Lifeworks is the youth development and mentoring program of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, and it offers one on one, peer, and group mentoring opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 12-24. And on March 22, you can support Lifeworks at the book event for Don't Judge a Book, a project by author Michal Gregus and photographer David Khinda.
Gregus, reflecting on the insecurities that prompted him to pass judgement on other people based solely on their appearances, engaged in an informal study to examine how we view harsh and erroneous opinions of others, especially the ones that lead to bullying and harrassment. Using photos by Khinda of models and television figures (including Rib Hillis of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Patricia Kara of Deal or No Deal, Olga Grinenko of Dancing with the Stars, model Dante Spencer, and Lasse Larsen international male model famous for his Pepsi commercial with Cindy Crawford) he showed the images to a panel of people who didn't know the photo subjects, who then offered up their opinions on the character of the person depicted. The people depicted responded with their thoughts about those assumptions, telling their own stories about what it feels like to be pre-judged.
"I wanted to follow up with a book that delivers a message we can all relate to, and pass it on to our younger generations by donating all the proceeds to LifeWorks Mentoring," says Gregus. "Funds will be used to support their current and future programs focusing on the issue of instilling healthy self-confidence, self-awareness and self-love in our new generations and by doing so help eliminate the need to judge, outcast or bully."
The book launch and fundraiser is March 22 in West Hollywood. More information and tickets are available at DontJudgeABook.org.