Most people think of Thanksgiving as being a time of celebration and family togetherness. However, for the hundreds of homeless and abused individuals in the area, it is a lonely and difficult time.
Because of the thoughtfulness of one Westside man, however, nearly 300 less fortunate people will attend a Thanksgiving performance of the Cirque de Soleil in Santa Monica.
After purchasing tickets last year for the Cirque de Soleil, Topanga resident Warren Chase noticed many homeless people camped out along the beach and Palisades Park. On the night of the performance, he said, "I had a very funny feeling about going, and I decided to give my tickets away to a homeless couple. On my way home, I thought the circus is really a family thing and a lot of people just can't afford to buy the tickets."
In the days that followed, the county firefighter contacted the manager of the Cirque de Soleil in the hope of obtaining additional tickets for other homeless people. "I was overwhelmed when they were so supportive and generous with the tickets, " he noted. "And, again this year, they've been kind enough to donate the tickets." The tickets are distributed through the Los Angeles County Services for Children and Sojourn, a shelter for battered women in Santa Monica.
"The tickets won't cure all their problems," Chase said, "but I hope the circus gives them time to enjoy an outing like other families and a little inspiration."
Santa Monica resident Spring de Haviland is producing a special videotape, "Support and Salute the Troops," to be sent to the Armed Forces men and women in the Middle East.
She said the tape will include personalized messages and greetings from former President Ronald Reagan, singer Lee Greenwood, and comedians Bob Hope and Fred Travelina, as well as radio disc jockey Charlie Tuna and his morning team.
"I wanted to do something positive for the troops and although it's a lean time for me, the troops are making more sacrifices than I am," De Haviland said.
The tape is scheduled to be sent to the troops at Thanksgiving, she said.
Westside resident Alicia Magal has been named director of the Council on Jewish Life's Commission on Jewish Arts and Culture.
The Council on Jewish Life is a department of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles and is responsible for enhancing Jewish life in Los Angeles.
Magal has worked as an educator, museum exhibit coordinator and consultant on special event planning.
Patricia Anne Cairns, a teacher at Malibu Park School, was one of four finalists for 1991 California Teacher of the Year.
Cairns will be honored before the State Board of Education in January. She will also receive a $4,000 award.
Roland Seidler Jr., chairman of Loyola Marymount University's Board of Trustees, was recently elected to the board of directors of the Assn. of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.
Seidler joins 22 other board members from across the country and will serve a three-year term.
Mariko Laniado has been appointed executive director of The Wellness Community for the Westside.
Laniado, a former cancer patient, began as an intern at the facility three years ago and was program director prior to her promotion.
The Wellness Community provides free emotional and psychological support to people with cancer and their family members.