The Crowd: 'Happy Days' for Human Options

Daily Pilot

An impressive $435,000 was raised at the "Serious Fun Party" produced by Human Options. The Balboa Bay Club & Resort, Newport Beach, was the setting for the 1950s "Happy Days"-themed event.

The crowd wore vintage clothes. Some women were in poodle skirts and saddle shoes and some men in lettermen's sweaters. Other ladies chose to show off a little upscale '50s attire, wearing vintage dresses accessorized with the mandatory choker of pearls and the upswept hair of the period.

All the fun was to raise money for Human Options, which assists battered women and their children with the overriding goal of breaking the cycle of domestic violence in families.

Human Options board President Victoria Collins welcomed the enthusiastic crowd and greeted supporters along with Vivian Clecak, founder and chief executive of Human Options.

The big honors of the night went to dedicated supporters Artyn and Max Gardner, recipients of the 2010 Human Options DOVE Award.

"Artyn and Max optimize the highest definition of philanthropy. They give from their heart and provide leadership and hard work," Clecak said.

As '50s music pulsated in the ballroom and the adjacent outdoor Coconut Grove, guests perused the enormous 100 items on the silent auction, while others were dancing to the "be-bop" in the ballroom.

A major live auction came later featuring a beautiful, custom-designed aquamarine and diamond necklace by Aylin Aker, which raised the financial bar for Human Options.

Big money totaling some $82,000 in donations came from a funding opportunity called "Rebuild-A- Life," which did not offer merchandise but rather the opportunity to make a donation that would potentially turn someone's life around.

The evening took on an emotional turn when organizers showed a video titled "For My Mother" featuring the personal story of Orange County businessman Jack Shaw, who grew up in a home troubled with domestic violence.

After dinner, former Righteous Brother band member Lee Ferrell and his group got the crowd on their feet and out on the dance floor with more high-energy '50s themed dance music.

Human Options has served the Newport-Mesa community and greater Orange County for nearly three decades. Last year alone the organization took responsibility for some 20,000 individuals dealing with domestic violence.

Human Options provides everything from emergency shelter to long-term transitional housing, as well as many aspects of personal support for victims struggling to rebuild their lives.

For more information, call (949) 737-5242 or visit

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