Noblesse oblige ¬ó the concept that to whom much has been given, much is expected. We expect that a person of high bearing or reputation should conduct themselves in accordance with their background or the respect they have earned.

Earned respect is why we are shocked when a senator engages in an affair with a staffer, or a public figure helps to cover up a scandal. We give our collective respect and admiration to people who have worked hard to achieve and we are shocked when that respect is seemingly tossed aside for a passing fancy.

The opposite experience, when a respected celebrity reaches out and helps, is also a news-making event. When someone of power or influence does something that is seemingly out of the ordinary for them, we have the opportunity to increase our respect and improve our opinion of them.

I am experiencing that right now. I am currently helping to create a fundraiser for the Youth Mentoring Connection. This organization pairs inner-city youth with mentors, and with a structured program over nine months changes the lives of both parties.

On Aug. 4, we are hosting a private screening of the movie “Thunder Soul” at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The movie was produced and narrated by Academy-Award Winner Jamie Foxx, and he has graciously agreed to appear at the private screening.

The movie is a documentary that tells the story of the alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band who return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for their beloved band leader who turned the struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s.

“Thunder Soul” was directed by Mark Landsman, who is on the board with me at Youth Mentoring Connection, which is how we were able to get a private screening. Mark has worked with Youth Mentoring Connection and believes in the work we do, providing direction and stability in the lives of the young people in our program.

The value of a mentor in a life cannot be calculated. How do you put a value on someone who has changed the course and direction of your life? Thanks to the efforts of men like Landsman, our youth have changed from high school dropouts to college-bound scholars.

This is why as a fundraiser for Youth Mentoring Connection, the showing of an award-winning documentary, with an appearance by an Oscar-winning actor like Jamie Foxx, is so important. The money raised goes for projects like teaching young kids how to surf.

I use that example because one of our graduates came to us at 12 years old, weighing 280 pounds and with no direction in his life. We taught him to surf, which sparked in him a desire to lose 120 pounds, which lead to his being on a surfing team, which led to college.

I give of my time and effort to the Youth Mentoring Connection because I was given much by my parents and by the society I grew up in. I believe I can help young people who have less to overcome their circumstances and better their lives.

The screening begins at 6 p.m. with a reception by The Harmony Project playing light jazz. Appetizers and drinks will be available.

For tickets, visit I’d like to encourage you to attend this very special evening. Please come and enjoy some great jazz, see a wonderful movie and help Jamie Foxx support our organization.

David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on fathers’ rights and men¬ís issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969.

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