Mentor Awards

October 16, 2019 6:00 - 9:00 pm

1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Help the children from Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services by contributing to our fundraising efforts.

Sorry, we cannot attend this year's Mentors Awards Gala

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As we enter our 113th year of quality services to at-risk children and their families, I thank you for your generous support of Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services. I also want to acknowledge and congratulate tonight's award winners,

Shehab & Mary Mohammad
Mentor Award Recipients

Maz Jobrani
Humanitarian Award Recipient


Joe Binning
Guest Speaker
Former Pacific Lodge Resident

for their significant contributions towards enriching the lives of Los Angeles' at-risk population.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our returning emcee Michaela Pereira for the countless hours of hard work towards making this event the success that it is.

Lastly, I'd like to thank my dedicated Mentor Awards Gala committee members, development staff, and the many staff volunteers who worked so hard in putting this event together ensuring that we do not need to spend any funds raised tonight on an outside event planner, which means that our children achieve the maximum benefit from your participation.

Sil Orlando, CEO

See you there!

Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services 6957 North Figueroa Street Los Angeles, California 90042

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Shehab & Mary Mohammad

Mentor Award

Shehab Mohammad is the President and Chief Executive Officer of NWF Advisory Group, LLC, a Wealth Management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. He focuses most of his time and energy managing the firm and through his leadership, the company has expanded with offices throughout several western states. He graduated from UCLA in 1994 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.

Mary spent the early part of her career working in a special education school and later taught first grade at a charter school. Although she has not formally taught in a classroom for some time, she has remained involved in education by assessing and tutoring struggling readers, helping to lead reading groups, and has worked one-on-one with students working through various issues. Mary is passionate about continuing to help others in an educational setting and recently obtained her Master's Degree in Reading Literacy from Loyola Marymount University.

Shehab and Mary pride themselves on giving back to the community. They have donated their time and resources to nonprofit organizations such as Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services, Children Today, Mercy House, and The Pegasus School Giving Fund.

For the past twelve years, they have been members of the Advisory Board for Optimist Youth Homes. Shehab is the founder of the Michael E. Curry Foundation, which supports the football program at Optimist and Mary sits on the Special Projects Committee of the Advisory Board which leads activities for the youth such as birthday parties, barbecues, graduation dinners and the annual stocking stuffing. Their daughter Amirah has also participated in Optimist events since she was a baby.

Shehab and Mary have been married since 2006 and reside in Long Beach, CA, with their daughter, Amirah. They enjoy an active lifestyle, love to exercise, travel, cook, go to the beach and spend time with their family. Mary is always looking for the next adrenaline rush such as skydiving and Shehab competes in Triathlons, recently completing a full Ironman.


Maz Jobrani

Humanitarian Award

Maz Jobrani was born in Iran and grew up in Northern California from the age of 6. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley and moved to Southern California where he got into standup comedy and acting. He now tours the world performing his comedy and acts in film and TV. He is a member of the board for the Persian American Cancer Institute ( and is involved in many other charities including the International Society for Children with Cancer, the Children's Music Fund and International Medical Corps.

In the Spring of 2016, Maz performed at the White House where he had the privilege of introducing Michelle Obama. He was a founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which aired on Comedy Central. Maz starred as the title character in the award-winning indie comedy, JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO, a film which he co-wrote and co-produced and is now available on all major outlets online. He has co-starred in many films including Disney's, DESCENDANTS, Sydney Pollack's THE INTERPRETER and Ice Cube's FRIDAY AFTER NEXT. With over 50 guest star appearances, Maz can regularly be seen on television's most popular shows. Guest stars include GREY'S ANATOMY, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM,and SHAMELESS. He is a regular panelist on NPR's WAIT WAIT DONT TELL ME and has given 2 TED Talks. His LA Times Best Selling Book, I'M NOT A TERRORIST BUT I'VE PLAYED ONE ON TV, was published by Simon & Schuster. Maz executive produced EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE, a documentary about his sister's battle with breast cancer which is currently available on iTunes.

Maz's first original NETFLIX standup special "Immigrant" was filmed at the Kennedy Center and is currently available for streaming. He has also put out three other solo specials on SHOWTIME including: "Brown and Friendly", "I Come in Peace", and "I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One on TV".

Joseph Binning

Joe Binning

Guest Speaker
Former Pacific Lodge Resident

Joseph Binning is the President and Founder of MEPCor Inc., a full-service Building Information Modeling service company based in San Diego, catering to the design and construction industry nationally.

Joseph has been involved in the Building Information Modeling industry for the past 22 years, since its inception, saw the future in 3D modeling and project coordination and started MEPCor. Since then, he has worked on notable projects throughout the country and was one of the first recipients in the country to receive an accredited degree in Building Information Modeling.

As a past participant of the Ironman series Triathlons and a mentor with Team in Training, the worlds largest endurance training program which raises money for patient and family support for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to battle cancers of all types, he has a heart for giving back and understands the work and sacrifice needed to achieve a goal in order to benefit a cause.

Joseph serves on the Board of Trustees for the San Diego Center for Children and is a generous supporter of Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services. At the age of 15, Joseph resided at the Pacific Lodge Campus of Optimist due to a troubled home life and continues to be grateful for the experiences and lessons he learned while there. Today, it's his belief that no child should suffer, in any way, at any time, and those with the ability to help, should.

Binning holds a degree in Building Information Modeling from the International Academy of Design and Technology, Florida Campus and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California campus.

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Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services


1201 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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