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Samantha Harris of DWTS and ET on Feeding America’s Hungry Children

Samantha Harris Works with Feeding America.Org to Help Stop Childhood Hunger in America

We caught Samantha Harris, formally co-host of Dancing With The Stars and Entertainment Tonight, and recently on Stars Earn Strips, at the GBK Gifting Suites for the 2012 Oscars. Stars come out to support great charities and businesses that often support their own charities.

I really love this charity as past Los Angeles Coordinator of Feed333 which for 3 years running, was the nations #1 largest one day food giveaway, I am familiar with the hunger issue in America and it is not just about the homeless. We are talking about the working poor in this country. Below you will find statistics that should make us all a bit embarrassed.

What a great honor it was to get to interview such a well known interviewer. I did not ask her how I did, but I can tell you how cool Samantha was.

I left a little leader on this interview to show you what I mean. She was in a hurry and we had camera issues. She just dealt and came back when we fixed it.

She told me that she was not new to technical difficulties. Even though she has interviewed some of the most important or well known people of our time she made me feel so comfortable… Thanks Samantha. – JW

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Samantha HarrisSamantha Harris

A seasoned entertainment news journalist and two-time Emmy-nominated TV personality, Samantha Harris was recently seen co-hosting Stars Earn Strips  with General Wesley Clark four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander on NBC. She commentated the action for a plethora of celebrities as they competed on special forces missions. Samantha is also well known for her work on the world’s #1 entertainment news program, Entertainment Tonight, as correspondent.  In just her first months with the show, she covered the Cannes Film Festival, traveled to two film sets in Hawaii (for interviews with Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman), and also interviewed stars such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Russell Crowe, Sting, Cate Blanchett, Michael Douglas and more!

Samantha is best-known for her eight seasons co-hosting the live ABC hit Dancing With The Stars, which averaged more than 30 million viewers weekly and was the #2 most-watched show in the U.S. in each of those years.  In Season 2, she even kicked up her heals on the ballroom floor to perform a Jive routine with World Smooth Champion and DWTS professional dancer Jonathan Roberts.

Simultaneously with her time on DWTS, Samantha pulled double hosting duty as she passionately shared her opinion nightly as a panelist and correspondent on the entertainment news program CBS Television Distribution’s The Insider.

In her first year with the program, she covered President Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.; surfed the North Coast of Oahu during an interview with 19-year-old surfing champion Bethany Hamilton – who lost her arm to a shark attack at age 13; interviewed Oprah in Chicago and Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan in LA, in the days following her father’s death; as well as interviewed Hollywood’s A-list on the red carpet at the Emmys, SAG Awards, Golden Globes and Oscars.

Additionally, Samantha made her Broadway debut in summer 2009 in New York City, singing and dancing for sold-out audiences playing the iconic role of “Roxie Hart” in the long-running musical CHICAGO.

Samantha has been seen on a myriad of TV shows, including: filling in for Meredith Vieira as a guest host for a week on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire; multiple times as a guest host on ABC’s The View; contributing as a special correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America.

One of her greatest honors was hosting, alongside Regis Philbin, the live official red carpet pre-show for ABC’s 80th Annual Academy Awards: Road To the Red Carpet, which garnered nearly one billion viewers worldwide.

samantha harrisBeginning in January 2005 and continuing for four years, Harris was seen in over 130 countries in 600 million homes on E! Entertainment Television.  In addition to writing, producing and reporting daily for E! News, she co-hosted the network’s live award-show coverage for the Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys.  Samantha has also found herself reporting from inside San Quentin Penitentiary as host for E!’s THS Investigates, a spin-off series from the producers of E! True Hollywood Story.

Prior to her work on The Insider and E!, Samantha served as the weekend co-host and full-time correspondent for the nationally syndicated entertainment news magazine Extra which she joined in 2003.  As a correspondent who sought out unique stories, Samantha took to the stage performing with Cirque du Soleil, sang a duet with Wayne Newton during his live show in Las Vegas, as well as dancing her way into the arms of the late beloved Patrick Swayze backstage, while he was starring in the LA tour-stop of Chicago.

