While once it was de rigueur for charitable organizations to simply lease a ballroom at a local hotel or restaurant and request supporters to don either black tie or business attire, today’s anemic economy has seen many fundraising groups scale back and stage more casual and creative affairs. That was certainly the case as the Family Service Agency of Burbank passed on the usual formalities of its annual “Imagine a City” fundraiser and presented a touch football game at Johnny Carson Park followed by a homecoming dance in the gymnasium of Providence High School this past Friday.
To kickoff this year’s fundraiser, there was literally a kickoff as members of the Burbank Police Department took on the Burbank Fire Department in a gridiron challenge that saw the firefighters better the cops by five points.
Immediately following the game, supporters of the organization, which has assisted local families by providing low-cost and no-cost professional clinical and psycho-educational services for 57 years, gathered for the evening’s main event that saw the awarding of the Mary Alice O’Connor Vision Award.
Presented by the agency’s executive director, Laurie Bleick, the evening’s honorees included Joan “JP” O’Connor, daughter of the late Mary Alice O’Connor, who died in June; the Burbank Unified School District, the Burbank Housing Corp., and the Burbank Youth Task Force.
Always well-attended by city officials and local business and studio representatives, this year’s event saw the agency’s board president, the Rev. Ross Purdy, welcome Burbank Mayor Anja Reinke and Council members Dave Golonski and Gary Bric, City Treasurer Donna Anderson, School Board Member Ted Bunch, Assistant City Manager Joy Forbes, Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse, Fire Chief Ray Krakowski, Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis, Airport Commissioner Charles Lombardo, Police Commissioners Nat Rubinfeld and Elise Stearns-Niesen and last year’s Vision Award honoree, Joan McCarthy.
Others whose commitment and support made the evening a success included Dave and Pat Augustine, Roger and Evelyn Cusumano, Pete McGrath, Linda Walmsley, Gaby Flores, Victoria O’Neill, Mike Graceffo, Suzy Jacobs, Barbara Howell, Shanna Warren, George Saikali, Keith and Shelly Sanneman, Seta Javor, Vic and Sue Georgino, Teri Stein, Alma Rubinfeld, Barry Gussow and Karen Volpei-Gussow, Charlie Reinke, Janice Lowers, Michael Forbes, Julie Flad, Karen Turner, Kathy Purdy, Lucy Burghdorf and Michael Walbrecht.
Other notables in attendance included Pat Smola, Rene Williamson, Sue Hoon, Robin Schwer, Cheryl Davis, Mona and Barbara Moore, Ruth Davidson-Guerra, Sam and Eileen Asheghian, Terre Hirsch, Bruce Osgood, Stan Carrizosa, Chris Welker and Cari Pelayo.
The Family Service Agency of Burbank offers services including, but not limited to, individual, couple and family counseling, youth and parenting program, violence intervention, art therapy, child-abuser’s treatment program, school-based counseling programs, anger management programs and community outreach services.