About A Cause For Celebration
A Cause for Celebration is Learning Rights Law Center’s main fundraising event to further our programs, services, and advocacy. This year’s event will be held virtually on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 6:00pm and will be hosted by Sam Rubin, KTLA Entertainment News Reporter. This very special evening is an opportunity to celebrate a year's worth of education advocacy, honor those impacting the world of education equity, and raise much needed funds to support Learning Rights Law Center and our mission - providing equal access to education for low-income students who have been discriminated against and denied school access due to their disabilities, race, ethnicity, or because of their status in juvenile justice and foster care systems.
Our 2021 honorees are:
• Advocate Award - Emily Grodin
• Champion of Education Award - Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
• Equity Award – Jean Trebek & Trebek Family Foundation
• Founders Award - Janeen Steel
We are deeply grateful for your support! Your participation will enable us to continue our work to achieve educational equity and justice for low-income students who are denied equal access to education and support our vision for all children to receive a meaningful and equitable education which empowers them to grow into happy, productive, and independent adults. And that’s a cause for celebration!
Advocate Award - Emily Grodin
Emily Grodin is a college student studying journalism, psychology and creative writing. She has been featured in Leaders Around Me and Amuse-Bouche, a literary publication of Antioch College. Most recently she has become a published author with the release of her memoir I Have Been Buried Under Years of Dust: A Memoir of Autism and Hope (HarperCollins April 2021) co-written with her mother, Valerie Gilpeer.
Emily is an advocate for herself and members of her community in an effort to dispel the misconceptions and nonacceptance of those with autism.
A link to Emily’s book is here! I Have Been Buried Under Years of Dust is “a memoir by a mother and her autistic daughter who’d long been unable to communicate—until a miraculous breakthrough revealed a young woman with a rich and creative interior life, a poet, who’d been trapped inside for more than two decades.”
Equity Award - Jean Trebek and the Trebek Family Foundation
The Trebek Family Foundation was started by Alex and Jean Trebek to support non-profit organizations that assist in uplifting, improving and nurturing the quality of life for all. The Foundation donates to many educational institutions, crises intervention facilities, international associations as well as a musk ox farm in Alaska!
Jean Trebek and her children, Matthew and Emily, will continue Alex’s role in this vital work by overseeing the Trebek Family Foundation with the same passion and love that Alex dedicated to his philanthropic work.
Jean Trebek has actively served on the board of various charitable organizations and currently serves on Learning Rights Law Center's Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of The Compassion Project.
Jean completed her position as the president of the board of directors at the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science - where she is also a practicing professional Religious Science Practitioner.
Jean is the co-creator and co-editor of the altruistic website called INSIDEWINK (www.insidewink.com), which shares the myriad of good our world has to offer.
Founders Award - Janeen Steel
Janeen Steel has 21 years of advocating on behalf of students with disabilities. She uses a variety of approaches to fight for justice for students. Having a learning disability herself, which was not diagnosed until she was 27 years old, she knows the struggle those with learning disabilities must experience in order to obtain an education. While at UCLA Law School, Ms. Steel founded Learning Rights and obtained an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1999 to start fighting for the rights of students with disabilities living in poverty.
In 2005, Learning Rights Law Center was launched as a non-profit legal services organization, which Janeen served as the executive director for 8 years and co-executive director for seven years until April of 2021. In that 21 years, Janeen not only oversaw the organization, but was also lead or counsel on a variety of civil rights litigation and special education administrative proceedings. She has also taught special education law at a variety of Los Angeles universities, including Loyola Law School, University of Southern California Law School, University of California Los Angeles Law School, the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, and the School of Education at Loyola Marymount. At Loyola, she taught legal ethics for school counselors and drafted curriculum for school administrators to ensure school principals were knowledgeable about special education law. She has also presented at numerous conferences as a keynote speaker and has received awards for her work.
In May of 2021, Ms. Steel joined the office of Vanaman German LLP, a boutique law firm with over 40 years of advocating for the rights of students with disabilities.
Ms. Steel earned her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 1999 and a B.A. from the California State University, San Francisco, in 1993.