In May, the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge decided to take a fresh approach to its fundraising and other activities when Deb Jordan was appointed as executive director. The board of directors unanimously chose to focus on raising the profile of the center, made staff changes and showcased the year-round activities while adding more than a dozen new programs to the line-up. Lori Lepore and Amanda Balcazar joined Jordan in the main office with a new mission of community outreach and building strategic partnerships.
Successes of the year included the center’s ceramics department, which has always flourished. Semi-annual events brought in nearly 1,000 shoppers to select from local ceramic artists. The two-day spring sale and the three-day holiday sale broke previous sales records. The June sale peaked at $27,000 and the holiday sale brought in nearly $40,000 in gross sales for the 70 featured artists.
Preschool Assistant Director Jennifer Hubert was named finest preschool teacher by the CV Weekly, while the preschool itself was named best preschool by the La Cañada Valley Sun.
“The parents at the preschool have always known that we are a part of a uniquely wonderful program. That others outside the school have recently recognized both the school generally and an individual teacher with such distinguished awards only reinforces the respect and admiration we as parent have for this school and its terrific faculty and staff,” said PTA board president Heather Ehrhart.
“Our partnerships within the community are thriving,” confirmed board president Ara Aslanian. CCLCF hosted a number of Girl Scout meetings including a La Crescenta troop who made survival bracelets for American soldiers overseas; Eagle Scout projects were completed; LCHS held its annual rummage sale; bridge clubs were hosted on a weekly and monthly basis; and partnering with neighborhood restaurants has turned out to be a bonus for the center with fundraising events at North Shore Burgers, Giuseppe’s and the Habit Burger Grill resulting in over $2,500.
The 19th annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive boasted the best turnout to date. Sponsorship donations were three times greater than in previous years and with registration fees netted the center $50,000.
State Senator Carol Liu, L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and La Cañada City Councilmember Michael Davitt greeted the 5K participants before they headed west on Foothill Boulevard early Thanksgiving morning. Over 1,200 runners participated in the 5K and over 300 kids ran in the Kids’ Mile. The biggest overhaul was getting a major retailer – Ross Stores, Inc. – to support the event. With the theme, “Running Forward to Give Back,” the community center spearheaded the largest food drive for the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, helping to feed over 120 families in the foothill communities.
In November, the community center received a grant from the California Preschool Energy Efficiency Program and was able to upgrade 100% of its lighting fixtures with new ballasts and high efficiency bulbs, which has promised a 50% reduction in energy costs. The Gas Company also awarded the center $1,500 after the gas kilns were refurbished to decrease natural gas usage. A $3,000 anonymous gift allowed the center to purchase a much-needed piece of equipment for the ceramics department allowing for the recycling of used clay, and the Jeanne Ward Foundation recently notified the center of a year-end gift of $3,000.
The community center will end the year on a high note – grateful for the community’s support and encouragement.
“It is our goal to focus on the community at the Community Center,” Aslanian added.