HomeBlocksFront-GridDavid Laurell: National Charity League Burbank Chapter Roars Back in Time

David Laurell: National Charity League Burbank Chapter Roars Back in Time

Most Burbankers know, if you wind your way up East Walnut Avenue, and avoid the turn on to North Bel Aire Drive, you will come to the two-story DeBell Clubhouse that sits at the intersection of the golf club’s 10th and 18th green.

While it is also widely known by locals that the clubhouse’s second story is the home of the Hilltop Restaurant and Bar, this past week saw that establishment transformed into a time machine which took members and supporters of the Burbank Chapter of National Charity League back to the third decade of the 20th century.

Known as the Roaring ’20s, it was an era in which festively dressed Americans looking for a government-prohibited alcoholic beverage, frequented clandestine establishments called “speak-softly shops” or “speak-easy shops,” which had popped up all over the nation.

Event chair Michelle Gicas and chapter President Suzi Reader welcomed attendees to a 1920s speak-easy.

Last week’s fundraiser, presented as the “NCL Speakeasy Social and Casino Night,” was a step back in time in which women took on the look that British novelist Desmond Coke coined as “a stunning flapper” in his 1903 tale of college life called “Sandford of Merton.”

Enjoying cocktails while challenging fate at the roulette, craps, blackjack and poker tables, women in chiffon and silk dresses adorned with beading, fringes, sequins and headbands, mingled with gents decked out in Gatsbyesque tuxedos, vests, bowties, suspenders and fedoras.

“Tonight, we celebrate more than six decades of mothers and daughters in service to the Burbank community,” said NCL Burbank chapter President Suzi Reader, as she welcomed Ticktockers and Patronesses, family members, representatives of philanthropic organizations, and members of the Burbank community.

“For those of you who have stood by us in all of our endeavors, we thank each of you for helping us by supporting our mission and donating and enabling us to make an even greater impact on our community,” Reader added.

Among those out in support of NCL, whose mission is to foster relationships between mothers and their daughters through membership in an organization committed to community service, leadership, development and cultural experiences, were Shanna Warren and Tracey Ban of the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley.

Local Realtor Cari Pelayo was one of the event’s sponsors.

“After tonight’s event, we will be repurposing our centerpieces to build a new succulent garden at the Boys & Girls Club,” said Reader, who presented the club’s representatives with more than $500 worth of garden supplies.

Warren, who serves as the club’s CEO, expressed her gratitude to Reader for what NCL will be doing to enhance the front of the youth organization’s East Angeleno Avenue facility along with some of their satellite sites.

“We are so grateful for everything NCL does for us and [are] honored that they chose our organization to donate all of their beautiful succulent centerpieces for our garden clubs at multiple sites and a huge basket of gardening supplies for our kids to find their green thumbs,” Warren said.

Established nationally in 1925 and incorporated in 1958, the Burbank Chapter of NCL was organized in 1959 and chartered in 1960. Today, the Burbank chapter joins more than 170 NCL chapters nationwide who engage in hands-on volunteerism and other activities that inspire social awareness and empower young women with confidence and skills including team building, event planning, conflict resolution and parliamentary procedure.

On an annual basis, the mothers and daughters of the Burbank chapter give more than 10,000 hours of community service to local philanthropies including the Burbank Community YMCA, the Burbank Coordinating Council, Burbank Family Services Agency, the Burbank Public Library, Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Home Again Los Angeles, Jacaranda Housing, the Kid’s Community Dental Clinic, Kiwanis Club of Burbank, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center and the Burbank Tournament of Roses Association.

Beyond their volunteer work, the Burbank chapter also raises funds through the hosting of their annual gala fundraiser.

For more information on the organization, sponsorship and financial support opportunities, visit nationalcharityleague.org/chapter/burbank/.

Enjoying the evening of fun and fundraising are Tiffany Chang, Janelle Nielsen, Jana Kramer and Charity Peterson Johnston.
Steve Roman and Anne-Marie Osgood enjoy the NCL event.
Don Baldaseroni and Karen Volpei-Gussow enjoying the Lusanet Collective. Dressed in full Gatsby garb at the throwback event are Ticktocker dads Todd Kehril and Ronnie Ghazarians.
Shanna Warren and Tracey Ban of the Boys & Girls Club flank Suzi Reader at last week’s fundraiser.
Adding to the evening’s Roaring ’20s vibe are Michelle Bowman and Kemvette Cox.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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