ANAHEIM : Olive Crest Centers Again Win Award

For the second year in a row, Anaheim-based Olive Crest Treatment Centers, which runs 28 group homes for children and troubled teen-agers, was named as one of six organizations nationwide to receive a Washington Charity Award.

The Washington Charity Awards Dinner, to be held in July, was started in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter. The tradition has continued over the years, with six to eight charities honored each year.

Olive Crest has homes in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Lois Verleur, who with her husband, Donald, established the organization in 1973, said the treatment centers will try to use the award to increase corporate contributions from $8 million this year to $10 million next.

"That's tied into our dream of opening a home for 'drug babies' in South County," Lois Verleur said.

Most of Olive Crest's budget comes from government funds, mainly Aid to Dependent Children, because most of the children it helps are wards of the court. However, Verleur said, the government aid has not kept in step with the increased cost and the children's needs.

The Washington Charity Awards Dinner will also honor Mercy Corps International, a relief agency; Easter Seals, for children with disabilities; Students of Free Enterprise, a free market education program; Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, for children with life-threatening illnesses.

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