Spotlight On Hope Film Camp


Spotlight On Hope is a unique film program specifically designed for pediatric cancer patients. Through this program, filmmakers that donate their time, expertise, and equipment so that pediatric cancer patients and siblings can write and STAR in a short film. Our pilot camp was held in September, 2013 and included the talented students photographed above. Brain cancer survivor and Think Ten Media Group Intern, Cassie Nguyen, was instrumental in making that camp possible, and her efforts now mean that even more patients can participate in Spotlight On Hope.



The Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation, established as a memorial to the late Don Strauss of Newport Beach and now designed to award $10,000 scholarships to as many as 15 California college juniors annually, has announced that among the foundation’s new group of recipients is University of California, Riverside student Cassie Nguyen.

The Strauss scholarships fund public-service projects that the students have proposed and will carry out during their senior year. Nguyen, who hails from Riverside, CA,  will carry out Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a film program for kids with cancer with the help of Think Ten Media Group, Children’s Hospital of LA (CHLA) and UCLA Theater, Film, and Television Department. Through Spotlight On Hope, patients will gather together to learn the ins and outs of the film making process where they write scripts for, act in, and edit the film they want to create. 

Unfortunately, 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year here in the U.S. and some 25% die (, 2013). Although Spotlight On Hope Film Camp cannot reduce the percent of deaths that occur, it can serve as a therapeutic outlet for pediatric cancer patients to perhaps lessen their stresses; by having something to look forward to, take their mind off of and be excited about as they battle cancer and provide a fun-filled, creative film class they can participate in. 

Don Strauss demonstrated a strong, life-long commitment to public service and education, reflected by his serving 10 years on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board, and 12 years on the Newport Beach City Council, including one as mayor.

He also founded summer internships in Washington, D.C., for students at Cornell University, Stanford University, the University of Rhode Island, the California Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd College, and he endowed scholarships at Stanford, U.C. Irvine and Harvey Mudd.  He died in 1995 at the age of 79.

Strauss’ widow, Dorothy M.R. Strauss, established the foundation in January of 1997 as a “tribute to the vision, ideals and leadership of Donald A. Strauss.” In its first year, the foundation board invited 10 universities to nominate up to three students each for Strauss scholarships, with the board making the final selection of the 10 winners.  (Dorothy Strauss saw her vision for the Foundation realized–she phoned each of the 10 first-year winners to notify them personally–before she passed away in October of 1997 at the age of 83.)

In the second year the Foundation was able to broaden its reach and award 15  $10,000 scholarships, and now gives 10-15 each year.  This represents the Foundation’s 18th group of recipients—since its inception, the Foundation has now awarded more than 240 scholarships–and like their counterparts in the past, all of these new recipients have extensive records of community and public service, as well as a demonstrated desire to “make a difference.”


CONTACT:    Cassie Nguyen (951) 789-8401

Duncan Strauss  (714) 321-2114


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