors of our campaign, Mr. Foster Friess, has graciously supported the campaign out of his belief in the value of family and the significance of a family to every child. His financial contributions have provided us the freedom to think big and act boldly.
Foster has formed a new organization called LeftRightLeftRightForwardMarch! His initiative seeks to restore civil discourse between politically diverse Americans by promoting partnerships on beneficial projects both sides embrace. Foster wants to create progress by breaking down stubborn political agendas and barriers by encouraging leaders to focus on producing best outcomes.
Foster has proven to be an innovative leader and a passionate philanthropist. He has supported many outstanding organizations to make this world a better place. We are all so grateful for his support and his leadership. His new foundation is a perfect fit for our campaign, as what we are advocating for—kids in a family—is the prototypical bi-partisan issue. We are very much honored to be supported by Left Right, Left Right, Forward March! and we realize this stroke of good fortune will have a very positive impact as we organize and conduct the Step Forward For Orphans March on May 17.
Foster has recognized that what we are doing really isn’t working, relative to facilitating at-risk children to join a family, and that something must be done to change this unnecessary situation. We are hoping that in the months ahead others will follow Foster’s lead and help fund our ambitious plans to produce the outcome we desire. Our success, like all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, is a function of funding.
LA was a meaningful show. Meyer Gottlieb, the CEO of Samuel Goldwyn Films, and his wife Patty joined us and it was a privilege to have them in attendance. Meyer’s leadership and support has taken an independent film project and given STUCK a chance to be seen and recognized for what it was intended to be.
4 hours to Fresno, great to share this ride with Ross and Toby!