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The Faces of '96

A Helper in Hollywood:

Steve LePore

December 27, 1996|LYNELL GEORGE

An inmate author does his best to save children from a life of crime.

An actress struggles to regain her life and livelihood after losing both legs in a crash.

The wife of a socially prominent attorney leaves her husband and children to marry a convicted murderer.

A wife-attorney defends her White House advisor-husband after he is photographed in the arms of another woman.

You met these remarkable people on the pages of Life & Style in 1996. Our writers and photographers took you into their worlds for a moment, to ponder their dilemmas and learn about what makes them tick.

And then, because the news is the news, they vanished from our view.

But their stories did not end once you had read about them. Here, we catch up with several of 1996's most memorable people.

*

When Steve LePore began feeding the Hollywood homeless out of the trunk of his car eight years ago, he'd reached his fill--tired of stepping over kids in the street on his way to his executive desk job, tired, like most city-dwellers of feeling a potent mix of guilt and powerlessness.

From those Friday night sidewalk feedings to a series of cramped storefronts, and now a center at Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, My Friend's Place has braved some unkind waters to become one of the city's busiest drop-in centers for homeless youth.

"There was a time in 1995 that we reached our lowest point as an agency," LePore said. "For most agencies cash flow can be a real crippler. You don't know when it will be in."

But 1996, LePore said, has been "a remarkable year." Coming of age as an agency coincided with some media coverage that helped get the word out--increasing the volunteer base by 20% and cash donations in the neighborhood of $30,000 (with about $150,000 in kind) have helped the agency to stabilize somewhat and focus its energies on not just finances but services.

"We've seen more kids than any year in our history. Last week alone we were ticking off between 95 and 105. Of course we'd rather not see any kids and we'd rather not be here--but we've been able to reach more people and help them on every front," LePore said. "It's important for [people] to understand the depth of the impact they have on lives that they will never know. These kids are now in school or with their families or in sober-living homes instead of pushing a shopping cart to their grave."

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