AbilityFirst's Long Beach Center recently held a well-attended open house for the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce.

The networking reception included impressive refreshments provided by The Peppercorner and Rossmoor Bakery.

Tours of the center were ongoing throughout the evening. Guests were able to see firsthand several of AbilityFirst's programs in progress and learn about the various programs that the center provides.

Guests participated in helping to decorate the center's Christmas tree, culminating in Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster performing the official tree lighting.

Seen at the scene: Long Beach Center Guild members Liz Minor, Annemarie Forster and Mary Alice Braly, Long Beach Chamber member Joel Perler, Signal Hill Chamber President Terry Rodgers, Signal Hill Chamber member Denise Damrow, Long Beach Rotary President-Elect Kay Cofield, Port of Long Beach Commissioner Doug Drummond, Signal Hill Councilman Ed Wilson, Japanese Chamber of Commerce member Charlene Ogami, Long Beach Community Foundation board member Eleanor Aquilar, Long Beach Councilwoman Gerry Schipske's assistant Misha Houser, Union Bank Vice President Andrew Westling, "Run With It" project manager Tina Thompson, Northwestern Mutual's Steven Osborn and Chris Wilson, field representative for Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal.


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Andy Street fundraiser

The Andy Street Community Association in Long Beach gathered about 90 supporters a few months ago to celebrate another year of continued success in building a community and changing lives. Ian Gee, president of the association, remarked that this is a community that came together to revitalize a crime-ridden neighborhood and improve the quality of the lives of its residents.

It's a remarkable story of a neighborhood that was so crime-ridden and violence-prone that the post office refused to deliver mail for the carrier's safety. The determination, hard work and perseverance of property owners, residents and youths turned the situation around to one of success, with their youth gaining academic achievement to become scholarship recipients.

More than 75 youth on Andy Street have benefited from the following programs: Cooking with "Let's Move" Chef Michael Poompan, Environmental Art, Youth Ambassadors and Youth Entrepreneurship.

Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner buffet by Chef Richard of the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel and wines provided by Friends of Andy Street.

The event raised more than $18,000 for the scholarships.

Seen at the scene: Henry Taboada, former U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson, Assistant City Manager Reggie Harrison, Minnie Douglas, Councilman Al Austin and his wife, Daysha, Kezia and Don Daniels, Gene and Leanne Johnson, Damon Dunn, Ivy and Ken Goolsby, Roberta Jenkins, host Anthony Gagliardi, Councilman Steve Neal, Val Lerch and Mark Platt.

Day of Southern Elegance

More than $65,000 was raised at the National Charity League, South Coast Chapter's 39th annual Tournament Day, recently held at the Long Beach Hilton.

Erin Kahlert, this year's event chair, chose the beautiful theme "Graceful Living, Gracious Giving - A Day of Southern Elegance" in honor of the more than 400 attendees.

NCL President Joy Harn thanked guests for attending and spoke proudly of the group's commitment to strengthen mother-daughter relationships through philanthropic work, leadership development and cultural awareness. She added that members have generously given more then 20,000 hours to our local philanthropies. She also welcomed special guests, numerous past presidents and representatives from the NCL National Office.

The Tournament Day chair spoke about the chapter's mission to make a positive difference in the community and how the money raised supports philanthropic organizations and scholarships for college-bound young women.

Special thanks went out to NCL support groups, Las Mariposas, Las Amigas, Las Campanas and NCL Juniors. 

Following a delicious lunch, the audience enjoyed a fashion show featuring stunning clothes from The Sue Wong Collection as well as hats from Lyn Frances. The fashion show was directed by Lucida Miedema.

A dynamic auctioneer presented many exciting auction packages, including trips to Hawaii and a week's stay at beautiful Les Moulieres located in the South of France. There were also sensational items like a VIP viewing of the pregame show Fox NFL Sunday, an exhilarating ride on the Good Year blimp, a champagne lunch cruise to Catalina for six, tickets to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a pace car ride, and adorable Chihuahua and cockapoo puppies.

Guests purchasing a beautiful bracelet had an opportunity to win a gorgeous diamond necklace or a brilliant diamond ring beautifully designed by Warren Marriott and graciously donated by Marsha Moeller.

National Charity League is a charitable, nonprofit, national organization of mothers and daughters who join together in community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. NCL South Coast Chapter, with members from the Long Beach and West Orange County areas, donate more than $75,000 to local philanthropies and scholarships annually.

Seen at the scene: Special contributors to the event were silent auction Co-chairwomen Michele Crowder and Kristi Kahl, NCL fashion show Chairwoman Sue Iritani, decorations Chairwoman Pam Kellogg, The Game Chairwoman Karyn Edmondson and opportunity Chairwomen Cortny Kutzke and Sandra Schroeder.

News of social events with charitable purposes may be sent to Shirley Wild at spwild@verizon.net or by fax to 562-594-9668. Please include a contact phone number. Send high-resolution jpeg photos, by attachment, to spwild@verizon.net and include group name and identification of individuals from left. Call Shirley at 562-594-9468 for more information. Please check the website for coverage of additional events: wwwpresstelegram.com/social.