The 2016 Opening Doors Gala benefitting Journey Home Minnesota
6:00 p.m. | Friday, October 14, 2016
Vadnais Heights Commons
655 County Road F E
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127
Group Tickets or Sponsorships
KARE 11 Investigative Reporter
Keynote Speaker: Victor Rivers
A veteran film star, best-selling author, renowned advocate for violence prevention, and the first Cuban-born football player to land a tryout with the Miami Dolphins, Victor Rivas Rivers has achieved much success. However, if not for a handful of individuals who were willing to take a stand on his behalf, Rivers doubts he would be alive today.
At age 15 after years of abuse and violence by his father on himself, his mother, siblings, and pets, Victor ran away, living briefly on the streets before taking then-unprecedented legal action against his father. He then lived with a series of families who oversaw his transformation from a rage-filled gang member to senior class president.
Rivers chronicles his story of survival in his memoir A Private Family Matter. Many of his "angels," as he calls them, were educators. Teachers and coaches who literally fed him and kept him from dropping out of school. He went on to earn a full football scholarship at Florida State University and a stint in the NFL.
After being dubbed "The Longest of Long Shots" by the Miami sports media, Rivers pursued another long shot in Hollywood. He has earned a huge following with roles in over two dozen movies, including The Mask of Zorro, The Hulk, and Blood In/Blood Out. He has appeared in multiple TV series, including LIFE, Law & Order LA, CSI Miami, JAG, and Star Trek.
Rivers continues to take on causes larger than himself—earning admiration from elected leaders and celebrities alike. Summing up Victor’s impact on and off the screen, director Taylor Hackford has described him as “a big man in heart and soul.”