Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019                    Time: 5:30pm              Venue: Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown, 1128 W Hastings Street


The 3rd annual SOS Children’s Village BC – International Foster Awards Gala recognizes leadership and success in foster care. It celebrates inspiring former foster children who have triumphed over adversity. It raises money to help current foster children in dire need and to fight for a better model of care in BC.

The gala is a magical and inspiring evening at the spectacular Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, featuring a delicious plated three course dinner and dessert, with exceptional drinks available by donation at the bar.

The Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel is one of downtown’s premier hotels, featuring stylish guest rooms, world-class food, and world-class service. At the top of the grand staircase is the elegant Pinnacle Ballroom, newly renovated as of April 2018. Beautiful Coal Harbour is in short walking distance and a there are splendid coastal mountain and city views from inside the hotel.

With 250 guests attending, the evening features live entertainment, exciting live and silent auctions, a trip raffle, a 50/50 draw, and a little surprise from SOS Villages around the world – a perfect way to kick off the holiday season in style, and for a great cause.

The most rewarding part of the evening is that net proceeds go directly to SOS Children’s Village BC’s programs and homes for local foster children, and for youth who have aged out of care at 19 years old and are struggling with homelessness.


SEATS @ $179 EACH (Save $20 off the regular price)

Includes plated three course dinner and live entertainment. A guest list will be used, rather than issuing tickets. Buying more than one seat? Provide dinner preferences for your guests on the next page under ‘Special Instructions’.

Dinner Preference:

TABLE OF 8 @ $1,400 EACH (Save $192 off the regular price)

Dinner Preference:


View the photo album for the 2018 SOS International Foster Awards Gala


Antwone Fisher is an award-winning film and literary writer. Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but was subsequently moved and suffered twelve years of abuse at the hands of his new foster family.

Unable to locate a new placement for him, at age 14, Antwone was sent to a reform school in western Pennsylvania were he remained until he graduated high school at 17. Emancipated from foster care, he found himself in the world alone and homeless, living on the streets of Cleveland.

Antwone set on a course of healing when he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served his country for eleven years. After his honorable discharge from the military, Antwone became a Federal Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and, after three years of service, he took a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment working as a Security Officer. It was at Sony Pictures that Antwone was referred to a free screenwriting course.

Antwone has worked in Hollywood for 20 years as a writer and producer, with an impressive fourteen writing projects or assignments with the major studios. Among those projects is the feature classic, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Oscar- winning actor Denzel Washington, written by Antwone and based on his own life. The film garnered numerous nominations and awards. Antwone received the renowned Humanitas Prize, the Screenwriter of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners, and was listed in Variety’s “Fifty People to Watch.”

Antwone was also named among Fade In Magazine’s “100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know” in 2005. On May 10, 2003 Antwone received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Cleveland State University. On April 23, 2013 Antwone testified before the Senate Finance committee. The hearing was entitled: The Antwone Fisher Story as a Case Study for Child Welfare.

Antwone’s first book, Finding Fish: A Memoir, about his inspiring story, became a New York Times best seller. His collection of poetry, Who Will Cry For The Little Boy?, a national best seller, creatively disclosed the road from his tumultuous childhood to the man he is today. Antwone’s poetry is featured in Nikki Giovanni’s book for children, Hip Hop Speaks to Children. His third book, A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie And Other Lessons For Succeeding In Life, won the award for Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional from the 2011 NAACP Awards and is in its third printing.

Antwone continues as a prolific writer with his stage project, Antwone Fisher: A Play. His most recent screenwriting project is Training Day 2. Antwone made his film directing debut with the award-winning short film, My Summer Friend, and produced, wrote, and directed the 2013 documentary, This Life of Mine. Antwone teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, the country’s largest continuing education writing program.


SOS Children’s Village BC is part of SOS Children’s Villages, the largest non- governmental, non-denominational child development organization in the world. It has existed for over 65 years with a presence in 135 countries and 573 Villages, with a seat at the UN to be the voice for the rights of children everywhere. SOS Children’s Village BC was founded in 1986 as a grassroots response to deficiencies in the provincial foster care system characterized by frequent placement breakdowns, separation of siblings, and moves for children and youth. Even today, the state of foster care remains a “North American epidemic”. Over a hundred children in the foster care system die every year in our province.

