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The Crowd: Heritage Pointe and Vocational Visions raise money for 2019

They called it “A Night To Remember,” as friends of Heritage Pointe, an independent, assisted living and memory care facility for seniors, closed out 2018 with a fundraising celebration at City National Grove, Anaheim. More than 250 guests attended a dinner and concert headlined by the a capella group The Maccabeats and singer-songwriter Todd Herzog.

Co-chaired by Scott Seigel, David Zarnow and Steven Sloan, the evening paid tribute to presenting sponsor Eleanor Jaffe. On hand for the honors was Heritage Pointe CEO Mike Silverman, thanking the organizers, underwriters and attendees, stating, “With our three fun and highly-supportive event co-chairs, in addition to the tremendous support we received from numerous underwriters, this inaugural community concert surpassed our expectations and was a huge success. Proceeds from the evening directly benefit our Heritage Pointe residents, many of whom need our financial assistance.”

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Heritage Pointe boasts a safe and secure living environment with Jewish values for seniors in need.

Beth Slavin, director of philanthropy for the residential facility, highlighted the Zest for Learning program, which “believes you are never too old to learn because learning is a lifelong adventure.”

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No Person Left Behind

I am genuinely appreciative of local businesses that hire employees with various forms of developmental differences. This is most evident at checkout counters in many grocery markets. Recently, a bagger at Pavilions was asked by the cashier to assist me finding a light bulb that I had missed on my grocery list. The gentleman practically took me by the hand and led me to the light bulbs, knowing exactly where they were, and proceeded to suggest several brands of different qualities and prices.

For me, this encounter in the light bulb aisle was life-affirming. I said a silent prayer and smiled the rest of the day. On subsequent trips back to Pavilions since that visit, that smile returns each time I see this man — who is always busy, helping customers and proud and happy to be needed.

This is what the organization Vocational Visions — launched in Orange County in 1974 — is all about: “providing vocational, economic and social services to local adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.”

Personally, I really like the term “other-abled,” but it is apparently no longer proper terminology. Yet, these people are indeed “other-abled,” and Vocational Visions provides a pathway to employment — and perhaps more importantly, social inclusion.

Recently, the nonprofit held a winter gala described as “Enchanting Evening at the Oscars,” a prelude to the 2019 Academy Awards coming up Feb. 24. The Irvine Marriott was host to some 250 supporters, ultimately raising more than $105,000 in support of Vocational Visions.

The gala evening honored a number of advocates for the disabled, including the Trillman Family, named Donors of the Year and represented by Patricia Trillman and her daughter, Hilary Hurt. Also recognized were Donna Hogan, accepting 2018 “Employer of the Year,” and Shawn Friel, “Vendor of the Year.” Volunteer Lori Bartlett took a nod for exemplary volunteer.

On hand for the celebration was Joan McKinney, executive director of Vocational Visions, congratulating the city of Mission Viejo for being named “Outstanding City Support of the Year.” Also in the crowd were Eric Kuntz, Chris Moore with Sharina Holmes, and major event sponsor Sharon Meredith.

B.W. Cook is the editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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