The Crowd: Luncheon focuses on future of foster youth

The Resort at Pelican Hill welcomed the 11th annual 44 Women for Children luncheon raising funds to support college education for OC foster youth. Presented by the Orangewood Children's Foundation, the umbrella under which 44 Women for Children operates, the sold-out event was chaired by the dynamic Carey Clawson.

Joining Clawson was a dedicated committee including Christine Bova, Jeanne Boyce, Linda Calderon, Andrea Casaw, Demi David, Bryn DeBeikes, Karen Goldhirsh, Rochelle Kahn, Stacey Kinney, Kimberly Kirksey, Yvette McCarthy, Judy Nicholls, Linda Thauer and 44 Women founder Susan Samueli.

The capacity crowd of some 300 guests dined on Nicoise salad in a costal dining room decorated by Bellagio Florists of Newport Coast. Special guest of the afternoon confab was actress and author Holly Robinson Peete recognized for her role in television's "21 Jump Street" and more recently TV's "The Talk."

Along with her husband, NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, the couple fund a foundation known as HollyRod supporting research for Parkinson's and autism as well as other serious challenges.

Robinson Peete was joined on the dais by a young woman introduced only as Karla. A short video on Karla's journey preceded her talk revealing her childhood living in two homes of abuse. Karla took the microphone and began by saying, "Please smile, my story is not a sad one."

Karla continued to tell her audience of her remarkable transformation over the recent five years of her young life. Most significantly, she has graduated college with a bachelor's degree and with the help of Orangewood Advanced Studies Program, Karla will enroll at Johns Hopkins University pursuing a master's degree. She told the crowd, "I see the faces of people who love the ones who feel unlovable. Your contribution delivers miracles."

Major sponsorship for the event came from Susan Samueli, Wanlyn and Benton Bejach, Michelle Schmit and Jaynine Warner to list only a few.

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Human Options Supports Domestic Violence Prevention

Karla's story at the Orangewood event of the horrors of growing up in abusive homes was echoed recently at the annual Human Options' "Serious Fun" gathering held at Balboa Bay Resort.

Human Options, in its 34th year, provides services directed at stopping domestic violence, including early intervention, emergency shelters, and long-term transitional housing.

The Irvine-based organization netted $394,000, while honoring two dedicated local citizens, Keith Swayne and his daughter Anne Swayne Kier for their support of Human Options programs.

The 2015 event themed, "Black Tie Masquerade" attracted a sold-out assemblage of 400 guests for the dinner and auction event co-chaired by Artyn Gardner, Demetria Moore and Tamie Rus. Honorary chairs were car dealer Donnie Crevier and Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. Tribute was also paid to the late Judy Swayne, wife of Keith and mother of Anne, founder of the Orange County Community foundation.

Spotted in the Balboa Bay Resort ballroom were Eric, Kady and Tina Aldatz, Gus and Margarita Floris, Shawn Halan, Brandon and Kristen Moody, Jeremiah Maestre, Garrett Calcetti and Tony Jalisse.

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A Clambake For At-Risk Children

The Children's Bureau invited 200 guests for a summer clambake and lobster dinner al fresco at Oak Creek Golf Club, Irvine. There was dancing under the stars to the Dwight Kennedy Band as the crowd checked out a massive silent auction and other surprises.

Chaired by Lori Irving, the evening was supported by a hard-working committee including Disneyland Resort's Janice Bachmann, Newport's Peggy Goldwater Clay, Barbara Eidson, Amy Sandusky, Beth Shields, Bob and Linda Wentzel and Kevin Prewett.

Presenting sponsors and honorees were The Crean Foundation, Capital Group Companies and Lisa Fujimoto, who has supported the work of Children's Bureau for more than two decades. Also supporting the event were Disneyland Resort, Ingram Micro, Deloitte, Irvine BMW and the Pala Band of Mission Indians.

Spotted in the upbeat crowd were special guests Nadia Olstad and Paul Feuerborn from Capital Group, and members of the Crean family Emily Crean Vogler, Kelly Crean Clayton and Andy Crean. On hand to welcome donors was Children's Bureau CEO Alex Morales. More than $145,000 was raised for the bureau's child abuse prevention programs in the OC.

The Children's Bureau helps some 6,000 at-risk children and parents each year with services that include in-home counseling, parental education, home health, foster care and adoption.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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