Samantha’s other hosting credits include FOX’s The Next Joe Millionaire, AMC Access (a show produced by NBC’s Access Hollywood forthe AMC network).

Harris’ triple-threat talents were noticed within her first years living in Los Angeles.  Hot off the North American musical tour Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python (where Samantha’s comedic, vocal, and dance performance electrified audiences at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and other prestigious venues), CBS cast her as America’s sweetheart, “Dawn Wells aka Mary Ann”, in its made-for-TV movie Surviving Gilligan’s Island.  Samantha’s other acting credits include the multi-award winning Reefer Madness!: The New “Hit” Musical(original cast) as well as multiple feature films and television shows.

In addition to gracing the cover of Muscle & Fitness HERS magazine a record four times,Samantha has also been seen on the covers of a variety of other magazine including USA Today magazine, FIRST, Fit Parent.  She has been featured inmany magazines including SHAPE, People, Health, Self, and others.  As a fitness enthusiast, she loves dancing, cardio-sculpting, Bikram yoga but will also confess… she’s a dessert fanatic!

Samantha is actively involved in various charities. She is on the Entertainment Council of Feeding America and has actively supported the Revlon Run/Walk and What A Pair for cancer research, Operation Smile, P.S. Arts, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America and others.

In 2009, Samantha was given the honor of making her Wall Street debut by ‘Ringing The Bell’ to open trading at the New York Stock Exchange in front of a television audience of more than 120 million.

Born and raised in Hopkins, MN by a rock concert promoter father and dancer mother – who together created and produced one of the country’s first Renaissance festivals, King Richard’s Faire– Samantha went on to graduate with honors from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, IL.  She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband, Michael, and their two daughters, Josselyn and Hillary.

So now that Samantha is not with Dancing with The Stars and E! Entertainment, what is she up to? Samantha has teamed up with the charity Feeding America and its partner Nestle’s Juicy Juice as the spokesperson for this summer’s Fruit For All Project, which will donate 35 million pieces of fresh fruit to children and families in need.”

For more info and photos of Samantha Harris, go to www.samantha-harris.com

Feeding America

In many ways, America is the land of plenty. But for 1 in 6 people in the United States, hunger is a reality. Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different.

Right now, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger.  These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.

It’s time to educate ourselves about the causes of hunger in America.

Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity. Through its network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America provides assistance to more than 25 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States each year.

Take the Hunger Quiz

Hunger & Poverty Statistics

Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same.  Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity.

Poverty [1]

  • In 2009, 43.6 million people (14.3 percent) were in poverty.
  • In 2009, 8.8 million (11.1% percent) families were in poverty.
  • In 2009, 24.7 million (12.9 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.
  • In 2009, 15.5 million (20.7 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
  • In 2009, 3.4 million (8.9 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.

Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security[2]

  • In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.6 million adults and 16.2 million children.
  • In 2010, 14.5 percent of households (17.2 million households) were food insecure.
  • In 2010, 5.4 percent of households (6.4 million households) experienced very low food security.
  • In 2010, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.2 percent compared to 11.7 percent.
  • In 2010, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.2 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (35.1 percent) or single men (25.4 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).
  • In 2009, 8.0 percent of seniors living alone (925,000 households) were food insecure.
  • Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 5 percent in Steele County, ND to a high of 38 percent in Wilcox County, AL.[3]

Nine states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2008-2010:1

 United States                    14.6%
 Mississippi                      19.4%
 Texas                            18.8%
 Arkansas                         18.6%
 Alabama                          17.3%
 Georgia                          16.9%
 Ohio                             16.4%
 Florida                          16.1%
 California                       15.9%
 North Carolina                   15.7%

Use of Emergency Food Assistance and Federal Food Assistance Programs

  • In 2010, 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times.2
  • In 2010, 59.2 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.2
  • Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to an estimated 37 million low-income people annually, a 46 percent increase from 25 million since Hunger in America 2010.[4]
  • Among members of Feeding America, 74 percent of pantries, 65 percent of kitchens, and 54 percent of shelters reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites.4

[1] U.S. Census Bureau. Carmen  DeNavas-Walt, B. Proctor, C. Lee.  Income, Poverty, and Heath Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2009.

