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Face Forward gives woman beaten by husband new start
June 01, 2012

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A woman who was disfigured after being beaten by her husband has found new hope thanks to the local reconstructive surgery group, Face Forward. She hopes her story will help other women who are domestic violence victims.

On her 28th birthday 20 years ago, the woman, who only wanted to be identified as Saundra, was beat unconscious and left on the sidewalk by her 6 foot 2 ex-Marine husband.

Saundra survived the initial beating, but a horrible infection that followed nearly finished her off and destroyed the right side of her face.

"This is maybe a thousand times better than what it looked like, I know that's hard to believe, but there was no skin here before, no muscle, nothing," said Saundra.

Dozens of surgeries later, her right eye won't close and she can't open her mouth fully. Her children are often the target of ridicule because of how their mother looks, but Saundra says they remain brave.

"Not one of my children has ever been embarrassed by the way I look, and I can't say enough of how grateful I am for that," said Saundra.

But thanks to plastic surgeon Dr. David Alessi and Face Forward, a group dedicated to helping restore the lives of victims of domestic abuse, she's getting the chance to work on herself.

Surgery is helping Saundra restore form and function to her face, but Alessi says she gives back more than receives.

"She's a voice for women who have been victims of domestic violence, and getting the word out there to other women who aren't as out coming as Saundra is or haven't gone through the steps of healing like Saundra has done, she's such an inspiration to them," said Alessi.

As Saundra's face continues to heal on the outside, she says what's most important is she feels healed on the inside.

"I get up and I am so grateful for everything that I have, but it was a lot of hard work. You have to get up, you have to keep going," she said.

With the help of her church, Habitat for Humanity and other caring groups, Saundra now has a job, a home and she counsels other women struggling with abuse.

Face Forward has given free surgeries to more than a dozen victims of domestic violence. The organization will hold a fundraiser this September. Saundra will be on hand to share more of her story.

Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo to be Honored with the Celebrating Voices Award (Exclusive)

June 22, 2011

Actress Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo will earn a special honor at the Face Forward 2nd Annual Gala for a New Beginning this year, as she is bestowed the Celebrating Voices Award.

Face Forward is a non-profit charity organization providing abused women and children with reconstructive surgery at no cost to them. Founded in 2007, the organization helps individuals recover from acid burns, lacerations, and blunt force trauma.

Giovinazzo has spent years supporting this cause. In addition to Face Forward, she has also worked with Sojourn, another organization aiding battered women and children.

"Face of Hope" author Carol Guscott, who will be named Real Woman Spokesperson, will join the Daytime Emmy Award winner at the gala. Guscott will share her story of hope and strength after a stranger left her blind and disfigured from an attack.

The event is set for July 9th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles. There will be a silent and live auction among the festivities to raise funds for the costly procedures provided by the organization.

Giovinazzo is best known for playing Gina Kincaid on Beverly Hills, 90210, Sam Marquez on Las Vegas and currently, Brenda Barrett on the long-running ABC soap General Hospital.

Face Foward's Inaugural Fundraiser Continues To Be
The Talk Of The Town

March 9, 2009

Face Forward founders Dr. David and Mrs. Deborah Alessi are ecstatic to announce that their inaugural Face Forward fundraising event at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills was a massive success. It was a who's who of celebrities, international dignitaries and the most prolific warriors in the fight against domestic violence.

Joef of the Gypsy King Family provided incredible music while uber-talented celebrity host, Kim Coles kept the evening moving with the perfect balance of humor and impassioned wisdom on the subject of domestic violence. Guests were wowed by the multitude of amazing items available for purchase through our silent auction, however, the most impressive moment of the evening was when the Alessis presented Sister Anne Kelley and The Sisters of the Good Shepherd with Face Forward's highest honor. The room was emotionally charged as Sister Anne Kelley accepted her symbolic globe for the tireless work she and the sisters have done to stop domestic violence globally for over 350 years. It was an unforgettable moment.

The Alessis established Face Forward in 2007 to provide pro-bono physical and emotional reconstruction for battered women and children victimized by domestic violence and they were elated to announce that the evening raised nearly $40,000 between guest donations and auction items sold. The money raised will go to benefit victims through education and rehabilitation, but the awareness raised will put a lifelong dent in domestic violence.

