We’re brewing up some serious LUV with PEACE, coffee for a cause from our friends at Awareness Coffee. During the month of June, every time you purchase any bag of their delish brew, they will generously donate to support our LGBTQ outreach! So head on over, show your support and add ‘free2luv’ code for a special discount. Awareness Coffee shared their exquisite coffee with our UNSTOPPABLE event attendees and many reported back it was ‘the best coffee I’ve ever had!” We can’t think of a better endorsement and tastier way to support and empower LGBTQ youth.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States among youth and young adults according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and over 20% of high school students report seriously considering ending their lives. These stats are both staggering and heartbreaking and motivate us daily in our commitment to supporting and uplifting youth.
We invite you to take a stand with us and let our youth know you care. Your generosity will help us continue our outreach enhancing the lives of at-risk youth free of charge!
We’re already making a big impact in 2018 and we’re just getting started! We launched UNSTOPPABLE in L.A., reached over 6,000 youth through our East Coast UNSTOPPABLE tour with The Change, been named a 2018 Top-Rated nonprofit and our Co-Founder, Tonya Sandis has been honored with a lifetime humanitarian award for her selfless service.
With your continued support, we are able to continue to change lives and we THANK YOU!
Free2Luv®’s day of empowerment, UNSTOPPABLE was a memorable and moving day filled with powerful storytelling through music, dance, film, and spoken word.
Festivities kicked off at The Regent DTLA as the red carpet was rolled out for celebrity and influencer guests along with teens and young women from The Teen Project and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles walked the red carpet.
Attendees creatively expressed themselves as they wrote and drew what being UNSTOPPABLE meant to them on banners that adorned the hall offering a moment of thought-provoking conversation.
Free2Luv’s Co-Founder, Tonya Sandis, was honored with The Goody Awards top honor, a lifetime achievement humanitarian award, for her selfless service and commitment to empowering and supporting youth who at times feel helpless, alone, and suicidal.
Sandis was presented the award with heartfelt words by Goody Awards Founder, Liz Kelly, and pop-rock artist, GabrieLa. In her acceptance speech, Sandis emphasized: “I am honored and humbled on behalf of the sheroes and the heroes that we hold hands with every year to uplift and empower young people, who sometimes are struggling with their sexuality or are being bullied.”
Five diverse vocal powerhouses, thought-provoking spoken word poetry, beautiful dance interpretative and a powerful short film wove a beautiful story taking the audience on a journey of self-discovery. From self-doubt to self-love, artists shared their hearts and stories from coming out to rising up to be free to love who they choose. The diverse styles and talent brought to the stage uplifted and engaged the audience with powerful numbers.
Spoken word artist, LoveSea shared her heart with impactful and relatable poetry: I’m ready for the bullets that are gonna be shot at us, plus much more … And if we can’t get it right for this generation, we can lead by example for the next.”
NBC’s The Voice, Stephanie Rice, shared her story and journey of coming out and dedicated her beautiful and moving song ‘Cold Water’ to anyone going through a rough time who may feel they need to be rescued.
Pop-rock artist, GabrieLa had the audience on their feet singing and dancing along to the Free2Luv anthem with lyrics inviting everyone to ‘break the chains of hate’ and allow love to save the day.
Actress Bianca Kajlich brought the audience on a visual journey as she invited the audience to close their eyes and envision a world where we are all one. She shared a profound, personal poem titled ‘All of Me’ “What would it feel like to bare it all and stand in the center of my most cringe-worthy truths but instead of apologizing, I loved them more than I loved anything remotely resembling approval.”
Free2Luv also unveiled UNSTOPPABLE, the short film, a collaboration with actress and filmmaker Ella Lentini and team.
This short featured 50 diverse women from many walks of life reciting empowering verses sharing what makes them strong, unique, and unstoppable. Here’s an excerpt: “We don’t need to look far to find a “they” / they are the voices of doubt that hit us like a rolling fog / the voices that have drowned out our own, making us feel / less than / nonexistent / The you’ll never be this or that your too skinny, too fat / The you’ll never fit in’s / The voice that reminds you, you’re dreaming too big / for a girl living in a world / that was long ago rigged / against you. /
UNSTOPPABLE was hosted by Stephanie Gonzalez (Reporter and “Houston Life TV” Producer) and included powerful performances by actress Laya DeLeon Hayes (voice of Disney’s Doc McStuffins), Britten Healey (“Teens Wanna Know”), Actress/Singer/Songwriter Serena Laurel (pictured below), and dancers from Dance Creations (pictured above).
Kelly reported, “Everyone left UNSTOPPABLE dedicated to spreading more love and kindness in the world. Free2Luv believes that if every girl felt supported, embraced, and empowered to rock her authentic self, we can change the world, together.”
One attendee shared her experience: “With great pleasure, I have to share… I had the best time ever, at the free2luv “Unstoppable Event!” The experience was very moving. I left feeling extremely moved, loved, and inspired. You couldn’t walk out of there and keep all of that to yourself. I want to continue to be a part of making a difference in the world, showing others that love is and should always be more contagious than hate. I want children as well as other adults to know, that they should feel great about being free to be who they are, without judgment or apology. We are all a masterpiece in our own unique way, and should continue to rise up together spreading the light of life & love to everyone surrounding us! Tonya Sandis, thanks for sharing your dream through this production, with all of us. Hopefully, you will get the opportunity to make it a traveling production to share with the rest of the world. It should not stop here.”
The UNSTOPPABLE event was produced as a benefit to support Free2Luv’s art and music outreach and programming they provide year-round free of charge to underserved youth nationally.
Photos by Celeste Holmes Photography and Paper Trail Photos
Big congratulations to Advocate Lauren Suthers who has been awarded a Be Inspired Disney Citizenship and Youth Service America grant for her volunteerism with Free2Luv. Lauren is facilitating Free2BeME art empowerment workshops in her community for underserved youth and we are incredibly proud of the impact she’s making. Keep inspiring, Lauren!
Thank you, Disney and YSA for supporting Lauren’s volunteerism and our outreach efforts to create a kinder, braver, more loving world for ALL youth.
Giving Back feels good! Join us on Giving Tuesday a day of generosity, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday and give the gift of empowerment. We are passionate about bringing our arts and empowerment programming to underserved youth and with your generous support, can make a HUGE difference in the lives of youth in 2018. You can give early, too, because the entire month of November, all donations are being matched by a Free2Luv supporter. Thanks so much for your LUV and support!!
Have you ever wondered how Free2Luv was born? We have an amazing opportunity to win a $10K grant to expand our empowerment initiatives and we need your support. Take a moment to read our Co-Founder Tonya Sandis’ #MyGivingStory. You can vote daily through Nov 30th and we’d appreciate you sharing to spread the word. Your support could make a big difference in the lives of the youth we serve. Thank you so much!
Words hurt. We know firsthand the scarring and lasting impact bullying can have. It’s time for us to unite and take a stand. We invite you to TAKE THE PLEDGE and advocate for kindness.
If you or someone you know is being bullied, reach out. There is help. GET SUPPORT HERE.
Don’t let bullying define you. Let it be a vehicle to start a conversation and use your voice to create change in your community. One voice can spark a revolution of kindness. We’re here to support your efforts. Be an advocate for change and GET INVOLVED. We look forward to hearing from you!
Calling all youth who like to express themselves creatively! We have just officially launched our first ‘by YOUth’ DESIGN CONTEST! How would you like to design our next cause-inspired tee and WIN some cool prizes? Get your Creativity flowing! Who knows, you may be our next featured designer!
And, whether you submit a design or not, your voice matters. Help us choose the winning design. You can VOTE HERE daily!