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The Valley Line: Almost anything goes to help those with special needs

Villa Esperanza Services has over the years changed the lives of individuals with special needs associated with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"Almost Anything Goes" was the agency's Blue & White event this year. It was a lovely gathering and it raised more than $150,000 for Villa Esperanza, according to organizers.

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The beautiful Viennese ballroom at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena was the setting for the fundraiser that brought to life the fun of a vintage travel cruise.

The Al Meymarian family was honored for their exemplary dedication to the Villa. Al, Debbie and Kathleen have supported Villa for many years, serving as a Villa family members, donors, committee members and board member.

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"The Meymarian family has been a part of our Villa family for over 30 years and we are extremely grateful to them," said Kelly White, Villa Esperanza Services' chief executive.

KTLA anchor Wendy Burch was the mistress of ceremonies for the evening, accompanied by Wells Fargo Foundation Senior Vice President Jonathan Weedman, who served as auctioneer.

"Almost Anything Goes, an evening of high jinks on the high seas, is our way of honoring the family and their love of travel and adventure," said committee member Marcie Robinson. "Those who know the family would agree this theme is a perfect complement to our honorees."

Additional committee members included Kathy Cunningham, Annissa Deshpande, Susan Jackson, Dr. Lori Levi, Janet Louie, Maryann Seduski, Norma Velvikis, Jeri Wright and Melissa Wu.

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Members and guests gathered at Oakmont Country Club for the Oakmont League of Glendale's annual scholarship luncheon and installation of officers.

Calling the meeting to order was the organization's outgoing president, Nina Ratliff, who welcomed all to the very special event.

A review was made of the club year and all of its activities. It was an amazing year and much money was raised for the scholarships that were given to high school students as well as to Glendale Community College students.

The students receiving scholarships included Alaina Kalb, La Cañada High School; Samantha Kohn, Crescenta Valley High School; Regina Kim, Glendale High School; Catlin Argueta, Hoover High School and Nataly Vardanyan, Clark Magnet High School. Glendale Community College students receiving scholarships included Zepur Avanesian, Garooneh Avanessian, Nelle Stepanyan and Lilia Zograbyan. Alaina Kalb from LCHS couldn't attend that day because she had a final exam. Her mother, Christina Kalb, accepted the award on her behalf.

The club also gave a $4,000 check to Hillside School and Learning Center in La Cañada Flintridge. Bob Frank, director of the school, accepted the check. Sharon Townsend, representing Glendale Healthy Kids, accepted a check for $4,000 from the club. Glendale Community College Disability Student Program Services, represented by Tina Anderson, also received a $4,000 check.

Installation of new officers was also a highlight of the meeting. New officers presented with flower tributes were Sharon Swinford, Jackie Kubel, Chloe Ross, Barbara McCullough, Donna Sauer, Judy Mendicina, Michaelynn Cashion, Pam Sorem, Cathy Steel and Fernanda Friedrich-Genthon.

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JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at jnvalleysun@aol.com with news of your special event.

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