Community: YMCA gala raises $30K for remodeling project

The YMCA of Glendale is gaining momentum in remodeling its facility following a fundraising gala that brought in about $30,000 earlier this month in the organization’s gymnasium.

The gala was an opportunity to celebrate the completion of the first phase of ongoing construction for a remodel that is transforming the YMCA into a contemporary, state-of-the-art facility, officials said.

The Glendale YMCA has been making an impact on the health and well-being of its members as well as others in the community for the past 96 years.

MundoMax news anchor Palmira Perez Najarian was the master of ceremonies. About 300 of Glendale’s city, community and business leaders attended the event with the theme “A Night of Stories: Celebrating 96 Years of Building Community … And a Foundation for the Future.”

Organizers created a magical, chandelier-lit setting for the elegant event that featured a Broadway revue with live music, followed by dancing.

During the event, four awards were presented to longtime supporters of the nonprofit organization. They were Don Galleher, who received the Spirit Award; the Bussjaeger Family and the Gregg Bussjaeger Foundation, which were presented the Champion Award; the city of Glendale was given the Partnership Award, which was accepted by Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian; and Ara Kalfayan, chairman of the board of directors of the YMCA of Glendale, received the Leadership Award.

Hillsides honors residents at dinner

Hillsides, a nonprofit child welfare organization serving children in foster care and families in crisis, honored three individuals and one organization for their contributions to the agency during the Circle of Excellence Dinner at the Rococo Room in Old Town Pasadena.

The event was a chance for Hillsides officials to thank donors and volunteers who have helped the agency.

John Gong, vice president of global events and show production at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, was awarded the Hillsides Angel Award. Gong brought the crowd to tears when he spoke about his involvement with Hillsides since 1997. He talked about how he has gained more than he has given during his years serving as a board member, rebranding adviser and Hillsides Volunteer Network member, among many other duties.

Sue Tutt of Glendale received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts teaching the boys and girls of Hillsides sewing and cooking, along with her work in the Hillsides Guild. She told the audience that volunteering at Hillsides was “the best part of her life.”

Also honored was the Friends of Foster Children, which received the Community Angel Award for supporting children in the foster care system and emancipated youth. As just one example of its good works, it gave away $25,000 worth of school supplies this year.

In addition, Edward Patterson of Montrose was awarded the Special Recognition Award for his many years of service to Hillsides Volunteer Network, which raises funds for and organizes activities for children who live at Hillsides and are in the residential treatment services program.

Patterson and his wife, Lori, have been so inspired by volunteering at Hillsides that they have become foster parents, with the intention of ultimately adopting a child.

Women’s Council toasts new rooms

The Women’s Council of the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation hosted its third annual Boutique Wine Tasting recently in the newly renovated council rooms.

The gathering benefited the hospital’s nursery and the planned neonatal intensive care unit.

“Our focus is to continue to help renovate USC Verdugo Hills Hospital to bring the latest in medical services in the right environment to the community,” said Ruth McNevin, council chair.

Jeff Zitti of Rosso Wine Shop selected the premium wines. The hospital’s caterers created a delectable menu featuring a hot and cold buffet and desserts. Classical guitarist known by only one name, Garni, a Glendale Community College student, performed. Attendees got an early start on their holiday shopping from the array of silent-auction items.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at