[2] USDA. Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Andrews, M., & Carlson, S.  Household Food Security in the United States in 2010.

[3] Feeding America. Gundersen, G., Waxman, E., Engelhard, E., & Brown, J. Map the Meal Gap, 2011.

[4]Rhoda Cohen, J., Mabli, F., Potter, Z., Zhao. Mathematica Policy Research, Feeding America.  Hunger in America 2010.  February 2010.


[i] U.S. Department of Labor.Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2010 Annual Average Unemployment Rates.

Feeding America Website

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Thanks to GBK Events – Gavin and his great staff. As always you host the best.

Related Posts:
Samantha Harris from Dancing with the Stars and Entertainment Tonight has Revealed her Cancer has Spread.

Karina Smirnoff of Dancing with The Stars on Helping Kids Learn the Arts

Karina Smirnoff of Dancing with The Stars Gives Back Helping Kids Get Affordable Arts Education

Things were pretty crazy as a bunch of celebrities came, all at the same time, into the tent around the pool on the roof of the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills. 

Karina was busy visiting vendors and non-profit booths to help them promote their projects and products, when she stopped for a minute to talk to me about her passion AIM.

Karina was so fun and so cool and she was happy to talk about the cause she has been supporting.

So Karina thank you very much for taking the time and being so gracious. – JW

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Karina SmirnoffKarina Smirnoff

Season 13 Mirror Ball Champion Karina Smirnoff has made her mark for the past six years as one of the featured dancers on ABC’s hit reality series Dancing with the Stars. Her success on Dancing with the Stars, the #1 rated show in its category averaging 36+ million viewers per week, has made Karina a household name and a sought after beauty, health, fitness, and fashion icon. In 2011 she was the most Googled professional dancer on the show.

What most people don’t know about the Ukrainian beauty is that her skills are not merely physical. She studied diligently at Fordham University in New York and earned two degrees – a B.A. in Economics and in Information Systems Programming. Karina is also a talented fashion designer and choreographer. She choreographs all of her own partnered routines on Dancing with the Stars and has been designing all of the costumes for both her and her current partner for the season since day one.

Karina started competing in ballroom dancing competitions at the age of 11. She is a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. She has won the title at the UK Open, is a three-time champion at the US Open, two-time champion at the Asian Open, five-time champion at the Dutch Open, and five-time US National Professional Champion. She has taken second at the British Open Blackpool Dance Festival and she is the first woman to also ever make the “British Professional Final” with three different partners. Karina has also been ranked #2 in the world for Latin Dance.

She is considered “one of the most stylish and fit stars in Hollywood” and has been featured in numerous publications: FHM, Fitness Magazine, LA Confidential, Muscle & Fitness, TV Guide, and Woman’s World. She is a regular on the pages of People Magazine, Life & Style, US Weekly, OK! Magazine, and In Touch.

In 2011, Karina released two new designs from her Bearpaw Boots KS Collection – the Alyeska and the Capulet. She also joined forces with Girlactik Beauty to create Karina’s Hurry Up & Get Ready Look – a quick solution to look party perfect in minutes. She released her first successful dance fitness DVD called Shape Up with Karina and will be releasing a series of workout DVD’s called DanceFITNESS. She also opened a successful dance studio in Woodland Hills, CA called Karina Smirnoff Dance. The studio incorporates competitive, social dance classes, and fitness dance classes, as well as a scholarship program for at-risk youth directly related to her charity Dance Intervention – a division of Alternative Intervention Models.

Karina has a passion for environmental causes and her dance studio is the first eco-friendly LEED certified studio of its kind. In addition, Karina has led a celebrity consortium to activate the Wildlife Champions initiative with Procter & Gamble. She is also a PETA spokeswoman for the “I’d rather dance naked than wear fur” billboard and print campaign.

Karina recently launched her successful DanceFIT – KS program. DanceFIT – KS is a customized, unique fitness experience for hotel, resort, and cruise ship guests with a celebrity dance instructor that they will not get elsewhere. It is also gaining momentum at large, medium and small corporations as a way to keep workers motivated in the workplace, build company morale, and help workers achieve their health and wellness goals. Karina is touring internationally with the program.

