Empowering the Dream

By Richard Mineards   |   June 6, 2023
Volunteers of the Year: Kathy Henry, Betty Dominguez, and Sidonia Slaff (photo by Kiel Rucker, Head & Heart Photography)

Petal power reigned supreme when the Dream Foundation hosted its 12th annual Flower Empower lunch at the Rockwood Woman’s Club, with a record 225 guests raising around $250,000 for the popular charity.

Last year the scheme handed out 8,400 bouquets of flowers with volunteers putting in more than 4,900 hours, says Valerie Banks, coordinator. Since its inception in 1994, the program has delivered more than 125,000 bouquets, homemade cookies from longtime supporter Robin Himovitz, and artisanal chocolates from Chocolats du CaliBressan.

Event Sponsor Kate Coppola (photo by Kiel Rucker, Head & Heart Photography)

Margaret Lloyd was named Florist of the Year, while Stella Crawford, a San Marcos High student, and Charlie Weddle of Santa Barbara High, won Youth Volunteers of the Year. Kathy Henry, Betty Dominguez, and Sidonia Slaff – with 60 years of help between them – were named Volunteers of the Year.

A new trophy, the Legacy Award of Excellence, went to the late Ann Smithcors, a retired nurse who started volunteering in 1996 and spent an unprecedented 6,000 hours making and delivering bouquets.

Former KEYT-TV weatherman Alan Rose, now with KOAA in Denver, Colorado, flew in to emcee the floral bash for the second consecutive year with Kira Duffy, a past youth volunteer winner, with Greta Krieger and Sheri Smith speaking of their experiences as volunteers.

The ubiquitous Andrew Firestone conducted the auction with the help of his daughter, Anja. Lots included a stay at the Four Seasons in Maui, a ten day cruise from Quebec to New York, and a Hollywood Icons package including a stay at the historic California Club (a favorite hostelry of mine), tickets to a private box at the Hollywood Bowl, and tea for four at the Rose Garden at the Huntington Library in Pasadena.

Among the supporters were CEO Kisa Heyer, Penny Bianchi, Janet Garufis, Ella Brittingham, Kate Coppola, Jeff and Sharon Jordan, Kenny and Elizabeth Slaught, David Selberg, and Kimi J. Matar.

A blooming good fundraiser…

Flower Empower Luncheon Committee with Dream Foundation Staff (photo by Kiel Rucker, Head & Heart Photography)

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