Around Town: Segerstrom family tree lighting, hosted by ballerina Misty Copeland, takes virtual turn

The 39th annual Segerstrom family tree
The 39th annual Segerstrom family tree lighting event will go virtual this holiday season.
(Courtesy of South Coast Plaza)

This year’s 39th annual Segerstrom family tree lighting tradition, which normally takes place at Town Center Park near Westin South Coast Plaza, is going virtual this holiday season.

Fans of the event may view the lighting on Thursday at 7 p.m. by visiting, where Misty Copeland, principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, will host a 15-minute show.

The broadcast will feature greetings from Santa Claus, a warm holiday welcome from Segerstrom Center for the Arts President Casey Reitz and seasonal entertainment from the Orange County School of the Arts.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a white fir tree decorated with 100,000 lights will be lit. The tree will remain on display through the end of the year at Town Center Park.

Girls, Inc. of Orange County raises $466K for youngsters

Santa Ana-based nonprofit Girls, Inc. exceeded its $275,000 fundraising goal during a virtual luncheon last month that sought support for academic programs for girls in kindergarten through age 18.

“We are so thankful for all of the generosity we received,” Girls, Inc. Chief Executive Lucy Santana said in a statement. “It warms my heart that after the year we had, people are still able to be so selfless and provide support to these young girls.”

When the pandemic hit in March, volunteers began making calls to girls to ensure they had enough meals and the technology needed for distance learning. Within a week, Girls, Inc. opened its own YouTube channel with uploaded content related to mental health and stress reduction.

Each participant in the luncheon received a locally inspired celebrity chef lunch delivered to their homes and could participate in an online auction. The event was co-chaired by Janet and Mike Michaels and chef Jamie Gwen and included inspiring stories from actual clients.

Each year, the nonprofit assists 4,000 girls by providing programs focused on STEM, financial literacy, college and career readiness, healthy relationships and positive body image. The funds raised at the Oct. 16 luncheon will help continue such efforts.

Paella from Café Sevilla in Costa Mesa’s Triangle Square.
(Courtesy of Café Sevilla)

Café Sevilla supporting veterans through Nov. 15 with ‘Special Liberty Project’

Café Sevilla in Costa Mesa’s Triangle Square, in participation with the Special Liberty Project, is donating $1 for every paella sold now through Sunday in support of America’s veterans and Gold Star families.

Customers can make donations of $1, $5, $10, $20 or an amount of their choice upon receiving their guest checks — all donations will be recognized on Café Sevilla’s charity wall — and can donate directly to the Special Liberty Project through a link at

The restaurant aims to raise $10,000 for the organization, which offers nature-based programs to veterans, Gold Star families who’ve lost a serviceman or woman and the spouses of veterans who’ve committed suicide. Programs offer camaraderie, healing and peer support.

Café Sevilla is open Monday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations can be made by calling (949) 688-1555.

Reimagine to hosts free child developmental evaluation event

Reimagine, an Orange County nonprofit that provides specialized therapies, enrichment services, independent living support and other services, is hosting a free developmental evaluation screening event for children of 5 and under on Nov. 20 in Fullerton.

Parents who suspect their children may have developmental delays can attend for a screening of their child with on-site therapists in the areas of speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, emotional/behavior health, vision, hearing, dental and health.

Reimagine will hold the event from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the organization’s Fullerton campus on 130 Laguna Road, Ste. A. Masks are required. No documentation or appointments are required.

Samueli Academy and ‘Chef Zov’ team up for virtual Holiday Cooking Extravaganza

Samueli Academy, a Santa Ana charter school that provides classes for Orange County seventh- through 12th-graders on Dec. 3 will host a virtual Holiday Cooking Extravaganza featuring chef Zov Karamardian from the legendary Zov’s Bistro in Tustin in support of the school and its programs.

The program begins at 4:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception during which sponsors will have a chance to “mingle” and chat with Karamardian during a special Q&A session.

Then, from 5 to 6 p.m., the chef will lead a virtual cooking class where she will teach participants to create one of her most popular dishes in a livestream from her kitchen. A silent auction and donation opportunities will also be available during the event.

Guests will be able to learn more about Samueli Academy’s accomplishments and plans for the future and will also hear from Violeta, a school alumna, who will share stories about the academy’s impact and influence on her personal path to success.

Tickets start at $60 per person with additional packages and table deals also available. Guests can pre-register for the silent auction when purchasing tickets at

Newport Beach-based BBB announces essay scholarship winners

The Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest, which is based in Newport Beach, has awarded five scholarships to high school students for their winning essays on the theme, “The Importance of Character and Ethics,” for the organization’s annual competition which challenges students to write an essay about doing the right thing when they are faced with an ethical dilemma.

Winners included Jamin Salem from Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego; Nicholas Drossel from Dana Hills High School; Lucia Rivera from Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista; Lena McEachern from Carlsbad High School; and Mia Sherman from Classical Academy High School in Escondido.

The 2020 scholarships are sponsored by the American Advisors Group in Orange.

AAUW Laguna Beach accepting donations for college scholarship appeal

The Laguna Beach branch of the American Assn. of University Women, an organization that helps women resume and complete their college education, is seeking assistance raising money for college scholarships.

Through Dec. 6, the public will be able to contribute to the scholarship fund by visiting A video on the page shares the stories of recent scholarship recipients.

Anyone who donates by the above date will have their name added to a drawing to win one of three wine baskets.

The Youth Ocean Art exhibition kicked off Monday with a collection of works from young artists that addresses plastic waste in oceans and how it affects the animals that live in them to call for change.

Interested parties can visit the exhibition at the Newport Beach Central Library Gallery through Jan. 8.

The exhibition is presented by the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness programs, Sierra Club Angeles chapter and the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Huntington Disease Society of America hosts O.C. walk

The Orange County chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America will host the Orange County Team Hope Walk on Dec. 5.

Participants will meet outside of Starlight Surveying Inc. in Irvine, starting from 9 a.m. until noon. They will have the choice of driving around of walking with safety guidelines in place.

The event is a fundraiser for the HDSA, which works to improve the lives of people affected by Huntington’s disease and their families.

For more information, visit or contact Karen Morey at (949) 533-7101.

Art lovers and collectors are invited to participate in a tour of artists’ working studios and galleries featuring juried artists from the Festival of Arts Laguna Beach on Dec. 5-6 and on Dec 12-13.

More than 30 artists have gathered at a dozen locations throughout South Orange County to share new art pieces, works in progress and to give a glimpse into their own creative processes. Participants may drive at their own pace for the free, self-guided tour.

Locations from San Clemente to Santa Ana will provide works from premier-level professional painters, sculptors, photographers and jewelry makers as well as artists who work in glass, ceramics, mixed media and pastels.

Tours take place on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To see information on exhibiting artists and a tour map, visit

Newport Beach library to show virtual Nutcracker for Kids ballet performance

The Newport Beach Public Library will offer a virtual performance of the Nutcracker for Kids ballet performance this year, starting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 5.

The performance features the Festival Ballet Theater, which will perform an abridged and narrated version of the classic “Nutcracker.” This ballet performances, which was recorded from a previous year, will be available at

The event is being funded by donations from the Friends of the Library and is free for the public.

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