Vista Del Mar January 24th, 2017

Vista Del Mar was founded in Los Angeles in 1904, originally an orphanage it now provides education, counseling and housing to kids from kindergarten to 12th grade, who suffer from learning difficulties, autism, developmental challenges, emotional and behavioral problems.

At 18 children "age out" of the system. They are expected to look after themselves, find somewhere to live, get a job, arrange government support  and function in an adult world. For some of these children just getting dressed can be an overwhelming challenge. They must be prepared for this next step with one- on- one counseling and teaching.  This is the program FWC supported.

Ashley Powell the community coordinator  from Vista Del Mar and board member Dana Sigoloff were our guest speakers.

The Deane F. Johnson Alzheimers Foundation & Beyond Alzheimers

October 26th, 2016

We were joined by Patti Davis who started Beyond Alzheimer's after her father, President Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with this disease. Patti soon realized that it isn't just the person who suffers from the disease but also the spouse, children, family and friends. With that in mind she started a support group that meets  twice weekly where people can share  and discuss their feelings and needs with people experiencing the same difficulties . Patti is an engaging speaker who is both eloquent and personable. She shared heart warming stories of her own fathers struggles and also beautiful moments they shared together. To quote Patty: The soul of a person is still there.

The Crown Jewel Club

Jane Phillips started The Crown Jewel Club 11 years ago for at-risk girls. It is extraordinary how empowering and transformative this program is foryoung girls. Teaching manners and social skills : learning to say please and thank you, looking someone in the eyes, knowing how to properly hold a fork - to name just a few,  has changed the livesof these young girls.  The two young ladies who joined us for the evening told us how the program had  transformed them from shy and quiet , to girls with confidence , self esteem , courage and determination.  The following week  Laurie MacCaskill and Sue Cameronattended the Graduation Tea .  Bravo to Jane and all those who supported this heart warming and inspiring evening.

Valentine's Father Daughter celebration at CII

Thanks to the support of Friends with Causes more than 100 dads and daughters from across Los Angeles came together for the Annual Project Fatherhood - Father Daughter Tea. The fathers are participants in Children's Institute's Project Fatherhood which provides opportunities for fathers from all walks of like to connect with their children and play a meaningful role in their lives. The dads join their daughters for a special pre-Valentine's celebration, highlighted by a traditional afternoon tea, arts and crafts projects and even manicure stations. If you would like to know how you can get involved or volunteer next time please send me an email.

 

THRIVE ANIMAL RESCUE

January 26th, 2016

Our first FWC dinner of the new year! We had an enormous turnout of animal lovers  and we were filled to capacity. Lots of new friends joined us for the evening bringing delicious and abundant food.  The homeless shelter MY FRIENDS PLACE where all the food is donated had  2 buffets the next day!  THRIVE has accomplished an amazing amount in such a short time. If anyone would like to adopt a pet get in touch with me or contact TRIVE directly.

My Friends Place Holiday Party

Cairo and I volunteered to help out for the holiday party this year. Because of the age requirement for volunteers  it was the first year Cairo was eligible. Cairo served food - delicious by the way - and I helped hold each persons bags while they went through the buffet. I was literally blown away by the grace, dignity and manners of these young people. So appreciative, so polite - I had tears in my eyes the whole time! It is so unfair and wrong that these kids are forced to live on the streets.
 

Caroling at the Veterans Hospital December 13th, 2015

One of my favorite days of the year!  Each year is different with new friends , old friends and children joining us for the afternoon. This year we had lots of kids which always brings a smile to the Veterans and makes everything merrier.  They have requested that we visit throughout the year to sing from a current list of popular songs - if anyone is interested please let me know and I will organize it.

Bells of Freedom Camp Pendleton December 6th, 2015

What a great day!!  Inspiring, heartwarming, unforgettable. What an amazing group of Marines and their families and all the supporters who show up to say Thank you to them.  Thank you to the amazing Denis Flores - who always has my back! We met so many wonderful young Marines and their young families. Can't wait to go again next year!  Cairo said to me "It was one of the best days of her life!"
 

A SENSE OF HOME

We were all inspired by our  guest speaker Yolanda Elam from A SENSE OF HOME.   She shared with us her remarkable story of determination and perseverance  to overcome the most difficult odds. She is beautiful, intelligent, and has a heart of gold.

There are endless opportunities to get involved with A SENSE OF HOME - for you, your children and your friends. It is the brain child of Melissa Goodard and Georgie Smith. It is still grass roots but hopefully very soon will be off and running.  We need A SENSE OF HOME nationwide.

 

Camp Pendleton Volunteer opportunity

This is an event I attended last year and really enjoyed. I will be going again this year. Let me know if you would like to join me.