But there is a better way. The unique and proven Village model is based on SOS International founder Hermann Gmeiner’s belief that a loving, professional caregiver (with trauma training), a family atmosphere that keeps siblings together, a home, and a community of support create a circle of healing, belonging, and growth for a child in need.

These elements are evident in our Village, located in a picturesque area of Surrey, where the need is most acute. Since its opening, the only SOS Children’s Village in all of Canada has provided care and support to foster children and their families in your community; helping to build on individual strengths and cultivate social networks to maximize each child’s opportunities for success. Professional counsellors and support staff are on-site, as the majority of the kids have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

We help the most vulnerable and least visible children in our society, and we are proud of bringing international best practices for the care of children to British Columbia. We continue to develop a separate model of care for the troubled provincial child welfare system to emulate, setting the standard for the care of foster children and youth in BC. Indeed, our Village has a track record of 100% of SOS foster youth graduating high school within two years of expected date, versus only 40% of foster youth graduating in the BC foster care system.

Only 6% of our charity’s funding comes from the government, with the vast majority coming from donors. We now have a Village of 12 homes, a 2.5 acre campus with Village Centre and recreation areas, and we recently completed a $450,000 capital campaign to build five transition to adulthood suites for homeless youth aging out of care. With programs that are trauma-informed, our model is based on lifelong engagement and embracing the cultural heritage of each child. Our vision is to expand our Village model to every town in British Columbia.

100% of the net proceeds from this event will go directly to our programs. Your support of the SOS International Foster Awards Gala will help provide crucial programs to vulnerable children and youth in your community and help stop the needless deaths.


In the past our galas have been averaging between $50,000 to $75,000 in funds raised, and $100,000 is where we truly need to be in order to ensure our programs and homes for foster children and youth in need can continue, as well as expand. It is wonderful that we have an SOS Children’s Village in Surrey, but our vision is to have Villages across British Columbia, and we need your support in order to make it happen. The SOS International Foster Awards Gala is a focused fundraising event – it’s not just about buying the ticket and bidding on auction items – it’s about proudly making that cash donation to help us reach our goal and to change lives!

If you are interested in becoming a $5K Gold or $3K VIP Table Sponsor of the SOS International Foster Awards Gala, which includes a complimentary preferred table with reserved seating, please contact Rose Hamilton at or (604) 574-2964 ext. 112. There are only four Gold sponsorships available and eight VIP Table sponsorships.


$50 – Can support the most pressing needs of the children in our programs.

$100 – Can provide a 'welcome home' package for a new arrival to the Village (Pajamas, toys, toiletries, other basics to make them feel welcome, and most importantly, a name plate for their room door).

$250 – Can fund a session of the Village Learning Club - providing socialization and academic support.

$500 – Can cover the cost of sports equipment and fees for a year for a child in care.

$1,000 – Can provide therapy for a year to help a young person deal with the trauma they have experienced.

Other: $


Your transaction is secure!
Sage Payment Solutions is a leading provider of PCI compliant processing solutions for credit and debit cards, cheques, recurring payments, and gift cards. Our online processor accepts Visa and MasterCard. For American Express, please call us at (604) 574-2964 to process your donation.


Desirée Dawson is well known as the love-spreading human who won the CBC Searchlight Competition in May 2016 (Watch the finale video here). Desirée currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the Coast Salish peoples. Desirée’s single “Hide” helped her win the title of CBC Searchlight winner and is her first single on iTunes, Spotify, and CBC radio, garnering 1 million streams on Spotify.

Her second released single, and title track to her album, “Wild Heart”, spent many weeks on the CBC Top 20 and was remixed by over 2,000 producers from all corners of the globe. Her latest single, “Where Do We Go”, is her 3rd song to be broadcasted across Canada on CBC radio. Desirée’s debut album, “Wild Heart”, came out February 2017. “Wild Heart” has been added to many prominent playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, Stingray music, and many more stations.

