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On the Town: Women plan biennial fundraiser for vulnerable youngsters

On the Town: Women plan biennial fundraiser for vulnerable youngsters
Installing officer Anna Brewer, left, and President Nancy Stone display the cake in celebration of the 65th anniversary of Las Candelas. (Courtesy of Richard Williams)

Las Candelas, a women’s philanthropic organization, has installed its officers and will reconvene this month in preparation for its major fundraiser.

Organized in 1953 and incorporated in 1955, the mission of Las Candelas is to give volunteer service and financial assistance to help improve the lives of children and youth in vulnerable situations and to support awareness of their mental health needs.

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President Nancy Stone is joined on the board by Joan Campbell, first vice president; Karen Swan and Rosina Maize, second vice presidents; Ann Jones and Lynne Naeve, third vice presidents; Monica Sierra and Suzonne Slaughter, fourth vice presidents; Jeri Clark and Teresa Nall, fifth vice presidents; and JC Byer and Pattie McCormick, sixth vice presidents.

Nall is also serving as recording secretary and Diane Russell will continue as corresponding secretary. Business Treasurer is Ginny Simpson and Philanthropic Treasurer is Patti Baker. Past president Ellyn Semler is parliamentarian.

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Before the summer break, members gathered at the Oakmont Country Club to celebrate the group’s 65th anniversary with a beautiful cake.

Life member Diane Johnson talked about the organization’s history. In the early years, members would drive to the state mental health facility in Camarillo to support the children who resided there. Members adopted a boys’ ward and hosted barbecues and pine-box derby competitions.

Las Candelas Life Member Diane Johnson gives a history lesson on the group during the installation luncheon.
Las Candelas Life Member Diane Johnson gives a history lesson on the group during the installation luncheon. (Courtesy of Richard Williams)

Las Candelas was a partner in the founding of Verdugo Mental Health in Glendale because it saw a need for pediatric mental-health services in the local area. Today, the group continues to offer financial and hands-on support to that program, now known as Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

The organization is also celebrating raising a total of $21,500 in grants over the years 2017-18 given to organizations that work to improve the lives of children.

Hillsides in Pasadena will put the donation into its Youth Moving On Program, which provides help for former students of Hillsides who are 18 or older and need assistance with job searches, living quarters and higher education.

Ascencia will use the grant for its program for art therapy for children. Ascencia is a transitional homeless shelter for families and normally houses 10 to 15 children who, with their parents, have been displaced from their homes.

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services of Glendale will use the funds for its child therapy programs.

Las Candelas also awarded a grant in November to the YWCA Glendale for its summer camp programs for children in the domestic violence shelter.

Las Candelas provides more than $25,000 annually in speakers, field trips and parties for the children at Hathaway-Sycamores and Hillsides Education Center.

The organization raises funds through its biennial luncheon fashion show. The next benefit will be held on March 4 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel.

For more information, visit lascandelas.org.

Committee supports Los Angeles Philharmonic

The Glendale Committee for the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated another successful year during a luncheon at the Oakmont Country Club.

The highlight was a performance by the 16-piece Glendale High Jazz Band led by Grammy-nominated Amy Rangel, who is completing her 17th year as director of instrumental music.

The group played big-band tunes, as well as jazz classics and contemporary selections. The musicians have opened for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Arturo Sandoval and performed at the Reno Jazz Festival.

Glendale Philharmonic co-president Stella Balesh presents raffle prize winner Kay Hostetler with box seats for four at the Hollywood Bowl.
Glendale Philharmonic co-president Stella Balesh presents raffle prize winner Kay Hostetler with box seats for four at the Hollywood Bowl. (Courtesy of the Glendale Philharmonic)

More than 60 guests, including associate members who support the group through their attendance at this annual event, enjoyed the music and lunch.

Event coordinator Trudy McGraw selected a menu of refreshing gazpacho, Chinese chicken salad topped with Mandarin oranges and colorful paper umbrellas, and, for the finale, warm mixed seasonal berry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream and served in individual ramekins.

Led by co-presidents Bonnie Hall and Stella Balesh, the group supports the Los Angeles Philharmonic and music education in Glendale schools.

The Music Mobile presentation introduces local third-graders to the orchestra and provides them with a hands-on experience with several instruments.

For many years, members have been docents at the Pasadena Showcase House of Design. This year’s house, “The Overlook,” was a Mediterranean masterpiece in Altadena designed by architect Reginald Davis Johnson and built in 1915.

Docents included Stella Balesh, Charlene Byers, Bonnie Hall, Darlene Hubanks, Trudy McGraw and Mary O’Connor.

Funds raised from this activity help the committee support the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.

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