"The Big Thank You" event is the perfect event and time to show appreciation to our young Marine families based at Camp Pendleton, California. By adopting a Military family for the Holidays you provide emotional and spiritual support in very tangible ways. We ask that you visit our web site at www.bellsoffreedom.org to see a video of last year's event and please, feel free to share it with your friends and family. It was a Wonderful day and the connections we saw happening between our sponsor families, volunteers and our Marine and Navy families was heartwarming.

Even though we think the best part of this program is the one on one interaction with our military families, we understand that sometimes is not in the cards to accompany us on the delivery or even to shop for your family's gifts. If you are not able to shop or deliver for your family, please let us know and we will have our Bells of Freedom 'shoppers' care for your family with your cash donation and arrange for a Bells of Freedom 'greeter' to meet your family in your stead".

Contact Tanya McKay on her cell at (858) 922-6153 if you have questions, if you would like to support a Marine family this year or if she can be of help in any way.

www.bellsoffreedom.org

EROC - End Rape On Campus

My friend Beth Friedman holds several seminars a year. They are incredibly informative and interesting on a wide array of topics.  This past spring, I attended one where the discussion centered on the documentary THE HUNTING GROUND.  I was seated beside a young lady who I did not realize at the time I would be calling a little over a week later.  Her story is featured in the movie. Because her own experience and those of three friends, they co-founded EROC – END RAPE ON CAMPUS.  Sophie Karasek ,one of the co-founders, came to share with us how EROC is trying to stop schools and universities from shoving legitimate rape and sexual assault cases under the rug. They counsel women who are victims of this violent crime to make their schools stand up and take notice. Sophie is incredibly smart- well beyond her years, and a brilliant speaker… she will definitely go far. So many of us are mothers of young daughters, and several like me with seniors about to start college next year, it was a very impactful evening. 

Teen Line

Teen Line is a crisis line for troubled teens based out of Cedars Sinai hospital. The hotline is manned by teens, which help the teens calling feel more comfortable expressing themselves as they are communicating with their peers. The teens go through extensive supervised training programs.  Teen Line provides crisis intervention and prevention, peer counseling and referral specifically for children and adolescents aged 12 to 19.  Our good friend Anne Rangers’ daughter Alexis is a volunteer and shared her many and often heartbreaking experiences with us. Thank goodness for angels like her!

All In All The Time

Christina Valentine joined us for a very special evening in support of ALL IN ALL THE TIME. Christina founded her organization after her husband was killed in his 17th year of service.  When her husband died, she realized the grave need for medical services, including counseling for the children, none of which is paid for by the government. AIATT offers support for the bigger things as well as simple things like making meals and spending time with the families. Christina will be our friend forever – she is a force of nature who has not let tragedy get in the way of making a difference.

Lipstick Angels

LIPSTICK ANGELSfounder Kris Levine and Renata Helfman shared with us how their organization of 12 -15 professional makeup artists volunteer their time to go into local hospitals and do the makeup of women while they are undergoing chemo treatment.  Money is needed for makeup, supplies and for the training. “You have to show compassion, patience and make each person feel as special as you can, while the patient is experiencing fear and pain” Renata shared that a lady told her  how it was “the first time I felt beautiful after months of wanting to hide, even from my own children” Kris, Renata and their team are really angels who have come up with a remarkable way to make a difference. 

My Friend's Place

I first heard about MY FRIENDS PLACE from Ivan Tether. Ivan, my daughter Cairo and I, and a group of about 15 people sing carols every year at the Veterans Hospital just before Christmas. Ivan mentioned this organization to me one Christmas and I decided to go and visit MFP. I am so glad I did!

Heather Carmichael is the director of this wonderful Homeless shelter for youths in Los Angeles. Sadly, it is only open in the day hours and the youth are forced to find cover outside for the night – we must find a way to change this – but during the day, MY FRIENDS PLACE is a wonderful shelter for them.  California was moving into the winter months, and the temperature was changing, so we chose to buy blankets so that every youth in the program would have their own new blanket. We have continued our support in a “full circle way” by donating all our left over food from our events to MFP.

Upward Bound House

UPWARD BOUND HOUSE is an amazing place that houses homeless families, usually from three to six months – sometimes as long as a year. These are families where either a lost job or medical bills, or other circumstances have forced them on to the street. Their goal is to get the family back on their feet by providing counseling, financial counseling, free food and clothing. With a $2,500 donation, one can “own” an apartment that houses a family.  You can also choose to furnish an apartment with a $1,500 donation. This consists of new linens: towels and bed, kitchen things; toasters, china wear etc. all that the family gets to keep when they move into their own apartment. Aimee Przybylski is the director and was our guest.  There are so many ways to get involved big and small with Upward Bound house which is why I love it so much.