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The Crowd: Highlight local groups amid elections

November 08, 2012|By B.W. Cook
  • Sharon Henwood, Brenda Eastman and Pam Howard attend the inaugural Decorative Arts Society event for 2012-13 in Newport Beach.
Sharon Henwood, Brenda Eastman and Pam Howard attend… (Daily Pilot )

As I write this column for Friday's edition of the Daily Pilot, it is noon Tuesday and America is midway through an election day that has divided the nation more than any other in recent memory.

It is somehow appropriate to share with Newport-Mesa readers some thoughts on the "Great Society." Coverage of events in the community illustrate just how much citizens of Orange County have to be grateful for, especially in light of the suffering of the East Coast as the result of Hurricane Sandy, along with multiple other challenges on both the national and worldwide map.

As the all-American holiday of Thanksgiving approaches, it may be more important than ever to find a path to gratitude. None of us is untouchable. No one is shielded from life-altering events. As the saying goes, "Life is what happens when we are making other plans."

On that note, permit me to share a few stories about your fellow citizens reaching out to help others.

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The dedicated women and men in support of the Orange County chapter of Childhelp celebrated the organization's annual holiday boutique and luncheon Monday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine. As in years past, the massive event, attracting some 500 guests, was labeled "Christmas through the Eyes of a Child."

Organizers set up a holiday shopping boutique, tempting revelers with one-of-a-kind gifts and merchandise of the season. Proceeds benefit the Childhelp home in Beaumont, Calif., a residential treatment facility for youth who are on the bottom rung of the social ladder, many of them forgotten, abandoned and abused by those entrusted with their care and safety. That is why the Childhelp motto remains, "For the love of a child."

On an entirely different plane, Costa Mesa-based International Princess Project, founded by Shannon Keith, held its fifth annual Fabric of Freedom Gala Oct. 6 at the Fairmont Hotel Newport Beach.

The organization, also known as IPP, was formed to make a major difference in the lives of women and children in India escaping sex slavery as a result of human trafficking. As we in America elect our next president, it is hard to imagine living in a nation where literally thousands of people are forced into the slave trade.

IPP, which was founded in 2005, has rescued some 300 women, providing an avenue to freedom in an effort to break the cycle of slavery that exists in India and elsewhere.

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