The Venice-based St. Joseph Center held its 23rd annual Dinner Dance event May 3rd at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles.

The center’s new executive director, Valecia Adams, presided over the event, which honored her predecessor, Rhonda Meister with the Hope Through Empowerment Award.

“We are grateful that so many of our longtime friends once again demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged members of our community,” Adams said. “With their support, we are poised to provide enhanced services to our clients.”

Adams, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Culver City High School, holds a bachelor’s degree from USC and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Stanford University.

Prior to joining St. Joseph Center, Adams served as the director of the Transitional Living Program at United Friends of Children in Los Angeles, a program founded by Nancy Daly Riordan to address the unmet needs of Los Angeles’s foster children by providing emancipated foster youths with transitional housing and life skills.

AECOM Technology Corporation received the Community Service Award for its services during the planning, design and construction of St. Joseph Center’s new main facility in Venice, and program client Cindy Birchall received the center’s Special Recognition Award for overcoming great adversity on the road to self-sufficiency.

Among the nearly 400 guests attending the event were many of the center’s board members, including event chair Robyn Ross of Harry Ross Industries; board chair James Bancroft of Paisley Lane, Inc.; Steven Hilton of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Maura Winesburg of St. John’s Health Center.

Television star and longtime St. Joseph Center supporter Wendie Malick hosted the event.

St. Joseph Center is an independent, nonprofit community-based organization whose mission is “to provide working poor families, as well as homeless men, women, and children of all ages, with the inner resources and tools to become productive, stable and self-supporting members of the community.”

The center serves more than 6,000 individuals annually through ten integrated programs and a thrift store, which offers used items for sale to the public and offers vouchers for free clothing and household goods to those in need.

To learn more about St. Joseph Center’s comprehensive services,