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Opinion

On the Town: Burbank Kiwanis Club dives ‘under the sea’ for fundraiser

Burbank Kiwanis
Emcee Michael Ellington, left, was welcomed to last week’s Kiwanis gala by the event’s chairwoman, Linda Wiggins, and the club’s president, Luis Centeno.
(David Laurell)

For the 22nd year, the Kiwanis Club of Burbank presented its annual gala fundraiser this past week.

Held at the Castaway restaurant, the 2019 event, presented with the theme “An Enchanted Evening Under the Sea,” was emceed by broadcast personality Michael Ellington and included a silent auction, cocktail hour, dinner, live auction, reverse drawing for $5,000 and entertainment provided by Seville and the Ohio Trio Plus Band.

burbank kiwanis
Arriving at the Castaway Restaurant for last week’s gala are Kiwanis board member Ron Rothacher and his wife Mirta.
(David Laurell)

Chaired by Linda Wiggins, who was assisted by co-chairs Cynthia Faust and Lisa Malm, this year’s fundraiser continued the local Kiwanians’ mission to help young people increase their confidence, find their self-expression and develop leadership skills. To that end, the organization supports many programs in Burbank Unified schools.

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Among the programs the organization helps fund are the Key Clubs at five local schools, the Burbank High School art, music and drama departments and the speech program at Luther Burbank Middle School.

burbank kiwanis
Among those who made the 2019 Kiwanis gala a success were event co-chairs Cynthia Faust, left, and Lisa Malm.
(David Laurell)

The group also supports Burbank Singing Star, a singing contest for children that serves as a fundraising event. It has helped local Kiwanians donate thousands of dollars toward elementary-school music education.

Club members also help youth by sponsoring both a Cub Scout troop and a Boy Scout troop, holding volunteer work projects in the community and supporting many local charitable organizations that serve thousands of residents.

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Among the numerous local dignitaries in attendance at last week’s gala were Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, Vice Mayor Sharon Springer, City Councilman Bob Frutos, school board member Armond Aghakhanian and Police Chief Scott LaChasse.

burbank kiwanis
Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, left and Vice Mayor Sharon Springer were among the numerous local dignitaries who were out in support of the local Kiwanians.
(David Laurell)

Other attendees of note included Luis Centeno, president of the Kiwanis Club of Burbank, Caesar Milch, the group’s first vice president, and members of the organization’s board of directors including Kelly Peña, Thomas Engman, Cathy Hutt, Harvey Branman, David Harris, Jim Gibson and Ron Rothacher as well as event committee members Joseph Terranova, Hazel Schrefel, Stephen Veres, Nancy Serpa, Charissa Wheeler, Gary Peterson, Al Leifer and Douglass Chadwick.

An all-volunteer organization, the Kiwanis Club of Burbank has been serving the community since 1922.

Along with the aforementioned programs they support, local Kiwanians also provide financial and in-kind donations to Providence St. Joseph Cancer Center, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the Burbank YMCA, Burbank Kids’ Community Dental Clinic and Builders Clubs at John Muir and Jordan middle schools.

David Laurell may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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