An Uplifting Night
For many, financially speaking the New Year arrived with a thud rather than fanfare especially for small business owners. For whatever reason, revenue seems to be elusive regardless of the type of business. This situation, coupled with any other challenges, whether health, relationship or other, can bring a person down. It sometimes can be difficult to look around to find something to lift someone’s spirit. But that opportunity took place last Saturday at the annual Ascencia gala.
Ascencia is focused on ending homelessness in the greater Glendale area. The organization started in 2006 (Saturday’s gala celebrated nine years) though it was born of previous efforts including Project ACHIEVE and PATH. Since 2006, an estimated 8,000 people have been served by Ascencia.
My journey on Saturday began at the Del Mar train station in Pasadena where CVW sales professional Sonya Marquez and I boarded the Gold Line and traveled to Union Station where the gala was held in the beautiful and historic facility. About 400 people attended the soiree that included a band, talented singers, a delicious dinner by Command Performance, a live auction and some of the most interesting people and businesses from the Glendale area. Tables were spread across the floor and sponsored by such businesses as The Walt Disney Company and Glendale Adventist Medical Center. I was able to catch up with (or at least wave to) Jana Ace Wunderlich of Podley Properties, Miryam Finkelberg of Finkelberg & Finkelberg and mover and shaker Mercy Velazquez. Among her many activities, Mercy is CEO of the Arturo Sandoval Institute and is planning that organization’s benefit concert on April 11. (By the way, this is an opportunity for local young musicians to perform with the legendary musician Arturo Sandoval. Visit www.arturosandovalinstitute.org to learn more.)
Among the highlights of the magical night was the recognition of the Kiwanis Club of Glendale with Ascencia’s Ambassador of Hope Award. Club President Todd Hunt offered heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Club for the honor.
Another highlight was the moving testimony of the services provided by Ascencia by one of its clients. Kimberly told the audience of her years of drug and alcohol addiction before becoming a client of Ascencia. After years of struggling and “losing everything,” Kimberly now has a safe place to sleep at night, is rebuilding her relationship with family members and looks with hope to the future.
While Ascencia has a mission to lift people out of homelessness, on Saturday they also lifted the spirits of every attendee.