Her past accomplishments include a starring role in Broadway’s hit record breaking sold out show Burn the Floor and a performance at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Karina has hosted segments for E! News, TV Guide, EXTRA, and has appeared in specials on Bravo, ABC, and Lifetime. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Hannah Montana, among others. She has also appeared in the film Shall We Dance.

Karina is a versatile and dynamic talent and a force to be reckoned with. She continues to captivate fans and audiences worldwide with her charismatic personality, unparalleled performance capabilities, beauty, and grace.

Alternative Intervention Models

Alternative Intervention Model’s goal it to enrich lives through the arts.

Our mission is to transform and develop hearts and minds of at-risk youth using the arts to inspire critical self-reflection and self-improvement.

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Alternative Intervention Models envisions an educational system transformed at its core to recognize the value of “heART Education”: educating the hearts of youth and instilling emotional literacy through training in the arts. Education is a journey of self exploration as well as an exploration of our relationship to the world around us.

Through the process of heART education we help youth examine their purpose and relevance in life. We believe that the most powerful and most effective way to positively effect the minds of youth is to first reach them via the heart with art being the most effective tool. In a time of tremendous pain and struggle globally, it is through the study of arts and the artist that we learn our humanity and develop the skills necessary to heal our diverse communities emotionally while uniting them around shared experiences and values.

Leila on radio

Our Core Values

Education – a lifelong process of developing individuals technically, emotionally, physically, spiritually and otherwise to reach their full
potential.

Love – the most powerful force in life, the catalyst of all of our work
and art.

Creativity – a character trait with which we are all born; we believe we are all called to express our unique creativity.

Respect – being aware of and valuing the diversity of other individuals, other cultures, other ways of life.

Empathy – the arts are a tool that help us understand and relate to each other; heART education teaches greater empathy.

Community – it takes a village to raise a child; we live in a global village and are responsible for modeling the best examples for the youth.

Accountability – through difficult and controversial conversations using the arts, we help each other become accountable for ourselves and each other.

SKIM performs

1) Artist Intervention – in our Artist intervention programs we hold assemblies at elementary schools, high school, and colleges designed for the specific audiences at these various locations based on the issues that they need to address in their communities. We also operate Mic Sessions workshops at juvenile facilities, community centers, prisons, group homes, and other locations. Artist educators, a diverse selection of music artists perform at assemblies and at Mic Sessions workshops, and focus on unifying members of these various communities using music to breakdown barriers and open lines of communication and freedom of self-expression.

2) Dance Intervention – Karina Smirnoff heads up our Dance Intervention program, working with youth who find dance and movement as their chosen form of artistic self-expression. This program teaches consistency, dedication, attention to detail, and healthy physical and emotional lifestyle.

3) Athletic Intervention – AIM’s Athletic Intervention programs currently include basketball, yoga, and fitness training. Ahmad Clayton directs our Athletic Intervention program, bringing a unique form of basketball training to at-risk youth that focuses on providing a high quality alternative option to high cost athletic after school programs.

AIM’s Athletic Intervention programs help youth grow technically, emotionally, and physically while instilling values such as teamwork, strength, healthy-diet, non-violence, positive work ethic, and good sportsmanship.

4) Acting Intervention – AIM’s Acting Intervention program features guest lectures and workshops from highly experienced film industry professionals that train actors/actresses as artists in every facet of the film entertainment business. Focused mostly on aspiring teenage and young adult actors/actresses, the Acting Intervention program provides mentors, skill training, and career guidance. One of the major goals is to engage these youth and help them learn to tell their narrative and their communities narrative through their work.

5) Media Intervention – AIM’s Media Intervention program provides education in traditional media and new media technology, teaching youth about the resources that are accessible to them within and outside of their communities. We show youth how to effectively communicate on a local and global level using new media and a host of collaborative methods made available via the internet and related technologies.

AIM Website

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Thanks to GBK Productions – Gavin and his great staff. As always you host the best.