Members of the South Coast Organization of Planned Parenthood (SCOOPP) and 150 supporters spent "An Evening at Abalone Beach" Saturday night and scooped up $25,000 for their programs.
Gay White Bryant, a member, made arrangements for the spectacular setting at the Irvine family's rarely seen retreat nestled between two rugged cliffs just north of Laguna Beach.
"We've had some of our functions at hotels and other places," said Evelyn Young, twice president of the group, "and we always get asked to have it here."
Current president Jeri Mirams and co-chairmen Janet Treat and Judy Webster kept the evening casual, with members bringing hors d'oeuvres and desserts to accompany the catered, picnic-style dinner. Tiki torches lit the beach for the diners, and dancing followed on the beach house deck.
According to Marge Siegel, executive director of Santa Ana-based SCOOPP, funds raised by the event will help support medical services for low-income women. "That includes contraceptive care, breast exam diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases."
"We also have very active educational programs, such as the Hispanic parenting program and peer education program, Siegel added. "We're training teen-agers to talk to their peers about decision making." Pat Cox, co-founder of the local support group with Barbara Gothard Miles, described the peer education program as more than just sex education. "It's teaching the young men and women about the responsibilities of having a family."
Designing Women, a support group of the Art Institute of Southern California, combined a New Orleans dinner and a Casino de Paris for its black-tie fund-raiser "Vieux Carre Soiree" Saturday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach.
Dining, dancing and pseudo-gambling kept the 300 patrons busy all evening raising $60,000 for the institute, originally called the Laguna School of Art. Chairwoman Marie Pezzlo and her husband, Frank, helped greet guests.
Before dinner, the president of Designing Women, Betty Kemp, introduced Patricia Caldwell, president of the Art Institute.
"Two years ago we became a fully accredited four-year college," Caldwell said. "We changed our name this past year, and we've just finished our busiest enrollment ever--350 students in 12 days."
Caldwell said the school had earlier received a call from the local police department inquiring about the type of gambling that was going to take place. "I told them only the charitable kind."
After dinner the jeweled and bejeweled crowd moved to a room next to the ballroom and played roulette, craps and black jack. It was make-believe gambling, but the gaming was intense.
Several guests played the games until closing time, declining to exchange the chips for raffle tickets for the prizes--luxury items such as trips, dinners and perfumes.
Present at the gala was the founder of Designing Women, Muriel Reynolds, who is credited with the growth of the Art Institute.
When asked to join the board 12 years ago, Reynolds recalled, "The first art classes were in a room that the city (Laguna Beach) gave us and were free to the community."
"I was raising money to build the art school, so I formed a development board with friends like Connie Morthland, Jane Ward and Louise Turner Arnold.
"We needed an organization to do the children's art program ('Color It Orange'). That called for women to put in the hours that we needed. . . . The only designs we had were on people's money."
According to Caldwell, money raised by the gala will be used for the annual operation fund, services and faculty wages.
Four conference rooms at the Irvine Marriott were turned into lavish displays designed to tempt "shoppers" Saturday night as 450 supporters of the Pediatric Research Foundation of Orange County's "Bid for the Kids" turned out to stock up.
Chairwomen May Fraser, Lori Pritchard, Sharon Bergeron and Ginny Davenport armed the enthusiastic shoppers with large shopping bags donated by Fashion Island, and party-goers were set loose on a shopping spree, buying more than $80,000 worth of items donated by several local merchants.
The Pediatric Research Foundation provides medical treatment, research and support for pediatric cancer patients and their families under the direction of Dr. Mitchell Cairo.
Cairo spoke to guests of the positive results being enjoyed by the patients of Childrens Hospital of Orange County who were previously faced with poor diagnoses. When the doctor's slide projector faltered during a pre-dinner address, actor and Balboa Island resident Buddy Ebsen sprang to the dance floor and entertained. The debonair "dance man" is honorary chairman of the foundation.
Master of ceremonies Keath Lauderdale introduced Pilar Wayne, the evening's honorary chairman. And Wayne did not disappoint those who know her as an "angel" of children's charities, lending more than her name to Saturday night's "Bid for Kids"--income from the evening's sale of Wayne's autographed cookbook were added to the proceeds.
Both Wayne and Ebsen accepted gold-and-marble keepsake clocks in gratitude for their numerous contributions.
Dr. and Mrs. Richard Hurwitz will enjoy a lovely Hawaiian holiday for their successful bid, and Dr. Geni Bennetts was bursting with excitement as she outbid other guests for the two items she wanted most: a mink coat donated by Arthur's Furs and a set of jockey Willie Shoemaker's silks.