Norma Hirsh, Rob Butterfield and Renee Comeau founded P2K in 1980 to help break the cycle of child abuse in San Diego County. Since then, they’ve accomplished a lot, including raising $13.2 million for the Polinsky Children’s Center. Now their programs help 5,000 kids daily, and they’ve become a model for similar organizations across the country. Their work is so significant that numerous generous people are coming forward, eager to support this worthy cause.
Guests enjoyed the fabulous view from the estate’s grassy grounds. Some of the women had been given what one called “horseshoes for high heels.” Stiletto heels are known for sinking into lawns, and “Grasswalkers,” tough transparent strips that stick to the bottoms of such shoes, prevent the problem. Sheryl White, a stylish lady often seen at social events, is behind the new invention, and a portion of sales will benefit arts education programs throughout America. For details, see Grasswalkers.com.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres sustained the 475 guests as they socialized and placed generous silent auction bids. Eventually, everyone took their places for a three-course dinner highlighted by tender pan-seared filet and polenta, and finished with a dessert trio. P2K’s new CEO, Tonya Torosian, told how foster kids age-out of the program at 18, and about a third of them end up homeless. The organization’s Guardian Scholars program strives to help them with further education and mentoring. Student “Carmen” spoke about how the program has helped her immensely. She’ll soon graduate from UCSD with a very bright future.
Guests seemed especially motivated; they bid generously on 13 live auction items, often exceeding the items’ values. A “paddle raise” request for $50,000 donation pledges quickly got three, including host Joan Waitt and guest “Papa” Doug Manchester. Joan also won the drawing for $25,000 earrings donated by Martin Katz Jewelers. Not that she intended to, but she’d generously purchased a lot of tickets, and one of hers was drawn.
CCR took the stage and turned back time. The 90-minute concert covered all the Revival’s original hits; songs that made the group famous and for which they are still remembered. They packed the dance floor with “Out My Back Door,” “Midnight Special,” “Rolling on the River” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” closing with “Up Around the Bend” (come on, arise and win…). Knowing they’d helped raise serious money for a great cause, they said, “Thank you La Jolla,” and left the stage.
Reeling from recent the passing of their longtime friend and principal pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch, the San Diego Symphony nonetheless gathered itself and moved on with its Pops Goes Classical “Night in South America” concert. Supporters gathered at Embarcadero Park for “Tango and Tapas,” a pre-concert reception featuring delicious Argentinean food by the bite and spirited dancing by Tango With Colette Performance Group. Symphony Sweethearts Mary Schlesing and Jolie Jackson-Martine co-chaired the silent auction, and symphony CEO Edward “Ward” Gill delivered a short address.
Host Nuvi Mehta introduced the evening’s concert featured South American music, including rousing tango compositions. Featured performer Daniel Binelli performed brilliantly on the bandoneón, an exotic and classically beautiful concertina-type instrument whose sound is essential to the tango. He stood with his left foot on the floor and his right on the seat of a chair, the instrument’s bellows across his right knee. Buttons at both ends required rapid action for such energetic music, so the mid-performance intermission must have been quite welcome. “Tango and Tapas” guests enjoyed dessert and drinks while the musician rested. All returned reinvigorated for the second half, and at the conclusion the audience rendered an enthusiastic standing ovation.