Pop superstar Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta were saluted for their charity work on Saturday (10Oct15) at a lavish gala in New York City.
The ladies were among the honorees at the Columbus Citizens Foundation Gala, where they were presented with the organization's humanitarian award for their work with their Born This Way Foundation. The singer, real name Stefani Germanotta, founded the non-profit with her mom in 2011 to empower youths and tackle bullying.
Gaga admitted the event was all the more special for her family because they have been closely involved in the Columbus Citizens Foundation, which provides support for Italian-Americans, since she was a child.
"I've been spending time at the Columbus Citizens Foundation since I was 14 years old," she told ABC News shortly before the gala. "I was a little girl and my mom and dad were involved, and my father was on the advisory board to help raise money for young Italian immigrants to go to grade school, middle school and college. It's a place that I remember fondly that was all about family and community and taking care of each other...
"We're in a much more isolated state right now in society and my mom and I are trying to show young kids (through the Born This Way Foundation) that it is important to also be human and compassionate and kind and brave and honest and have a real conversation, like looking each other in the eye and really talking about your stories and what you've been through.
"So we're just really honored... to be recognized for that because we know we're a different kind of foundation."
And receiving the award from members of her own community has left Gaga truly touched.
"It's not about choosing one ethnicity or background over another, it's just that when we stick together and we support each other, great things can happen," the star explained. "I want other young Italian kids all over the world to have the same possibilities that I had... It's one of those things where when somebody says you did a good job, it doesn't always mean something, but everyone here is saying we did a good job tonight; that means a lot to us."
Gaga also performed at the ceremony with her frequent collaborator and fellow New York native, Tony Bennett.
"I loved singing for the Columbus Citizens Foundation last night," Gaga wrote on her Instagram page on Sunday (11Oct15). "Poured into some of (singer) Dinah Washington's favorites and commemorated decades of Italian immigrants supporting one another. Thank you for loving me and my family all these years, Ti Amo (I love you)!"