Desirée has graced the stages of many renowned venues such as the Vogue Theatre, the Commodore Ballroom, the York Theatre, and the Surrey Civic Theatre. You may have also seen her in Toronto at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, CBC Music Festival, and many more. Desirée is currently working on a new album set to be released Fall 2018. Desirée makes a point of having every song be honest and emotionally charged. She is very passionate about healing as a collective, using the power of melodies, lyrics, and instrumentation to impact listeners. Through this, her music has managed to travel the world over. Desirée has been featured on Billboard Dance, Trap Nation, Selected, Suicide Sheep, and Vice Music for her collaboration with many EDM producers around the world.








“Serving as the Live Auctioneer for the SOS gala was absolutely brilliant! The atmosphere was full of energy and love.”

– Marco Lannuzzi, BC Lions, Governor General’s Medal recipient

“Telling my story, and honouring my foster family when I received my award, was so much more emotional than I ever expected. This was a room full of people who really understand and care. About what I experienced, about what I overcame, and about what every kid in the system goes through. I can’t say enough good things about SOS BC, and I will continue to support their incredible work.”

– Tom Watson, 2017 SOS International Foster Award Winner

“The SOS International Foster Awards Gala is a great event not to be missed! The venue was stunning and the food scrumptious. It’s a fun night of local entertainment and glamour. Helping raise funding is simple when there are so many great silent and live auction items to choose from and a great cause.”

– Amber Belzer, Global BC Traffic Reporter

“I hate galas … but this one is fun! I am so glad I am here.”

– Gala VIP Table Guest


Derek Clark’s life is one of resilience and redemption. As a child he suffered unthinkable child abuse, abandonment, and emotional distress before being turned over to the psychiatric hospital at age five. His 13 years in the San Francisco bay area foster care system reflected an early life of humiliation, aggression, emotional distress, overwhelming anxiety, and being wrongfully labeled.

Eventually, with the help of loving foster parents and a fantastic social worker, he defied the artificial limitations imposed upon him. Derek knows first-hand how to cope with adversity and overcoming hardship. His past has never held him back from accomplishing what he set his heart and mind to.

Derek is a motivational speaker, author, and has recently become a viral video sensation for his “Rapping Dad” videos which have had over 200 million views. He’s also been featured on CNN Headline News, The Steve Harvey TV Show, and many other TV shows around the world.

He is the author of seven books including “Disable the Label”, “Never Limit Your Life” and the “I Will Never Give Up” book series.

Read more about Derek Clark’s inspiring story at

From an early age Tom Watson became a foster child. Tom moved through 12 foster homes before being taken into the home of Jim & Edwina Watson at the age of five. Tom has overcome tremendous odds and adversity in his life.

Tom is the founder of Recreation Excellence which is a multiple award winning recreation facilities management company. He is also the founder of Your Better Life which is an online lifestyles inspirational community. Tom is the best selling author of the book Man Shoes, he’s a sought after International speaker, consultant and television personality.

Tom attributes much of his personal and professional success to the lessons he has learned through sport. As a young man, Tom was a successful multi-sport athlete with a highly competitive spirit. His passion for sport ultimately led to a successful amateur coaching career, during which Tom coached football, basketball, volleyball and hockey teams to championships.

He has worked with elite teams, such as the Vancouver Canucks and the BC Lions, in hosting pre-season training camps and championship games. He has also organized and hosted many provincial, national and international sporting events in curling, hockey, volleyball, swimming, lacrosse and more.


SOS Children’s Village BC – International Foster Award criteria are as follows. Four areas we look at to see if a nominee has matured from foster care, or assisted youth in their time in foster care:

  1. Career – Success in their chosen career path
  2. Relationships – Have they developed or nurtured healthy supportive relationships?
  3. Giving Back – Are they personally active and engaged in their community?
  4. Philanthropy – Are they paying it forward benefiting foster children or foster programs for the future?

Nominations can be sent to, faxed to (604) 574-2967, or mailed to 302-14225 57th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3X 0H6, Canada. The deadline for nominations is June 20th.

Download International Foster Award Nomination Package



Parking Is Available In The Hotel’s Underground Lot

Dress Code: Cocktail Attire