On the Town: Changing of the guard at Glendale Healthy Kids

From the porch of her Glendale home, new Glendale Healthy Kids Executive Director Sharon Roth greeted her outgoing and incoming boards. On a hot Wednesday night (Aug. 29), several dozen officers and supporters headed for the cold beverages and a healthy Mediterranean feast.

But first they gathered to congratulate those putting in countless hours in support of local children who are going without medical and dental care. For 19 years, Glendale Healthy Kids has been providing those services for free. Founding President Bruce Hinckley filled his audience in on the beginnings of the organization.

A third-grade boy badly in need of glasses from Horace Mann Elementary School was Hinckley's inspiration for reaching out to Glendale's three hospitals, Glendale Memorial, Glendale Adventist and Verdugo Hills Hospital, for a little help. The city of Glendale and the Glendale Unified School District also stepped up to provide services. This coalition is “fantastic,” Hinckley said.

Past President Cathy Keen related her own story of reaching out to Joseph, an emancipated orphan. Joseph's teeth were badly in need of dental care. USC's Dental Clinic staff provided a full set of dental X-rays and began the lengthy process of giving Joseph back his smile. Keen took on the task of driving Joseph to his dental appointments for those three years.

“He's now a member of our family,” Keen said. “He calls me ‘Mama Keen.'” Keen's children tutored Joseph so he could obtain his GED degree and cheered him from the bleachers when he graduated from Glendale Community College.

Two dental providers for Glendale Healthy Kids made a welcome appearance. Dr. Gary Finer and Dr. Bill Wilkie regularly provide their young patients with the services they so badly need.

At this point in the evening, Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa took over installation duties. The swift installation introduced eight new board members coming from a variety of genders, ages and occupations. They shared, however, the common goal of helping kids. They are: Joseph Roach, United Labor Bank vice president and branch manager; Kathy Fundukian Thorossian, Glendale Unified School District assistant superintendent; Angela Sassaunian, Glendale Prudential director of marketing; Paul Lopez, information technology group area director at Dignity Health; Patrick Campbell, Bartlett Foods president; Alina Der Sarkissian, marketing planner at Glendale Adventist Medical Center; Lola Abrahamian, Glendale Police Department lieutenant; and Gary Montecuollo, Glendale Community College chief of police.

The chief is well known for his support of local students. He recently instituted the Chief's Scholarship for students majoring in criminal justice at the college.

Included among Glendale movers and shakers on hand to cheer the new board members on were Hinckley's wife Debbie Hinckley, Paula and Art Devine, John and Ginny Simpson, Elizabeth Manassarian, Susan Hunt, Lynne and Carl Raggio and their daughter Lisa Raggio. Representing the city, in addition to Ochoa, was Assistant City Manager Yasmin Beers.

Board President Allyn Heck also heartily endorsed the new board.

Roth summed up the evening: “We are building bridges and embracing the past as we move into our future.”


Glendale's Casa de Ramos on Glenoaks Boulevard was the south-of-the-border setting for Restaurant Charity Night for the Glendale Assn. for the Retarded. On Wednesday (Aug. 29), dozens of clients and supporters enjoyed Mexican dinners for charity. A percentage of the evening's profits will be donated to the organization.

According to association Executive Director Sandy Doughty, every seat was filled over the course of the five-hour event. “It was even busier than Cinco de Mayo!”

The organization's next Restaurant Charity Night is at Scarantino's Italian Inn on Sept. 26.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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