All are welcome to the 5th Annual CV Prayer Breakfast on April 23.
By Mary O’KEEFE
t is often advised to never speak of politics or religion with friends. The theory is that differing opinions will cause friction, even between the best of friends, and it has been repeatedly seen that differing religious beliefs, even when those beliefs worship the same God, have torn families and countries apart.
However there are pockets where differing beliefs are celebrated, not feared, where everyone’s opinion does not have to be in agreement but can be respected, where people come together to realize they have a common goal and work together without judgment. It is with that philosophy that Crescenta Valley will be celebrating its 5th Annual Prayer Breakfast on April 23.
“This wonderful event unites community and religious leaders with neighbors of all faiths in order to offer prayers and encouragement for our youth. We love our youth and care about their well-being,” said Dena Blood, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in La Crescenta. The LDS church is hosting the event this year.
Over its five years the prayer breakfast has had one unifying theme of putting the youth of the community first.
“This [prayer breakfast] started from the Crescenta Valley Town Council with [then councilmember] Danette Erickson, [Councilmember] Charles Beatty and myself when asked why we no longer had a prayer breakfast,” said CVTC Vice President Harry Leon. “[CVTC] used to have it, but on a smaller [scale]. Then it stopped.”
Leon added the council and CV Chamber of Commerce had hosted the smaller prayer breakfast with just a few people but he, Erickson and Beatty wanted it to be bigger and to reach more people.
“We brought it to the community and to clergies from different backgrounds. We know that La Crescenta is a great place to live and a great place to raise a family,” he said.
He added that one of the common issues that united everyone in La Crescenta was concern for children – the youth of La Crescenta. They reached out to the community and formed a committee, inviting leaders from different religious backgrounds, and brought everyone together with one thought, one prayer for the youth.
“We have been successful in doing that,” he said.
Leon said the committee has invited people from different cultures as well as from different religions but the focus is always on helping youth.
He cited organizations like Prom Plus, a supervised after prom party for CV High School students, and Fire House youth center as organizations that began after tragedies involving youth. (Prom Plus began after a CVHS senior was murdered at an unsupervised after prom party. Fire House began as the result of an increase in heroin use in the area.)
“Those organizations have had a positive effect on our youth,” he said.
Other notable youth-focused organizations include CVHS JROTC, Youth in Government through the YMCA of the Foothills, Clark Magnet and CVHS robotics teams as well as the over 100 clubs at the high schools and at Rosemont Middle School.
The keynote speaker at this year’s breakfast is Carmen Trutanich, former Los Angeles city attorney. Leon reached out to Trutanich because of his involvement with sports and youth organizations.
“He is also involved with youth that are in trouble. We thought he would be a good choice to talk about how we can better support our kids and support kids [at risk],” Leon said.
This is the second time LDS in La Crescenta has hosted the prayer breakfast.
“Members of all faiths from the La Crescenta community are encouraged to come together to offer prayers and support for our youth,” Blood said. “In these troubling times, our youth need to know that we stand alongside them and will support them in the many challenges they face.”
Local youth will perform at the event.
“We are so excited the extremely talented youth in the CVHS Charismatics, Rosemont Jazz Band and Hiza Yoo Korean Dance Institute will inspire us with beautiful music and dance,” she added. “We hope all will feel uplifted and unified in our mutual desire that the youth of our community feel loved and valued. We are confident all in attendance will be uplifted and enriched and leave with a feeling of hope and optimism for our community and our amazing youth.”
The CV 5th Annual Prayer Breakfast will be on April 23 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4550 Raymond Ave. Tickets are $10; students are free. Tickets are sold at the CV Weekly office, 3800 La Crescenta Ave., Ste. 101 or contact Danette Erickson (818) 249-9577 or Harry Leon (818) 464-5870.
Several businesses and individuals have donated to the breakfast including Super King foods and Forest Lawn. The funds raised for the event will go to scholarship programs for local youth.