Our Laguna: League is raising friends

The Assistance League of Laguna Beach is looking for some friends.

Folks are invited to attend a Friend Raiser from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at Madison Square and Garden Café, hosted by Jon Madison.

The event will include musical entertainment by Ken Garcia and a fashion show modeled by local celebrities, including Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson. Hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, desserts and beverages will be served.

Reservations are not required. Admission is one item for the league's Thrift Shop, which reopened on Sept. 3. A $25 donation will also get you in.

"The Friend Raiser is a huge help to our thrift shop," said Ann Hyde, event chair. "Please attend and bring a Treasure."

Sales of the donated items at the Turnabout Shop or cash will support the league's many philanthropic programs.

League philanthropies include the free Early Intervention Program, begun in 1976, which helps parents of developmentally delayed babies through the difficult first year.

Parents are provided with the "hands-on" experience to guide them in furthering their child's developmental opportunities. Professionals make specific recommendations for each child to ensure his or her optimal development.

A parent support group meeting follows each session, facilitated by a marriage and family therapist who leads discussions of issues involved in parenting and caring for a child with special needs. League members care for the babies while the parents meet.

Members also commit to working in the Turnabout Shop twice a month and with the Early Intervention Program three times a year — bringing snacks or rocking the babies.

"EIP" meets from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.

For more information about the program, visit websiteALLaguna@verizon.netor call (949) 494-6097.

Laguna's chapter is also considering ways it can support the recently opened facility on South Coast Highway for developmentally delayed young adults. The facility is filled to its capacity of 50 and there are 25 on the wait list.

"We will be meeting with representatives of Glenwood House to discuss what they need and how we can help," said Judy Soulakis, chapter president.

Other chapter programs funded by the Turnabout Shop: 

•Teddy Bears are supplied to the Laguna Beach Community Clinic and Fire Department for children in traumatic situations.

•* Operation School Bell provides backpacks filled with school supplies and jackets for children at the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

•* Arrangements for underprivileged children to attend suitable performances at the Laguna Playhouse.

•* Eye exams and glasses for children at the Boys and Girls Club and Even Start, with the hope of expanding the program to elementary schools.

•* Headsets for Top of the World Elementary School students.

•*Scholarships for Laguna High School Students and scholarships for therapeutic horseback riding programs at Shea Center for children with exceptional needs.

•* Clothing for Friendship Shelter residents who are ready for new jobs or job interviews.

•* Technology equipment for San Onofre Elementary School on Camp Pendleton Marine Base.

"Every class got computers for school work and to make contact with their deployed parents," Hyde said.

The Laguna Beach chapter is one of seven that provides complete school outfits and school supplies for more than 700 needy children who live on the base, Hyde said.

The chapter also sponsors Assisteens, the teenage auxiliary open to high school students. The girls earn credit toward their community service requirement for graduation.

They work in the Turnabout Shop on Saturdays, stuff socks with toiletries for the military, play Bingo with seniors at The Susi Q and cook and serve dinners once a month at Friendship Shelter.

Laguna's Assistance League was founded in 1952 as the Las Amigas Guild by a group of 14 original members. It was chartered in 1962 as the 29th chapter of National Assistance League. The group is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, and nonpolitical corporation, run entirely by the volunteers.

New members are encouraged.

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Villagers of the Year

Former Councilwoman Verna Rollinger and the Rev. Colin Powell will be honored as the Villagers of the Year at a garden party on Oct. 5.

Henderson has lived in Laguna since 1985. His legacy to Laguna is Friendship Shelter, the culmination of a program he and others established as a temporary shelter for the homeless.

Transitional housing in San Clemente for graduates of Friendship Shelter was named Henderson House in his honor.

Although retired as the director of the shelter, Henderson is a board member and a tireless advocate for Laguna's homeless population. He served on the city's Homeless Task Force, created at the suggestion of council member Kelly Boyd and on the Advisory Committee on Homelessness, created in 2009 to oversee implementation of the Task Force recommendations.

Rollinger shared Henderson's concern for the homeless and served as a founding member of Friendship Shelter.

Her involvement with city issues began soon after she moved to town and became part of Yes On 3 Committee which initiated the successful vote in 1970 on 36-foot height limitations in Laguna.

The committee, headed by Arnold Hano, morphed into Village Laguna, of which Rollinger is a member and which endorsed her runs for the City Council.

Rollinger served for more than 30 years as the City Clerk and for one term on the City Council. She is still active in community affairs. She opposes the proposed project at the Village Entrance and is a member of LetLagunaVote.

The party honoring Rollinger and Henderson will be hosted by Village Laguna at the home the home of Bill and Lynda Sharp. The event will include dinner, wine and live music. Tickets are $85, and can be purchased on PayPal or at http://www.villagelaguna.com.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (949) 380-4321 or emailcoastlinepilot@latimes.com

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; call (949) 380-4321 or emailcoastlinepilot@latimes.com

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