24 Sep Interview with Deborah Alessi, Founder of the Face Forward Charity
I heard about an upcoming charity gala benefiting survivors of domestic violence called “A Gatsby Affair”, which is being thrown by Face Forward. Since it’ll be a great luxury event and it supports a great cause, I thought Luxury Branded’s readers would enjoy hearing about it. After talking with the PR staff helping with the event, they told me founder Deborah Alessi was happy to talk about her mission and her upcoming fundraiser taking place September 28th at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica.
Lauren: Hi Deborah, thanks for sharing your work and upcoming event with our readers. Can you start with an intro to what Face Forward is and its mission?
Deborah: Face Forward is a non-profit charity organization which i began in 2007. We are able to provide pro-bono physical and emotional reconstruction for battered men, women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and even victims of gang violence. Our mission is to recover the victims from their physical and emotional scars so that they may be able to regain their self confidence once again and lead a productive life when re-entering society once again.
Lauren: What’s the story behind Face Forward and inspired you to create it?
Deborah: This organization is near and dear to my heart because I have a personal story with domestic abuse myself. I was involved in a relationship with a college boyfriend back in my native country of Scotland who turned out to be an abusive partner towards me. I escaped my country in order to escape that relationship completely. I moved forward in life by pursuing my career in the aviation industry in the Middle East and then here in the United States, which is where I met my husband Dr. Alessi. With my strong passion to want to have a voice in ending domestic violence I decided to create Face Forward.
Lauren: So you and Face Forward collaborate with your husband and his company. Can you share what his work and company is and how they contribute to your cause?
Deborah: My husband Dr. David Alessi is head of The Alessi Facial Institute and with his expertise in the field of facial reconstruction he is able to offer his services to help these victims of abuse by offering them the chance to have reconstructive surgeries to diminish and erase their physical scars an disfigurements.
Lauren: Besides the physical reconstruction and surgery, what else to do offer to help victims of domestic violence?
Deborah: At Face Forward we not only provide physical reconstruction but emotional help for our patients as well. We have partners that we are affiliated with us who are able to offer emotional therapy, hope and empowerment to our patients. Domestic abuse impacts 1 in 4 people in the United States and we are focusing our efforts on those people along with victims in other parts of the world as well because this is global problem as well as a local one.
Lauren: Who are your main, contributors or partners involved with Face Forward and what are their roles?
Deborah: Our main partners are Maple Counseling Centers and Safe Passage Lives. We are able to offer the physical healing and reconstruction while they are able to offer the emotional as well as resources on how to move forward in life. I think we make up a great unit to give each victim what they need to flourish once again in society. Also contributors such as celebrities and artists who have gotten involved with our organization help create a platform for which more people are able to hear about our organization and cause and are then able to become involved.
Lauren: Can you share the details on the upcoming “A Gatsby Affair” Gala?
Deborah: I am very excited about this particular event because it is going to be a very promising night. The theme for the event is The Great Gatsby and we have many great contributors, supporters, and celebrities attending the event. The event takes place on the night of September 28th at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. We have many fun and exciting things taking place during the night such as a performance by Macy Gray and X-factor finalist Stacy Francis. A live auction with unique items such as a trip and stay to Turkey along with a flight to anywhere else in the World through Turkish Airlines, a vacation at Four Seasons Villa in Thailand, the ever famous Vodka Parties, a Memphis football package and many more on the list to be auctioned off.
Lauren: For anyone who can’t make your event, is there other ways they can support your cause?
Deborah: There are always ways to support the cause and the organization. This yearly event is the main way that we are able to fund our organization, patients surgeries, flights to and from home for our patients, and after surgery care. This event is very important for the cause but other ways can be donating money, volunteering one’s time with our organization, business sponsorship , and also just spreading the world about us and what we stand for so that more people who want to make a mark in this cause can get involved with us and our efforts.
Lauren: Do you have any other events planned next for Face Forward?
Deborah: I have a plan for the future of Face Forward and it will be to grow and expand larger so that we may have the opportunity to create a recovery home where we can fit more patients, thus be able to accept more patients. This part of the work gets very hard for me when you want to be able to help everyone but cannot. When this future plan comes to life we would like to have in-house 24 hour nurses and an in-house therapist for our patients so that we can not only have a hand in healing them on the outside but as well as the inside.
To learn more about Face Forward and “The Gatsby Affair” please visit FaceForwardLA.org.