People concerned about abused and neglected children gathered at two benefits last week in efforts to make young futures brighter.
"Making Life More Than Bearable" was the theme of Saturday night's affair, sponsored by Olive Crest Treatment Centers for abused children. Each table was delightfully decorated with a huggable teddy bear that went to an Olive Crest child.
Close to 400 supporters of Olive Crest turned out at the grand ballroom of the Balboa Bay Club to salute the organization founders, Lois and Donald Verleur, and dozens of other Southern Californians committed to caring for abused youngsters.
Mistress of ceremonies was television personality Stephanie Edwards (currently spokeswoman for Lucky supermarkets). Stephanie showed up despite the fact that the evening also marked her birthday--and she did celebrate, with a special message from her colleague, Ralph Story, and a cake.
But Edwards hesitated to bask in the limelight and went on to announce the many award winners, including Michelle Miller, a Costa Mesa resident who was recognized for her sensitive novel, "If I Die Before I Wake," an account of child sexual abuse; Gene Larson, director of the Orange County Voluntary Action Center; Margot Maitland of Huntington Beach, president of the Olive Crest auxiliary and many others whose time and donations have helped the Olive Crest operations grow smoothly.
Olive Crest operates 23 family-type homes and assessment centers that provide care and treatment for children ages 2 to 18. More than 350 children annually benefit from the Olive Crest program, which is based in Santa Ana with facilities in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Also honored were Ray and Kay Sovia, who act as house parents in an Olive Crest home in Garden Grove; Deborah Aal and Randa Haines, who were both instrumental in the production of "Something About Amelia," a made-for-TV movie about a young incest victim, and Tustin resident Jill Henricks, chairwoman of the event and a member of the Olive Crest board of directors.
The Santa Ana Country Club was the scene of a benefit black-tie affair for the Orange County Child Guidance Center on Thursday night, where supporters turned out to fill the ballroom and bid on what seemed like hundreds of silent-auction items.
Los Patrones of the center (that is, center supporters) were treated to a ballroom that seemed to float in pastels and pretty music.
The Child Guidance Center operates three offices in Orange County which provide services for youngsters with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems. Most clients are referred by other community agencies, and fees are based on a sliding scale.
Among those enjoying the evening were Ho and Beverly Thompson-Coil, Irene and Don Butts (he's president of the board of directors of the Child Guidance Center), Patricia Rivenes, Dotti Holder and Gerri and Walter Schroeder, chief of Los Patrones.