With the advent of cold weather and changes at the Alternative Sleeping Location (a nighttime shelter for the homeless), Jean Raun and Lee Winocur Field believe that now is a crucial time to unite social service organizations at the second Laguna Beach Community Alliance Cause-Alike event.
On Dec. 1, leaders and representatives of several social service organizations in Laguna Beach — including the Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition, the Friendship Shelter and the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council — will meet to talk about their organizations' activities, and the current and future challenges they face. The purpose of the meeting is to get people from social service organizations talking face to face, which can lead to all becoming even more effective in providing needed care in Laguna Beach.
Cause-Alike is sponsored by the Laguna Beach Community Alliance, a networking group for local nonprofits, clubs and volunteer organizations formed in 2008 by the Woman's Club.
It was created to take the place of an earlier community organization, the Laguna Beach Community Services Council. That group, founded in 1975, was an informal volunteer group comprised of community members, private nonprofit human services agencies, churches, and city and county representatives. The council provided a forum for discussion of social concerns and served as a mechanism for collaborative planning and problem solving in addressing these concerns through a coordinated approach.
Winocur Field, along with Elsa Brizzi, chairs the Laguna Beach Community Alliance. She is an educator and has served on the boards of five of Laguna Beach's community organizations.
Raun, who was an original member of the Community Services Council and who served for many years as the president of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, will moderate the Cause-Alike. Raun believes that it is urgent to unite and reunite social service nonprofits because "of those who sleep in public places … This should be a concern to the business community, as well as to those of us who believe all people have the human right to live in dignity."
She also said that she "can sense a disconnect among the people who work for the needy people in Laguna. We don't talk to each other about the problems many of us share."
Laguna Beach residents and volunteers can contribute by attending and participating in this communitywide effort to build cohesive and effective responses to the current social challenges faced by residents, local businesses and the homeless.
Members of all local organizations and the public are invited to attend this free affinity group gathering at 5 p.m. at the Woman's Club, 286 St. Ann's Drive.
MARY DOLPHIN is a Laguna Beach resident and member of the Laguna Beach Community Alliance.