Christian Bale gave a heartfelt boost to foster children and foster families during a press conference at Cinespace Studios yesterday afternoon. Arriving via red eye from Los Angeles, the award-winning actor joined a five-member crew to kick off the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois monthlong campaign, #Voices4FosterCare.
“People keep saying to me today, ‘thank you for helping,’ but this is helping me way more,” he told the crowd of nearly a hundred media personalities, filmmakers, production professionals, and interns. “It creates enormous satisfaction to be involved with such a worthwhile organization.”
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is a nonprofit that provides housing for foster families in Illinois neighborhoods that are specifically designed for the purpose. The organization is committed to keeping siblings together and working with full time foster parents, efforts that are fairly unique in the foster care world.
The #Voices4FosterCare campaign is an effort to “further the important conversation on the ever-changing landscape of child welfare in Illinois and beyond.” It was launched on a daylong event that started with the kick-off at Cinespace Studios and proceeded to a “Dining & Conversation 2019” event at Millennium Park.
Hosted by Sodexo, a Food and Facilities Management company with a big emphasis on quality of life, “Dining & Conversation 2019” included dozens of celebrity chefs and Chicago luminaries.
Bale’s enthusiasm for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois has grown since he began visiting them and realizing that they provide the kind of support that “gets sort of passed over and forgotten when it comes to charities.”
“I think there’s such a simple love and a simple fundamental element of what it means to be human and care about children and care about families,” he explained. “There’s nothing complicated about that.”
His remarks were complemented by a warm and humble attitude that lasted throughout the event. Pausing midway through his presentation, he let the crowd in on a personal goal.
“I will allow myself to say I’m very excited right now and very hopeful about bringing an SOS Children’s Village to Los Angeles,” he confided. “This silly thing called celebrity might actually end up causing some good.”
THE COMMUNITY EFFORT
Tevin Marbeth, Christian Bale, Tim McCormick, Michael Landers, and Alex Pissios
Helping Bale kick-off the campaign were aspiring actor Tevin Marbeth, SOS Villages Illinois CEO Tim McCormick, Sodexo Vice President Michael Landers, and Cinespace President Alex Pissios.
Pissios opened the conference by recalling that he has been acquainted with SOS Children’s Villages Illinois since visiting one of its neighborhoods in Roosevelt Square Village, “less than a mile from here.” He compared their efforts to the studio’s CineCares Foundation and Mirkopoulus Internship Program, both of which serve the North Lawndale community.
“The founder of the studio, my Uncle Nick Mirkopoulis, believed fervently in the strength of the family and the village that supports existence of the family for generations,” he continued. “SOS Children’s Villages is an organization that we are proud to support and consider part of our extended family.”
Among the people who have benefitted from SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is Marbeth, a former resident.
While addressing the crowd, he gave a shout-out to his mother, Sandra, a 25-year foster parent who recently welcomed her 50th foster child.
“I grew up in the Lockport Village with seven of my siblings where we all received care and love from my amazing mother — I love you, Mommy,” he said. “With her support, I was able to excel at academics, graduate high school and then college, and was empowered to pursue my dream of acting.”