San Fernando Valley : Party Brings Cheer to Troubled Teen-Agers

Bringing a little cheer into the lives of troubled teen-agers Thursday, a group of “surrogate grandmothers” threw a birthday party for the residents of an adolescent mental health clinic in Van Nuys.

It was the second time that members of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Los Angeles chapter came to the Erik & Joan Erikson Center bearing cake, punch, balloons and gifts. As many of them emphasized, it won’t be the last.

“We wanted to bring some warmth and good feelings,” said Flavia Burg of the council’s Vista Val division. She explained that the women intend to make the parties a regular event.

Corrinne Merrick, the center’s administrator, said the facility houses about 50 teen-agers with emotional and behavioral difficulties, many of whom have no family with whom to celebrate birthdays and other events.


Each month, the women plan to throw a party for the center’s students, with small gifts for youths with birthdays that month, Burg said.

For LeVerne Simon of Woodland Hills, since many of her 12 grandchildren live far away, visiting the boys and girls of Erikson is a good substitute. “I love all these kids, so I’m very rich,” she said.