Mountain Avenue Elementary students learn from authors, artists

The students at Mountain Avenue Elementary welcomed literary celebrities to their school on Oct. 18, courtesy of the Assistance League of Glendale.

The authors and illustrators visiting were Joe Cepeda, Mary Ann Fraser, Amy Koss and Michelle Markel, who explained the process of producing a book.

For more than 15 years the local chapter of Assistance League has presented the Authors and Illustrators program to the schools of Glendale, rotating through three to five schools a year.

The league has presented more than $73,000 to the schools to purchase books for their libraries. In addition to Mountain Avenue Elementary School, Assistance League will also visit Keppel Elementary and Columbus Elementary and present checks of $1,500 each for their individual libraries, as well as paying for the authors and illustrators to come to the schools.

Cepeda, illustrator of “Gracias, the Thanksgiving Turkey,” taught students how to read a picture in shapes, directing the eye to subjects, how an illustrator adds details of things he knows, as well as teaching them how to draw a dog, turkey and other critters.

Students in the classroom where Fraser was visiting reached into a can filled with names and picked a character for a story they constructed in class. Children could be heard giggling when the story turned silly with a talking crayon, but hands flew up to suggest jobs for the crayon to do.

In Markel's classrooms, students learned how she brings real people to life in stories about painters Marc Chagall and Henri Rousseau.

Sophisticated sixth-graders quizzed Koss on how an author gets ideas and how an author works through writer's block.

The children gathered in the auditorium after school to purchase the authors' books at a discount and have them autographed.

Community Center conducts food drive

The Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge is having its annual food drive in conjunction with its 19th annual Thanksgiving Day Run. This year's theme is “Running Forward to Give Back.”

Now through Thanksgiving, the public is encouraged to donate canned foods, pasta, rice, baby food, beans and other non-perishables. Items should be in plastic containers only, no glass. Grocery store gift cards are also welcomed.

The center is again partnering with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station to collect and distribute food to families in need. Community Center President Ara Aslanian said he is “thrilled with the number of local businesses and schools participating in the 2012 Food Drive.”

Drop-off locations in La Crescenta are the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, CW Weekly, Rosemont Animal Hospital, and CV Water District headquarters. The Montrose locations include Bath & Biscuit, Color Me Mine and RDC Dance Academy. Both chapters of Kiwanis in La Cañada will assist with the donations and collections.

In addition, all participants in the Thanksgiving Day Run are encouraged to bring food items on race day to donate to the food drive. The Thanksgiving Day Run & Food Drive will be at 8:30 a.m. in Memorial Park. Participants can pre-register at

Dancing to fight breast cancer

A total of $1,300 was raised when Fitness for Life Dance Studio in Glendale hosted a “Party in Pink” Zumbathon to fight breast cancer on Oct. 21. Organizers were studio owner Janet Gevorgian and instructor Gail Medina.

More than 100 supporters — men, women and children of all ages — were offered two hours of Zumba led by instructors volunteering their time. Community members donated balloons, gift bags and their time to put on this event benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Similar events were conducted across the country.

For participant Lida Movahedi, the event was personal.

“I have several family members who have been affected by this horrible disease and so it means a lot to help donate to find a cure for breast cancer,” she said. “I had fun and there was such a positive energy from everyone.”

Participants were also encouraged to sign pink balloons with messages to those they were dancing for. The balloons then were released, followed by a moment of silence.

Seventy-five percent of the income from each ticket is donated to fund breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.

To learn more about the studio's upcoming charity events, visit

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at

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