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Friendship Shelter and its Many Friends
By Barbara Diamond, CoastlinePilot

Friendship Shelter celebrated 20 years of assisting homeless adults to rebuild their lives at “The Art of Getting Home,” an art auction with a theme and a goal.

The goal of raising $120,000 was exceeded. The goal of restoring self-esteem and hope to souls who have strayed into darker byways is ongoing.

“It is exciting and humbling to be joining Friendship Shelter at this critical moment in its history,” newly appointed Executive Director Dawn Price said.

Price, who has been on the job for a mere two weeks, was given a warm welcome — a $20,000 check from the PIMCO Foundation, presented by Ron Davies.

Davies and his wife, Santina, were the “hosting sponsors” of the shelter’s 20th Anniversary celebration Sept. 18 at [seven-degrees] on Laguna Canyon Road.

The check was also a going away present for Carol Rhoads, whose resignation made way for Price.

“Happily, I can leave my position, but not the ranks of our enthusiastic supporters confident in Friendship Shelter’s future,” Rhoads said in her farewell message.

The celebration was Price’s introduction to many shelter supporters and to the generosity of Laguna’s art community.

Thirty-five artists contributed to the silent and live auction that was the big draw for the crowd.

Donors to the silent auction included Gregg Abel and his son, Tristan, a Laguna College of Art & Design student; Branch Collaborative, traditional and digital artists creating original art and custom archival prints for design industry clients; Susan Dysinger, who combines her love of music and artistic skills to create vivid portraits of blues and jazz musicians such as Scott Joplin; and former Design Review Board member and actor Eve Plumb, who has found painting to be another satisfying creative outlet.

Artistic focus ranged from Jacques Garnier’s “frayed edges of society” to Tom Lamb’s images of the balance of conservation, preservation, development and tourism.

Works by artists Ken Auster, Jeff Sewall, Carolyn Reynolds, G. Ray Kerciu and Jerome Gastaldi were sold at the live auction, with Reynolds’ piece bringing in the highest bid.

The event included a buffet and dancing to the music of Blues Offenders.

Alec Bridges, who performed during the reception, was a participant in “Shelter Me,” a compact disc of 13 songs with a simple message: Enjoy the music, help the homeless. The CD can be purchased at www.cdbaby.com or at Sound Spectrum, Laguna Beach Books, Latitude 33 Bookshop and Hobie Sports. Proceeds shelter programs.

Friendship Shelter has been expanding its programs since it opened its doors two decades ago, the fruition of a dream brought to reality by the Rev. Colin Henderson, with the support of community members and the city.

Over the years, the community has continued to support the shelter, none more assiduously than Jill Edwards and Kathleen Abel. Both have chaired multiple times the fundraising Dinners Across Laguna, which requires the logistic talents of a quartermaster, and they are the architects of the art auction, an event they organized for the first time last year.

It was much easier this time, Abel said.

“We kept thinking we must have forgotten something,” he added.

Edwards chaired the event, Abel the auction. They were assisted by Faye Chapman, Joy Dittberner, Marilyn Davidson, Carolyn Delino, Edie Tonkin and Justine Schnauder.

“We want to thank [seven-degrees] for letting us do the event in this fabulous space,” Edwards said. “We have a record number of sponsors tonight: 37 of them.”

Sponsors included Ketta and Jeb Brown, Dr. Gary and school board member Betsy Jenkins, Rebecca and Eric Wills, Old Pottery Place owners Joe and Jane Hanauer, Deborah and Jeffrey King, AIDS Services Foundation founders Al Roberts and Ken Jillson, David Taborelli, Richard and Paola Bisson, Jim and Mary Lawler, Hal and Joni Brice, Susan Morrison, Barbara and Greg MacGillivray, and Ilene Glassman.

This year, Glassman’s second as shelter board president, Project READY — Relapse Prevention, Employment development, Affordable housing, Determined by You — was launched.

Looking back:  

1988: Eighteen homeless adults were given shelter in a former residential hotel built in 1938 with limited stays.  

1991: The Orange County building industry and a HUD home improvement grant and city support allowed the facility to expand from 18 beds to 29.  

1995: The shelter stretched it wings to San Clemente where two adjacent apartment buildings were acquired for graduates who were ready to try living on their own.  

1998: Renaissance Club was launched to raise funds.  

2006: Shelter services were expanded to include case management, legal and financial counseling, an increasing pro bono network of medical, and dental care, personal development workshops and life-skills coaching.

The facility continues to be upgraded. John and Lisa Mansour, Bill and Cindy Shopoff, Keith and Judy Swayne, and Keiko Sakamoto and Alice Court developer Bill Witte were named 20th Anniversary Trustees, an advisory board.

Board members include Henderson, John Beach, Dittberner, Doug Anderson, Bob Bryson, Jo Caldwell, Christopher Tower, Barbara J. Van Alstine, architect Marshall Ininns, George Western, Richard Manchester, Alexander Williamson, Edson McClellan and Wayne Wright.

To learn more about the shelter, visit www.friendshipsheltr.org or call (949) 494-6928 for information about volunteering or Randy Kraft at the same number to make a donation.  

Click here to view article from the CoastlinePilot.

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