The Valley Line: Fun at a 'Down Under' fundraiser

At last we have been having some normal weather here lately. We have been experiencing “June gloom” just as we usually get it at this time of the year. I kind of like that I can get comfy in my slippers and curl up with a good book with a cozy throw over my lap in the morning — and then by the afternoon, when I’m running errands, it is sunny and warm.

However, weatherman Fritz Coleman says that the gloom is going away and Mother Nature will be turning up the burners very soon. I know lots of people who will be thrilled when it gets hot — not me, though.


The women of Los Altos Auxiliary of Hathaway-Sycamores were recently saying “G’day,” when they held a fabulous party called “Taste the Wines of Australia and New Zealand” at the La Cañada home of Martha and Michael Brown. The event, chaired by Laurie Rodli, raised approximately $21,500.

Spouses of the ladies graciously poured the wines and talked about the fine details of each vintage. Guests were able to taste Jantz sparkling rose from Tasmania, Craggy Range sauvignon blanc, Kumeu River chardonnay, Peregrine pinot noir, Boundary Row Grenache shiraz mataro, Chapel Hill cabernet sauvignon and D’arenberg the Dead Arm Shiraz.

To enhance each wine, the more than 100 guests tasted culinary delights from the region that included assorted sweet and savory puffed pastries, cheeses, tortes and lamb.

In between sipping wines and sampling tasty foods, guests were able to bid on silent-auction items that featured several wine- and culinary-themed baskets, as well as generous gift certificates from local vendors.

Guests also had the opportunity to donate directly toward specific items for the El Nido campus of Hathaway-Sycamores residents, including backpacks, tutoring and technology.

The auxiliary women were thrilled that guests were so generous in their support of the youth at Hathaway-Sycamores. The Auxiliary is dedicated to supporting the boys, ages 6-18, who live in full time residential care at Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services’ El Niño campus. Nestled in the foothills of Altadena, the residential facility provides special education and critical mental health services in an environment that fosters healing and individual growth. The El Nido campus treats only the most difficult and needy boys, who have suffered physical or emotional abuse and neglect and who continue to battle severe and painful emotional disorders.

“Through the generosity of supporters like you, the residents at the El Nido campus enjoy special outings and activities that both enrich their lives and provide valuable learning experiences,” said Laurie Rodli.

Julie McCarty, Los Altos’ president, said, “Los Altos is dedicated to making a difference for the boys and girls we support at the El Nido campus and to help brighten their lives.”

Julie also introduced Bill Martone, CEO and president of Hathaway-Sycamores, and Rob Myers, executive vice president of development for the agency.

The highlight of the event was guest speaker, Zarkhi Palmer, 18, who spoke candidly to the crowd about the positive benefits he received from the Hathaway-Sycamores organization.

“When life got tough, I always looked to the future,” he said. “I made mistakes, but who doesn't? The difference was that I let those mistakes teach me to better myself. My goal was and is to accomplish more than I did before. In other words, success doesn't exist to me because I am never going to stop.”

Palmer credited the staff at the El Nido campus for the positive changes in his life and asked everyone to “give it up” for Jane Whitmore, Hathaway-Sycamores mentor, who empowered him to advocate for himself. He will be attending USC in the fall.

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