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Women’s association to honor four

Four special Laguna Beach women will be honored by the Laguna Beach branch of the American Assn. of University Women at its 11th annual Leadership Dinner. The event is set for Oct. 26 at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Road.

 Karen Dennis will be honored in the Multicultural Higher Education category. Dennis coordinates the English as a Second Language program at Santa Ana College. Dennis was a founding member of California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and recently received the organization’s highest honor, the Sadae Iwataki Award for her outstanding service. She is also being honored for her exemplary service to the AAUW Laguna Beach branch for more than 40 years.

 Sita Helms, in the Community Outreach category, is executive director of the Helping Hand Worldwide Organization and has collected an estimated $1.5 million in donations during 2008 from Trader Joe’s, Albertsons, Big Lots and Pavilions to benefit 43 local organizations, according to the AAUW. Albertsons has donated four refrigerated trucks to Sita and her volunteer crew who collect and distribute goods to Camp Pendleton’s 5th Marine Regiment, local food banks, senior centers, HUD housing in Laguna Beach and schools serving low-income families.

 Judith Jelinek, honored for Musical Arts Outreach, has been active with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and was a founding member in 2002 of the Laguna Beach Music Festival, a partnership with Laguna Beach Live! She is also responsible for introducing the Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program that uses music to improve student behavior and academic performance to Orange County schools, according to AAUW.


 Ann Quilter, honored for Senior/Community Service, has been an active member of the Laguna Beach community since 1979. She helped found Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. She co-chaired the Capital Campaign for the Laguna Beach Senior Center, the Susi Q, for which she was recognized by Soroptimist International of Laguna Beach as a Woman of Distinction in 2009. She has been an active leader in many organizations in Laguna Beach for years.

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social, and dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $65.

The association works to empower women through education, legislative action for equity issues, community leadership and friendship. For more information, call Carol Reynolds at (949) 497-0986.