Face Foward Challenges The People Of Los Angeles
To Take A Stand And Join The Fight Against Domestic Violence

February 26, 2009

Face Forward founders Dr. David and Mrs. Deborah Alessi are officially launching their assault on domestic violence this Saturday February 28th at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 PM, celebrities, dignitaries, press and all those prepared to take a stand against domestic violence will be on hand to raise money and awareness for the Face Forward Foundation and recognize those individuals that have made it their life's work to stop domestic violence altogether.

Gifted actress, comedian and TV personality Kim Coles, who is as dynamic as she is passionate about putting an end to domestic violence, will host the event, which is sponsored by American Airlines, Alessi Skin Care, the Alpha Surgical Group, Restylane, Tory Burch and Allergan to name a few. While enjoying drinks and h'orderves, guests will have an opportunity bid on extraordinary items from our silent auction, listen to live music from Joef of the Gypsy King Family and meet the other individuals who have the courage to take action and give a voice to all those victims that never had a chance.

The Alessis established Face Forward in 2007 to provide pro-bono physical and emotional reconstruction for battered women and children victimized by domestic or gang related violence and this event is their call to action to all those brave enough to take a public stand. Since the foundation was recognized on Entertainment Tonight, the response from victims in need has been overwhelming. All victims deserve a chance... please join us.

Alessi Skin Care, Face Forward LA and The Sisters of
the Good Shepherd Join Forces to Raise Awareness
and Self Esteem

While the Alessis and Alessi Skin Care have established an extremely successful skin care legacy built on superior biochemistry and non-invasive prevention, they have also built-in a component that arranges for a percentage of all product sales to go toward the physical and emotional reconstruction of battered women and children victimized by domestic and/or gang-related violence - individuals who are incapable of affording the fees associated with proper internal and external repair. That remarkable component is their non-profit organization, "Face Forward" (www.facela.net). Established in 2007, the organization is making great strides to elevate awareness, while putting resources toward a problem that affects far too many households.

In a wonderful alignment of faith and goodwill, the Face Forward organization has officially joined forces with the oldest and most comprehensive, long-term, treatment and education-oriented shelter for battered women with children in Los Angeles. The Sisters of the Good Shepherd who run the shelter have over a 350-year history of working with abused women and children and currently serve in 70 countries. Face Forward and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd will work together in an effort to bring a complete and holistic healing solution to women and children victimized by domestic violence, with an emphasis on emotional and physical rehabilitation.

Face Forward and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd will work together with surrounding Los Angeles shelters and other agencies to identify the most appropriate candidates for the program based on an extensive screening process overseen by Sister Anne Kelley. With complete anonymity, the appropriate recipients will receive psychological treatment (therapy) from highly qualified members of the Face Forward internal healing team while Dr. Alessi himself will be standing by with his highly regarded surgical team to embark on an external healing process for our candidates by providing them with an opportunity to repair any external damage sustained during domestic abuse that may act as a painful reminder of the past, thereby impacting self esteem and the complete healing process in general. Beauty is more than skin deep and this remarkable collaboration intends to balance the inner and outer confidence.

All of these services will be provided at no expense to the candidates! All services will be covered by a percentage of the sales generated by Deborah Allesi's (CEO) Alessi Skin Care product line and donations made directly through Face Forward. It is important to recognize the donation of time by program supporters is what is making this wonderful journey of healing possible.

On February 27th 2009 at the majestic Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, Alessi Skin Care will take their foundation outreach to the next level by hosting a cocktail party/silent auction to benefit the non-profit organization, Face Forward, while celebrating the wonderful work being done in Los Angeles to protect battered women and children by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and surrounding shelters. With an elite group of guests consisting of relevant community organization heads, local community leaders, key members of the Los Angeles media and key sponsors, the event will highlight various items donated by our benevolent sponsors, which will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to benefit carefully chosen recipients in need of treatment.

This is a wonderful opportunity to give one of humanity’s deepest, darkest secrets a face…a healthy face capable of making a difference with courage, strength and hope. We will eradicate domestic violence... one face at a time.