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Giving Children Someone to Turn to

Casa Youth Shelter's Jones Honored for Changing Lives

March 29, 2001|ANN CONWAY

Child advocate Myldred Jones' philosophy for raising well-adjusted children can be summed up in four mandates: Love. Hear. Observe. Share.

The 91-year-old founder of Casa Youth Shelter in Los Alamitos was presented with the Children's Friend Award during an annual benefit sponsored by the Orange County Chapter of Childhelp USA.

"It's important for parents to love children, of course, but teens especially need to be listened to," Jones said during the reception preceding Childhelp's luncheon and fashion show last week at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. "The basic problem with young people today is the lack of true communication with their families."

Observing children is also a key factor in helping them become successful members of society, Jones said. Parents need to "watch what their children are becoming" in order to provide them with the guidance they need.

Finally, "share your true self with your children," Jones advised. "Let them see you as the beautiful person you are, but not as someone who is perfect. Let them see you when your life isn't going easy" so they will have realistic expectations of the world.

Jones' greatest gift to children is her unconditional love for them, observed Luciann Maulhardt, executive director of Casa. "There is no child that could do anything wrong in Myldred's eyes." Casa has provided services and counseling for more than 8,000 youths and 34,000 family members since it was established in 1978.

Jones' dream extends beyond helping youths in crisis. "My goal for Casa is that someday its doors will be closed because it won't be needed any longer," she said.

Also attending the reception were Patti and Jim Edwards of Newport Beach, winners of the national board of Childhelp's Inspirational Award.

"Children are my passion," said Patti Edwards, a mother of two, who--besides being a tireless fund-raiser on behalf of Childhelp--serves on its national board. "I feel that when you are blessed, you have to give back. The abused children served by Childhelp need love and they don't have it. I want them to know what real love is."

Jim Edwards, CEO of Edwards Theaters Circuit Inc., said he was "humbled" by the award. "Really, Patti is the inspiration; she is certainly my inspiration."

Katherine Meredith and Nancy Whitlock were luncheon co-chairwomen.

Puttin' on the Ritz

It's probably the question most frequently asked by organizers of charity dinners: What to serve?

Hans Prager knows. The dean of Orange County restaurateurs, who, besides owning the famed Ritz in Newport Beach, once whipped up fare at the prestigious Scandia and Lawry's restaurants in Los Angeles, says the most successful banquets steer clear of items that don't promise consistency or "hold well."

"You can't cook the same thing for 50 people that you cook for 400," he said. "I would never attempt to serve steak, for example, because 400 people would want it 300 different ways and it has no holding quality."

Prager gives a thumbs up to dishes such as prime rib, New York strip loin roast, roast chicken and poached fish for mega-gatherings.

The beloved restaurateur held court at a food tasting Tuesday for the six-course dinner sponsored by Fair Share 502 that will be held April 29 at the Ritz.

Fellow Orange County restaurateurs who included Michael Kang, Lupe Carmarena, Claude Koeberle, Jean Pierre Lemanissier, Alan Greeley and Jacques Savoie served up samples of the gourmet fare to be presented at the benefit for the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa: a "Ritz Egg" topped with caviar; cream of asparagus soup with white truffles; layered Italian antipasto; king salmon smoked with maple and orangewood; medallions of lamb crusted with macadamia and pepper; and a mango-chocolate silk dessert served with raspberry marzipan.

"I get nervous about these dinners," Prager said as he chatted with Fair Share 502 board members Bill Furlow, Mary Westbrook and Mimi Justice. "Even though I'm not doing the cooking, I'm still responsible--it's my restaurant."

Prager will be honored at the dinner for his longtime support of Orange County charities. Tickets are $250. Information: (949) 437-5748.

CHOC Fiesta

In a salute to Orange County's Latino heritage, the Guilds of Children's Hospital of Orange County welcomed more than 2,000 guests to afternoon and evening productions of its "Fiesta!" fashion show at the Anaheim Marriott.

Guests dined on traditional Mexican fare--chicken mole, shrimp ranchero, steak tostada and flan embellished with chocolate sombreros--at tables crowned with colorful floral displays.

The 39th annual event marked the first time it has employed a Mexican theme, noted event chairwoman Maria M. Maldonado of Mission Viejo, a member of CHOC's Tres Osos Guild. "I'm Mexican American, born in Texas, raised in Orange County, and I felt the Hispanic culture in this area deserved to be acknowledged," she said.

With about $125,000 in underwriting, proceeds from last week's $65-per-person event were expected to be more than $200,000.

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