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Boys & Girls Club Runs Mile Fundraiser at Mall

What’s a mile of quarters worth? About $17,160 – and a whole lot more to the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley. The organization is hosting its sixth annual Mile of Quarters event at the Westfield Topanga Shopping Mall on Feb. 23. And it’s as described. Members of the community will be asked to place one mile worth of quarters that will snake across the lower level of the mall. That’s 63,000 coins, or $17,160. But the event has far more benefits than just money. “Awareness is just as important as the dollars,” said Chief Executive Jan Sobel, who dubs the event a “friendraiser” that raises the profile of the West Valley club in the community. Corporate sponsors include Blue Shield of California, Keyes Motors and Wells Fargo & Co. Stacey Siegel, director of corporate and public affairs for Keyes, said the company feels it’s important to give back to the community that has been its home for more than 50 years. “It’s very important for us to be philanthropic in this community. It’s been so good to us,” said Siegel. Keyes operates 10 foreign and domestic dealerships. The Mile of Quarters event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include musical entertainment and a magic show. The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley, established in 1992, has more than 3,400 members. More than 150 children visit its main offices in Canoga Park each day, with more than 550 involved in after-school activities at nine school sites. It has a $1.5 million annual budget. Record Donation MEND-Meet Each Need with Dignity, a Pacoima nonprofit, has received its largest donation ever for its Education & Training Center from Universal Studios Hollywood Discover a Star Foundation. The center offers adult classes in English as a second language, computer and office skills, literacy, parenting and sewing. It also provides tutoring for children in math, reading and science. The foundation has been supporting MEND for seven years, said Dorothea Scattaglia, director of communications for the Universal City attraction, a unit of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal. “MEND provides invaluable services and we are tremendously grateful for the work they do on behalf of our community,” Scattaglia wrote in an email. MEND Chief Executive Marianne Haver Hill said the funds will be used to buy iPads and more computers for the center. “If we don’t offer computers, kids have to go to the public library,” Hill said. “And those are often all used, so this gives them opportunities they just wouldn’t get anywhere else.” Hill said the donation will allow the nonprofit to divert less of its general funding to the education center. MEND has an annual budget of $2.8 million. The nonprofit was established in the early 1970s and is focused on providing impoverished people with the means to become self-reliant and serves about 40,000 each month. Riding Ahead Proceeds from the 22nd annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show were disseminated to more than 30 nonprofits in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles last month. The April 2012 event at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Griffith Park, presided over by actor William Shatner, raised $375,000. Among the Valley recipients were: AHEAD with Horses, a nonprofit in Shadow Hills that uses equine-therapy to help handicapped children become more mobile; Friends and Helpers, a Sherman Oaks organization that supports women and children harmed by domestic violence; and Camp Max Straus, a children’s camp in the Verdugo Hills. The event was sponsored by Wells Fargo & Co., which is based in San Francisco but has a large L.A. market share. Jonathan Weedman, head of corporate giving in the L.A. area, said the event is an important opportunity for his company to give back to the community. “The San Fernando Valley is home to the show and that’s a big priority to our organization,” he said. The recipient organizations received their checks from Shatner at a Jan. 16 event in Toluca Lake. The 2013 show will take place April 27 at the equestrian center. High Desert Gala Mardi Gras masks, the music of New Orleans and red beans and dirty rice are all available in Lancaster this month. The 23rd annual Heartsounds Gala, called the “Bourbon Street Ball” this year, will take place Feb. 23 at the Lancaster Hellenic Center and benefit the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley. In addition to the music and food, the event will feature a raffle donated by Drs. Tom and Susan Nasser for a trip to the French Quarter in New Orleans. Also there will be a live auction for a seven-night stay in Cabo San Lucas, Lakers tickets, a Mammoth vacation and more. The gala is sponsored by several local businesses, including Double D Cupcakes and Renaissance Imaging. The Children’s Center has provided services for Antelope Valley victims of child abuse since 1988. Staff Reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or at egolan@sfvbj.com.

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