YWCA helping victims of domestic violence

Members of Soroptimist International of the Verdugos don't let the calendar and the weather get in their way. On Thanksgiving eve, these intrepid women braved the wind and chilly weather to Max's of Manila Restaurant on West Broadway. Entering what looked like a tropical isle, some 25 members and guests were warmed up by the decor and friendly wait staff.

Soroptimist immediate Past President Edith Fuentes welcomed her audience and introduced Secretary Stephanie Mines who gave "The Pledge of Allegiance." Vice President Geraldine Yumping offered words of inspiration. But Liza Boubari was the star attraction. Boubari is the owner of Glendale Heal Within and the Glendale YWCA board second vice president.

As a volunteer domestic violence counselor through the YWCA, Boubari has become an expert on domestic violence — its cycle and prevention. To support November's "Prevention and End Domestic Violence" theme, Boubari gave a local perspective. She got the attention of her audience with grim statistics. "Three to 4 million women are battered by their husbands or domestic partners every year in the U.S., and 6,000 are killed," she said. Boubari also referred to the 13 residents in a Glendale shelter operated by the YWCA. To promote the residents' safety, the shelter's address is kept private.

Glendale residents present included Soroptimist President Michelle Lathe, Fuentes' niece Theresa Payawal and Payawal's friend Trisha Rubia.

The program closed after a presentation by members of Market America Group who spoke about online buying.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, (800) 799-7233, is open 24 hours, seven days a week.

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The holidays bring out hardworking volunteers who put in countless hours to serve the members of their communities through a variety of services. And no volunteer is more hardworking than a hospital volunteer.

The volunteer staff at Burbank's Providence St. Joseph Medical Center is out in force supporting hospital personnel, manning the gift shop and putting on bake sales. Hospital guild members were front and center baking, pricing, placing and selling sweets on Nov. 23. Next to the hospital's Arnold's Café, Guild President Kathleen Marsdan supervised her volunteers in selling hundreds of dollars of the goodies during a six-hour period.

The hospital gift shop was also the center of busy volunteer activity. Longtime Glendale resident and a guild past president, Wanda Bistagne has volunteered at the hospital for 35 years. She began working in the recovery room and is now putting her talents to use in the gift shop. With the behind-the-counter help of guild volunteers Jackie Van Bevern and Lori Riela, Bistagne made the cash registers sing to the tune of several hundred dollars.

In fact, guild activities have brought in $1 million for the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center. Members raised the funds through bake sales and gift store profits. The majority of guild proceeds are raised during the annual fashion show. Next year's will be held on April 16. Don't miss it.

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On Black Friday swarms of shoppers hit the stores. This was the day that traditionally kicks off the holiday season (although some big chains jumped the gun and opened on Thanksgiving).

In Glendale, Michael's was offering 60% off sales on their crafty merchandise and picture framing services. New Glendale resident Silvia Martinez was there for Christmas decorations. Daughter Ziraili Martinez, 10, and son Jay Martinez, 3, helped Mom carry off their bargain booty.

FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that incorrectly referenced the YMCA in a headline.

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