La Providencia Guild members were blessed with a little help from their friends as they celebrated “That Old Black Magic” at a gala dinner at the Castaway on Sunday.
Putting their magic touch on the evening were President Joan Chandler, chair Malena Tappan and co-chair Mary Hurst, all looking elegant in their black cocktail attire.
Master of ceremonies duties were handled expertly by the Black Angus cowboy Brooks Gardner — “Ann’s husband” he quipped, referring to guild member Ann O’Donnell-Gardner. She brought her crystal ball and performed mini seances in hopes of spiriting up a visit by deceased illusionist Harry Houdini.
Members’ husbands and the Noon Kiwanis Club helped guild members raise funds for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The guild’s fundraising is mostly accomplished through its thrift shop on Burbank Boulevard, which is more like a chic boutique. But they also have a fashion show in the fall and a gala in the spring to add to their coffers, while having great fun.
Diane Cripe, president of the Noon Kiwanis Club, led a contingent of members that coordinated the reverse drawing. The grand prize was $5,000. Known as a “fine-giving” president, Cripe challenged her fellow club members to purchase the remaining tickets for the drawing. The Kiwanians — some who were guild husbands — happily complied.
Mayor Bob Frutos attended with his wife, Laura. He presented a city proclamation to the guild members for all they do to raise funds for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He knows firsthand about the hospital’s contributions to children through his work as a police officer for 28 years with the city of Los Angeles.
“If it wasn’t for your kindness I can honestly tell you we would be in a whole world of hurt,” he said.
Frutos remembers that when he was growing up in West L.A., his mother didn’t have health insurance and they would go by bus to receive care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Frutos said.
“So I am very appreciative of Children’s Hospital and the work they do,” he said.
President Joan Chandler’s theme this year is “Cherish the Children with Loving Hearts”. The guild’s project is the Associates Rehabilitation Center Caregiver Wing and the Associates Endowed Chair in Sarcoma.
The rehabilitation medicine program is a major pediatric referral center for the most complex cases throughout Southern California and the United States, reads the group’s project statement. It offers custom-designed treatment in the areas of physical, occupational, speech, respiratory and psychological therapies for those suffering from trauma or disease.
The purpose of the Sarcoma program within the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases is to improve the outcome for children battling this aggressive form of childhood cancer.
Chandler told about a recent medical milestone accomplished by Children’s Hospital doctors that has touched members’ hearts. Two weeks ago, Henri Ford, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at Children’s Hospital, led an 18-member team of clinicians to perform a complex seven-hour surgery to separate conjoined twin girls in Haiti. The surgery was successful and the six-month-old girls are thriving.
“This is why we do what we do for the children of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” Chandler said.
Magicians conjuring up the entertainment were the guild’s own event chair Malena Tappan, as well as Robert DeLa Guerra and Gerald Schiller. They all appear at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.
A glitzy array of silent auction items kept guests checking on their bids while Debra Lee and the Trigger Happy Band played magical tunes.
The reverse drawing wound down to five people who had the choice of splitting the $5,000 cash prize and all complied. Happily homeward bound were Sue Mackley, Laureen Endoso, Nancy Lee-Wintering, Pam Pouliot and Lorraine and Martin Korn.
For more information on the thrift shop, joining the guild or making a donation, visit laprovidenciaguild.org.