The Crowd: Teens help teens at Westin gala

April 24, 2014|By B.W. Cook
  • Co-chair Jennifer Blanchfield, keynote speaker Lauri Burns and co-chair Deborah Keillor at The Teen Project held at The Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel.
Co-chair Jennifer Blanchfield, keynote speaker Lauri… (Edie Trott )

They say it is the most challenging time of life, and also the most wondrous. How did any of us survive our teenage years?

Recently, the Westin South Coast Plaza welcomed Lauri Burns, founder of the Teen Project, as keynote speaker for a spring event billed as "teens helping teens." The Teen Project partnered with South Coast Plaza producing a retail fashion show accompanying the event, which took place March 30 on the rooftop deck of the Westin at dusk.

Organizers planned an early-evening festival featuring games and prizes, food stations and, most importantly, an address by Burns, who knows all too well the angst of the teenage years. She is the author of a book titled "Punished For Purpose," an autobiography of her life as a teenager on the streets.

Co-chaired by Jennifer Blanchfield and Deborah Keillor, the Teen Project event raised funds to benefit homeless teens in Orange County. "Through hands-on participation, teens attending this event will make a difference in the lives of other teens that are not nearly as fortunate," Keillor said. "This is a way to raise awareness and focus at giving on a very impressionable age."


South Coast Plaza retailers supporting the event included Saks Fifth Avenue, Lululemon, Free People, Diesel, Joe's Jeans, Quiksilver, AG Adriano Goldschmied, Anthropologie and Ivivva Athletica. To learn more about the Teen Project, visit


The house has a life of its own

The Decorative Arts Society (DARTS), one of Newport's special charitable organizations benefiting numerous local causes, held its 2014 event finale at the futuristic and drop-dead spectacular residence of Mashid and Steve Rizzone.

For those not familiar, DARTS produces a series of annual lectures on architecture, interior design, landscape design and both the historic and futuristic trends and collections in all areas of the decorative arts. DARTS organizers invite many of the world's most famous experts in a variety of professional fields to address local patrons.

The evening before the actual address, local residents and members of DARTS open their homes for a reception honoring the invited guest.

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