The Valley Line: Hillsides benefit brings in the green

There was a traffic jam on the “Road to the Emerald City” when Hillsides, a non-profit home for abused children, held its annual benefit at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Formally dressed guests captivated the “Wizard of Oz” spirit of Dorothy’s perseverance and compassion, Tin Man’s heart, Scarecrow’s wisdom and Lion’s courage to make a difference by raising $390,000 for this home that was first founded as an orphanage in 1913.

Guests were enchanted by a replica of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers that she wore in the iconic film. The slippers were previously on loan to The Smithsonian Museum from the collection of David A. Pacheco. These sparkling shoes were on display on a revolving pedestal above one of the silent auction tables.

One of the most popular snacking places that evening was a buffet table, which was filled with jars and bowls of different green candies of all shapes and sizes even sticks of green rock candy. Yes, guests were like kids in a candy store as they jostled to scoop up their favorite candy. A little sign said the sweets were compliments of “The Lollypop Guild.”

Fritz Coleman, KNBC Channel 4 weather man, was the auctioneer for the live auction. He was interrupted twice by a scary green-faced wicked witch who swept into the dining room with a cackling laugh. The bidding for amazing prizes were heated and enthusiastic, especially for a 9-day African vacation and a 10-night Holland America cruise.

Dr. Drew Pinksy, a longtime supporter of Hillsides and of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” HLN’s “Dr. Drew,” and “Lifechangers,” made a special appearance as he made a presentation about bringing the much-needed support services to children and families impacted by mental health problems, violence and poverty.

During the cocktail hour a Dorothy impersonator, dressed in her blue and white checkered dress and white pinafore, encouraged guests to purchase opportunity tickets for a stunningly, beautiful emerald and diamond ring.

The evening continued with a fabulous dinner and later with dancing. The dance floor was always crowded and guests seemed to be having a wonderful time.

Cathy Brennan, who was wearing an elegant emerald green designer gown, chaired the highly successful benefit.


Longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and noted educator Jan Roberts was recently honored with the second annual “Shining Star Award” during the La Cañada Presbyterian Church Parent Education’s spring gala themed, “My Kind of Town: Music, Martinis, and More.”

The gala, held at Old Town Pasadena’s “Pandora on the Green,” was hosted by  La Cañada Presbyterian Church Parent Education board members and chaired by Sarah Nagel and Sue Mercer. More than 200 people came to honor Jan for her 40 years of dedication and to raise funds for the program and their global outreach partners.

Rita Hadjamanoukian, representing county Supervisor Mike Antonovich, also presented a commendation to Jan.

Sharing the exciting night with her were Jan’s daughters, Megan and her husband John Young, Emily and Luke Phifer, and Molly Roberts. Also there was Jan’s tiny granddaughter, Lucia Clementine Phifer.

Anne Bierling, La Canada Presbyterian Church Parent Education director, presented the award, saying Jan was a “gifted teacher and innovator committed both to excellence and helping families thrive.”

Guests were entertained by the comic stylings of La Cañada Presbyterian’s pastor Chuck Osburn and John Cervenka, who emceed the event. The crowd also enjoyed being serenaded with Sinatra hits by special guest and recording artist, Michael North.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at

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