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The Crowd: Making sure their golden years are indeed golden

Laura’s House
Celebrating the 29th annual luncheon fundraiser for Heritage Pointe are co-chair Elana Samson, Kaylee Miller, co-chair Rochelle Volpert and, seated, Zelda Smith.
(Courtesy of Joel Austell Photography)

Facing the golden years is not so golden for countless seniors. Eldercare is also a serious concern for the adult children of seniors in need of some sort of assisted living when they can no longer care for themselves at home.

Still worse, many seniors run out of money and cannot afford to stay in their own homes. If they have no family to take them in, or family is simply unable to take them in, where do they go?

For some, tragically, they end up on the street. Make no mistake, a portion of the growing homeless population is made up of seniors without options.

In Orange County there are residents taking the serious matter of eldercare to heart. In particular, a recent annual gathering at Hotel Irvine welcomed a crowd of some 500 supporters of a senior living facility in Orange County known as Heritage Pointe. It was the organization’s 29th annual luncheon and shopping boutique co-chaired by Elana Samson and Rochelle Volpert. An impressive $150,000 net was raised at the luncheon earmarked for “the Heritage Fund.”


Simply stated, the Heritage Fund supports seniors without financial means in need of assisted living at the facility.

“Heritage Pointe prides itself on our mission to care for our mothers and fathers as Jewish tradition teaches us, and part of that includes caring for those without financial means,” said Mike Silverman, chief executive.

“The Jewish community takes care of itself,” he said. “Through the generosity of our donors and the substantial dollars raised at this year’s luncheon, we can provide an array of healthcare, social, and fitness programming for every resident, regardless of ability to pay. It takes a village and the Orange County Jewish community is an exceptional village.”

Making the event a super success was headliner comedian Rita Rudner, who had the crowd in hysterics, sharing that getting old is no laughing matter.


“Laughter is indeed the best medicine,” event organizer Pamala Davis said. “Rudner’s performance was truly a grand slam.“

In the crowd was Beth Slavin, director of philanthropy for Heritage Pointe, greeting generous donors, including Sandy Fainbarg, Jane Fischel, Bonnie Gillman, Adrienne Matros, Leslie and Scott Seigel, among others.

Unlimited horizons

Organizers called the gala “My Bold Future.” Girls Inc. of Orange County, the Costa Mesa-based affiliate of the national non-profit with the mission to inspire all girls to be “strong, smart and bold,” raised a record-setting $452,000 at its annual summer gathering held at the Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach.

The crowd of more than 350 guests joined forces for what was the 65th anniversary of Costa Mesa-based Girls Inc.

Lucy Santana, CEO, was overwhelmed with gratitude toward donors making the record-breaking sum possible.

Girls, Inc.
Ralph and Sue Stern helped underwrite the Girls Inc. gala, “My Bold Future.”
(Courtesy of Kimberly April Photography)

Celebrating her 20th year with the organization, Santana said, “Support from our donors, sponsors, volunteers, family and friends enable us to impact the lives of more than 3,500 girls in Orange County every year.”

Front and center was Janet Michels, president and Chair of Girls Inc.'s board of directors. She welcomed Costa Mesa City Council members Andrea Marr and Arlis Reynolds, joining generous underwriters, including Gena Reed, Sue and Ralph Stern, Deborah and Larry Bridges, Milly and Mike Dutton, Teri and Robert Elliot, and Judy and Joel Slutzky.

Also in the crowd were Los Angeles Angels executive Dennis Kuhl, Amy Amirani, Mark Kiesel, John Stratman, and Bailey and Paul Weinberg.

Domestic violence is totally unacceptable

O.C.-based Laura’s House took over the grand ballroom of the Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach, for its fourth annual “Brighter Futures” luncheon. More than 275 supporters came together to declare “enough is enough.”


Laura’s House
The committee for Laura’s House 2019 “Brighter Futures” luncheon includes Pat McAuley, Laura’s House board member; Anne MacPherson, chair; Melissa Olson; Andrea McCallister, Laura’s House director of development & communications; Patty Bucklen; and Kara Casola.
(Courtesy of Carla Rhea)

Laura’s House finds its purpose in working to disseminate prevention of domestic violence information, as well as providing shelter and counseling enabling abused women, men and children the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

“We are grateful for the opportunity our Brighter Futures luncheon presents to honor and thank our dedicated supporters because without them, rebuilding violence-free lives for families would not be possible,” said Margaret Bayston, CEO.

Special honorees of the luncheon included the Arbonne Charitable Foundation and Taira Ramdhani. Attending were Al Valdez, Susan Parmelee, Carly Ketchum and Jennifer Ponce.

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