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VALLEY DEBUTANTES SHINE AFTER YEARS OF GOOD DEEDS; PROUD FATHERS PRESENT GIRLS AT CHARITY BALL.

Byline: Dennis McCarthy

They were all 11- and 12-year-old little girls back in 1991 when they first began their community service in the San Fernando Valley quietly and without any fanfare - bringing a smile to the elderly, comforting the infirm.

Now, they are young ladies - debutantes - and their hour to shine and be recognized for six years of philanthropic commitments is at hand.

The beautiful, gowned Ticktockers from the San Fernando Valley Chapter of National Charity League Inc. took their fathers' arms and were presented at the league's Charity Ball held recently at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Don't let the fancy title and trappings fool you. The Charity League isn't a swank, exclusive club for the daughters of the rich and powerful in the Valley.

It's a working club - a club filled with smart, committed parents who want to instill something in their young daughters that they'll never get out of a book, a video or a CD.

A hands-on look at life. Not their own circle of life - somebody else's.

For six years, these girls have spent hundreds of hours volunteering at organizations like the West Valley Food Pantry, the Crippled Children's Society, the American Cancer Society Discovery shops, the Motion Picture and Television Hospital, the Organization for the Needs of the Elderly and the Heal the Bay Society.

In addition, their fund-raisers have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars during those six years to help these organizations serve the people in the Valley who need them.

These young ladies have seen and learned things about life that their peers know little or nothing about. They are, for my money, the best and the brightest of our future.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 1997 Charity League Ball Debutantes.

From Woodland Hills: Rebecca Blount, Rachel Brill and Tera Lynn Grengs.

From Calabasas: Yvette Garfield and Heather Haessig.

From West Hills: Jennifer Koh and Kirsten McLoud.

From Chatsworth: Nicole Sisson.

From Agoura Hills: Tracy Sway.

From Hidden Hills: Jamie Pomerantz.

In Woodland Hills recently, there was another coming out party of sorts for 500 kids who have been attending a unique after-school program at Parkman Middle School that could also pay big dividends for us in the future.

It's called DARE PLUS, a pilot program of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, sponsored by the LAPD and Los Angeles Unified School District.

The PLUS - Play and Learn Under Supervision - is the 80 adults from all over the Valley who give freely of their time and expertise to run 50 after-school clubs for kids who would otherwise have no place to go but an empty home.

``It keeps them out of trouble and learning something new from professionals in the community,'' says Connie Howard, who runs the 10-week after-school program for DARE America.

Many companies in the Valley, such as Zenith Insurance and Kaiser Permanente, have gotten behind the program by allowing their employees time off to teach after school.

There are 50 different classes, including model building, proper manners, calligraphy, creative writing, health care and modeling. But the backbone of DARE PLUS is still a strong anti-drug message.

Another session begins in January, and the program is in need of more volunteers to share an area of their expertise with these kids for a few hours after school every week. If you're interested, call Connie at (818) 348-7538.

I've been getting a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know how to go about helping a needy family this Christmas and Hanukkah. Here's one idea.

Fifty poor families living in the East San Fernando Valley are still in need of holiday adoption by individuals, corporations or businesses, according to Marianne Hill, executive director of Meeting Each Need with Dignity, which does such great work providing social services in that area.

``Many of these families live in garages, sleep on the floor, have no heat,

refrigerators or stoves, and are unable to provide gifts for their children or cook a holiday meal,'' says Hill, whose staff conducted home visits to determine each families needs.

For more information on the holiday adoption program, call MEND at (818) 897-2443.

And finally, if you want to see for yourself what the wonderful ONE - Organization for the Needs of the Elderly - is all about, stop by its senior service and resource center at 18255 Victory Blvd. in Reseda today (Friday) at 1:15 p.m., and get a load of Dottie's Dancers.

These talented hoofers will be kicking off ONE's 20th anniversary celebration, and they're just one example of the many lively and varied activities and programs for seniors available at the center.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 19, 1997
Words:768
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