As the national debate rages on over government funding versus private-sector support of charitable social and educational programs directed at disadvantaged sectors of the American population, there are those among us who ignore the rhetoric and take action.
In the O.C., Newport Beach resident Henry T. Nicholas III, co-founder of Broadcom, joined forces with retired Superior Court Judge Jack Mandel in 2008 to launch the Nicholas Academic Centers. On Nov. 20 in Santa Ana, 300 inner-city high school students and their families came together for the fourth annual Nicholas center "Thanksgiving Dinner" celebration recognizing the accomplishments of the students and the programs that such academic success will ultimately bestow upon the community at large.
There are two Nicholas centers in the O.C. that have served 230 students since inception, all of whom have gone on to college. The after-school enrichment program for high school students is funded by the Henry T. Nicholas III Foundation.
As November comes to a close, we take another moment to honor America's veterans recognized at Costa Mesa's Vanguard University. A recent ceremony marked the third annual Vanguard celebration of American veterans of all ages, from all divisions of service.
University president Carol Taylor welcomed dignitaries including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) amidst an overflow crowd of community support.
"Many of the 30,000 veterans who return to California each year experience challenges when transitioning from military to civilian life," offered Brent Theobald, director of government relations at Vanguard. He went on to comment that access to education is often the single most important bridge to "restored purpose through self-discovery."
The Thanksgiving season is also the traditional time of year for the formal presentation of the National Charity League debutantes. On Nov. 24 in Irvine, the Hyatt Regency hotel welcomed 21 young women from the Newport Chapter of National Charity League, Inc. for the 52nd Newport Chapter ball.
The occasion marked a graduation recognizing volunteer assistance by the women at some 30 Orange County-based charitable organizations over a six-year program that begins for the young ladies and their mothers in the eighth grade. More than 9,300 hours of service were donated, with many of the debs receiving honors for commitments of 100 hours of service per year.
Nearly 500 guests celebrated the elegant rite of passage, led by NCL Newport Chapter president Jennifer Lefebvre, escorted by her husband Channing Lefebvre. Aaron Searcy served as the 2012 debutante ball director, assisted by Nancy Vaughan and a dedicated committee.
The 2012 National Charity League debutantes are: Caroline Beck, Kelsey Blackburn, Allyson Brahs, Natasha Daboub, Marie Fitch, Paige Hall, Camille Jolly, Brenna Landstrom, Riley Luebke, Paisely Muller, Channing O'Neill, Christina Page, Annie Pyle, Lauren Rados, Chelsea Roth, Allison Schelin, Alexandra Shah, Savannah Thies, Charlanne Tomlin, Melinda Wheeler and Nicolette Zak.
THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.