Community: Las Candelas brings snakes to Hillsides

Las Candelas, a woman's group that supports the needs of emotionally troubled children and youth, including those in Glendale, sponsored an assembly on “Reptiles” for Hillsides Education Center in Pasadena last month.

The education center is one of the components of Hillsides Residential Treatment Services, which aims to provide a safe and stable environment for children and youth who cannot live at home, after suffering from trauma and who have severe emotional, psychological and behavioral challenges requiring specialized care and treatment.

Located on Hillsides main campus, the education center is a therapeutic residential and day school that offers individualized education for students with social-emotional, learning, and/or behavior challenges.

Special presenter was Bruce Shwedick from the Bureau of Lectures, which offers a wide range of K-12 school assembly programs, school shows and educational performers nationwide. Shwedick showed many unusual reptiles and told students about their area of existence and life in nature.

First on the program was a yellow-footed land turtle named “Baby.” She was 30 years old. Next, from the anaconda lizard family, was “Carlos” the “Rhinoceros Iguana.” Some students were asked to come up front and touch — carefully — the reptile.

Then, from the snake family, came “Jade,” a water boa constrictor, which weighed 18 pounds and was 18 inches long.

The most excitement came when the presenter brought out a large albino milk snake named “Java Caw.” This type of snake lives in tropical areas such as the southern United States and Honduras.

He is from the king snake family, weighing in at 45 pounds and measuring 18 feet long. His scales are very soft and smooth. His coloring in not completely white like you’d think of an albino, but has many bright yellow markings all down his body and has a completely yellow head.

Las Candelas members attending were Marilyn Olson, Nancy Stone, Sharon Anderson, Ellyn Semler and Cindy Martin.

For more than 50 years, Las Candelas has been helping emotionally disturbed children. Forty members provide services for children at Hathaway-Sycamores, Hillsides Education Center, Glendale Healthy Kids, Glendale YWCA and the Didi Hirsch Center.

The funds to support these are earned through their biannual luncheon and fashion show.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

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