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Life and Arts

A weekend of poker and pasta

The Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley staged itsannual Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament at Woodbury University. Gathering at the school’s New Woody’s Café, more than 200 supporters put on their best poker faces to raise funds for the organization that over the past 15 years has positively affected the lives of more than 4,000 area children and their families.

With the club’s executive director, Shanna Warren, under the weather, Barbara Howell, who serves as the executive director of Burbank Temporary Aid Center, joined Brittany Vaughan to greet guests as they checked in.

Among the notables in attendance were Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Councilman Gary Bric, City Treasurer Donna Anderson, Assistant City Manager Joy Forbes and Fire Chief Ray Krakowski. Others who spent the evening holding and folding for the cause were Pat Augustine, Ira and Tobi Lippman, Claudia Bonis, Michael Forbes, Lori Tubert and Nat and Alma Rubinfeld.

Credited for making this always popular event a success were the club’s President Dan Stillwell, Vice President Leena Mathew and board of directors Mauro Diaz, Michael Dragan, Sherine Saad, Michael Walbrecht, Armond Aghakhanian, Dave Augustine, Darrin Borders, Lorrie Copeland, Ron Davis, Kevin McCarney, Douglas Raymond, Darrin Ryburn, Al Shapiro, Tom Steele and Kim Washington.


Others who assisted in the evening were club staff members Barrington Edwards, Angie Pitross, Jeudy Mom, Yeva Aslanyan, Jay “Jax” Jackson, Jose “Giovanni” Quiroz, Julio Herrera, Sherry Delizia, Susanna Gonzalez and Iris Romero.

Since 1995, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley has grown from one site serving 75 children to 13 sites making a difference in the lives of more than 850 youth on a daily basis by providing affordable after-school and summer programs for boys and girls ages 6 to 18.

While poker took center stage at the Boys & Girls Club fundraiser on Feb. 4, the following day, pasta was the star of this year’s Fondazione Italia Carnevale held at St. Robert Bellarmine School. Presented as a traditional Italian carnevale, Burbank children who are students in Fondazione Italia’s full-immersion Italian program joined with those from Franklin Elementary School in Glendale who also participate in the program.

Dressed in traditional Italian village or carnevale costumes, more than 200 students, their parents and staff members enjoyed the daylong event that included arts and crafts, magic shows and traditional Italian foods, pasta dishes and sweet treats.


“We offer Italian-language classes in 13 locations throughout Southern California,” said the program’s coordinator Hilary Stern. “Both children and adults can enroll at any time in either beginner, intermediate or advanced classes.”

Last week’s event, chaired by the organization’s Burbank program coordinator, Teresa Girillo D’Agostaro, included readings in Italian as well as cultural information presented by local instructors Antonella Hartel, Marianna Tortato and Simona Sardella.

For more information on taking classes in either Burbank or Glendale, call (310) 739-9350 or visit