By Maddy PUMILIA
Supporters of the Community Center of La Cañada came together on Saturday for a night of “gambling,” socializing and dining.
The event raised money that will help fund programs at the community center, repair the facilities and keep the costs to the community – including classes in ceramics, digital photography and ballroom dancing for seniors – down.
The community center, which has been around since 1949, “enhances the well-being of the Community by bringing people of all ages together for enrichment, recreation and social programs,” according to its website.
“We try to meet the needs of the community by providing programs,” said Megan Nordvedt, executive director of the community center.
The center does offer a variety of programs including those for students from preschool through high school and classes for adults.
At the fundraiser, guests had the chance to learn several table games including No-Limit Hold’em (both a tournament and a cash game), blackjack, craps and roulette. South Bay Casino supplied the games and the professional dealers who helped teach those who were gambling illiterate how to play.
The entry fee for the night was $50. For that, guests received $200 in casino chips and a dinner provided by Los Gringos Locos. For every $100 in chips that players turned in at the end of the night, they were given one raffle ticket – a chance to win prizes donated by local businesses. Among these were $200 of gas at the local Union 76 gas station, a $50 gift card to Sakura, free bread for a year from Panera, golf for four at the La Cañada Country Club, a three month membership to the YMCA, $60 service at Firestone tires and $60 certificate for Dish Restaurant.
But the winner at the end of the night was the community center for which all were grateful.
“It’s awesome for La Cañada to have a community center,” said Charlie Kamar, owner of the Union 76 gas station and former La Cañada City Council candidate.
The event was the second annual casino night fundraiser. The board decided to plan the casino night to raise money while creating something fun for the community. Last year, the fundraiser raised $10,000.
“We’re hoping this year will be successful as well,” said Ara Aslanian, the recording secretary of the Community Center board of directors.
“It’s a fun night and a good way to get out on a hot summer night … tacos and margarita,” said Gabriela Wiltrout, who was intent on learning blackjack.
“I live so close to the community center,” said Martha Burns. “It’s near and dear to my heart.”
“I have a lot of childhood memories [here.] I just wanted to support,” added Brittany Reynolds.
California Assemblymember Anthony Portantino also attended the event.
“These are great people doing a good thing and service for our community. I’m happy to support.”